Power and Politics in Africa

Power and Politics in Africa

Power and Politics in Africa

Power and Politics in Africa

Excerpt

Not too many years ago, the study of politics in Africa was conducted within an exceedingly narrow conceptual framework. The focus was on the legal-constitutional developments surrounding independence, the doings of individual political leaders, the political parties, and the nationalist movements from which they sprang. This work was essential, for the long night of colonial rule had distorted and obscured political Africa; one had to be brought back to realization that there was a political universe other than that depicted by French, British, Belgian, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Italian, or American observers, most of whom were prone to rationalize European rule and its consequences.

Some of the one-country studies published during the first decade after independence still are unsurpassed, and some of the compendiums on the politics of independence and related subjects were most timely and valuable. One major gap, however, remained to be closed. Although widely recognized as crucial to an understanding of politics, the economic dimensions of the events unfolding on the continent were studied quite separately from the political, social, and sociopsychological dimensions. This book seeks to fill that gap. In so doing, it seeks to lay bare the raw structure of politics: resources, production and distribution of wealth and income, public and private resource management, public finance, and administration. Reflecting the inseparable linkages between internal and external power and politics, analysis is conducted at two levels, national and international. But the book attempts more than that.

A Brazilian archbishop, Helder P. Camara, addressing himself to the political future of his country and in particular to the constant danger of dictatorship, offered this advice:

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