Toward Unity in Africa: A Study of Federalism in British Africa

Toward Unity in Africa: A Study of Federalism in British Africa

Toward Unity in Africa: A Study of Federalism in British Africa

Toward Unity in Africa: A Study of Federalism in British Africa

Excerpt

My purpose in undertaking this study was to learn if there were any uniform motives which explain the many and varied federation movements in British East, Central and West Africa. Such an analysis seems important at this time because too little work has been done on the process of federal integration in the underdeveloped areas of the world, particularly while this process is still in its formative stages. It is hoped that the present volume will encourage others to do further research in this broad area.

In making my analysis, I have distinguished between federalism as a consequence of the tendencies toward decentralization and enlargement. The former involves the breaking down of a functioning unitary system of government along federal lines. The latter connotes the building up of separate political entities into an integrated whole. Throughout this book I have concentrated on the latter phenomenon.

In general, as the British African colonies approach self-government, African leaders--black and white--may deem it wise to ally their territory with contiguous territories in order to secure the political, economic, strategic, and administrative advantages of closer union. Their desire for genuine independence leads them to espouse the cause of inter-territorial unions in preference to a perilous isolationism.

This integration might well follow along centralized lines if it were not for the presence of strong centrifugal forces on the African scene. Powerful groups--racial and tribal--fear their submergence in a unitary state. They therefore turn to federalism in order to gain the advantages of enlargement without sacrificing either group security or identity. Moreover, as the case studies of this work illustrate, federalism itself is acceptable as an accommodating mechanism most often when there is a real community of interest and trust in the territories affected by the proposed federation.

While the drive for security is a main force influencing groups to compromise with the federal form, the actual operation of such a system may well work to reduce many of the tensions which caused its adoption in the first place. The funneling of disputes into peaceful . . .

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