African Democratization and Military Coups

African Democratization and Military Coups

African Democratization and Military Coups

African Democratization and Military Coups

Synopsis

Points out that while over half of Africa was under nominal democratic government by 1995, the democracies are not yet consolidated and there is a continuing military threat to them throughout the continent. Investigates the link between the threat and the inability to consolidate and recommends ste

Excerpt

With the end of the cold war, seeking democratic ideals as the underlying principle for good governance in Africa has been pursued by a considerable number of African governments. This pursuit was given more serious attention when the heads of state and government of commonwealth countries at their meeting in Harare in 1991 decided that only governments upholding sound democratic principles and practicing good governance should be supported by the international community. Hence, the intensification of the democratization process, which is gaining momentum on the continent of Africa.

Some African political leaders, for reasons of entrenching themselves in power for perpetuity, attempt to define and brush aside Western principles of democracy as foreign and, therefore, alien to African culture. Dr. Chuka Onwumechili, argues that principles of Western democracy are not too different from African traditional democracies. So far, no viable alternatives to the concept of the “ballot box” in electing governments have been found. It is therefore vital that the arguments adduced by the author are critically examined. This can help re-orient the attitudes of African political leaders and thereby facilitate the democratization, march towards peace, stability, and development on the continent.

The fact that the principles of Western democratic practices have been successfully and effectively applied to change incumbent governments in Benin, in West Africa, should give us the hope that with the strong political will of African leaders, their governments, and the people, application of the ideals of Western democracies in Africa is feasible and should be pursued.

To strengthen the pillars of democracy, the institutions in the civil society have an invaluable role to play. Strong media that continue to ensure that governments are on their toes and uphold the principles of good governance, irrespective of the myriad difficulties that face them, and impartial and objective judiciary, vibrant associations of members of the legal profession, the labor . . .

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