Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions

By Earl Conteh-Morgan | Go to book overview

5
Political Insecurity and the Power
Political Problem

Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.

Henry Adams

The disruptive effects of global systemic events (for example, the imposition of colonial rule, the independence era, or the end of the Cold War) extend beyond the social and cultural millieu into the political sphere as well. They generate social change, which has the potential of rupturing the political process in two ways. It can nurture beliefs and values that challenge the political establishment or result in the emergence of new groups exerting participatory demands on the system. Global systemic change often results in the promotion of values that undermine the legitimacy of existing political systems, particularly in cases where the incumbent political regime itself is not considered legitimate in the eyes of most citizens.

Values such as democratic rights and greater citizen participation are not necessarily those that political systems in developing countries tend to champion. They are, in fact, widely circulated and popularly demanded by populations that have experienced the interactive effects of domestic social change and macro- structural transformations. In many instances, challenge against the political establishment have occurred because of a discrepancy between the policies of the incumbent regime and the values adhered to by the society at large. These threats or challenges against the political establishment have ranged from protests, demonstrations, riots and civil wars to outright revolution. Moreover, the diffusionist effects of Western cultures tend to encourage the growth of formal practices and the gradual shift toward participatory democracy. The result is the exposure of the incumbent regime to new forms of competition for which it is not prepared. Groups that had been at the political periphery begin clamoring for more prominence in the struggle for political control. The usual

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Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction: Democratization as a Transitional Stage 1
  • Notes 10
  • 2 - Explaining Democratization: An Alternative to Existing Conceptualizations 13
  • Notes 30
  • 3 - Institutional Structures and Modern Authoritarianism 33
  • 4 - Independence and the Legitimization of Authoritarian Rule 53
  • Notes 70
  • 5 - Political Insecurity and the Power Political Problem 73
  • Notes 89
  • 6 - The Ethnopolitical-Democratization Conflict Nexus 93
  • Notes 114
  • 7: Military Corporate Interests and Democratization 119
  • 8 - External Imperatives: International Donors and Democratization 143
  • Notes 162
  • 9 - Conclusion 167
  • Notes 180
  • References 183
  • Index 193
  • About the Author 198
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