Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions

By Earl Conteh-Morgan | Go to book overview
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fluidity of institutions. Political parties based on differing ideologies mushroom and decay, constitutions are drafted, passed, and ignored; and political structures are painstakingly set up only to wither away under the combined forces of domestic and external developments. It is in the nature of political newness to experiment with new approaches to political governance. Still, the newness of African political systems has in the past given them the quality of transience. This era of post-Cold War democratization may usher in a quality of permanence in relation to the resolution of serious political differences.

In later chapters, we will present some of the outcomes of democratic clamors in different countries. Our next focus is to examine how historic structures have served as the foundation for future authoritarian proclivities.


NOTES
1.
Many developing countries often find themselves in a dilemma brought about by IMF conditionalities that require the end of many state subsidies, a requirement that could undermine the stability of the regime and even result in its overthrow by the military. In particular, many Third World regimes are still not convinced about the efficacy of IMF Structural Adjustment Programs.
2.
Samuel P. Huntington, "No Exit--The Errors of Endism," The National Interest, no. 17 (fall 1989), pp. 15-37.
3.
With the recent resurgence in the study of democracy as a political system, the assertion that historically democracies do not wage war with each other is being more seriously examined by scholars. For example see Nils Petter Gleditsch , "Democracy and Peace," Journal of Peace Research 29369-76 ( November 1992); and Jack S. Levy, "The Causes of War," in Philip E. Tetlock et al. (eds.), Behavior, Society, and Nuclear War, volume 1 ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 209-333.
4.
As quoted in Samuel P. Huntington, "The Errors of Endism," in Richard K. Betts (ed.), Conflict After the Cold War ( New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1994), p. 34.
5.
Huntington, "No Exit--The Errors of Endism," pp. 15-37.
6.
Pearl T. Robinson, "Democratization: Understanding the Relationship Between Regime Change and the Culture of Politics," African Studies Review, Volume 37, no. 1 ( April 1994) pp. 39-67.
7.
See for example, G. P. O'Donnell and P. Schmitter, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986); and A. Lowenthal, Exporting Democracy: The United States and Latin America ( Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991).
8.
Achille Mbembe, "Democratization and Social Movements in Africa," Africa Demos, 1 (1): 4 (November); and Robinson, "Democratization," p. 39.

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