Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions

By Earl Conteh-Morgan | Go to book overview

social sectors by the incumbent regime. The consequence is the perception of political power as a prize to fight for at all costs. Thus, democratization could be ethnopoliticized because past official recognition of ethnoregions as a basis of political representation, legitimizes, institutionalizes, and renders more permanent prior ethnically organized political participation; for example, the continued formation of political parties along ethnic or regional lines. Also, the lingering legacy of de facto ethnoregional politics as a basis of representation promotes new and parallel mobilization by formerly unorganized groups galvanized by the new democratization revolution. The coincidence of ethnopolitical and democratization conflicts are a combination of: historical political legacies, the culture of modernization, the global spread of egalitarian values, and the intensification of scarcity aggravated by environmental degradation and population pressure. For instance, in many countries of Africa where democratization is taking place, conflicts along ethnic lines erupt for a variety of reasons: (1) the personal ambitions of rival ethnic- power elites; (2) ethnic group insecurity exploited by ethnic leaders who tie the fate of their own ethnic group or region to the survival of the regime; (3) the desire to reverse inherited political disadvantages, and (4) to maintain or reverse the current structure of political domination.

In the next chapter I focus on another issue of perennial significance in the democratization process: military intervention or the military as an actor in the democratization process. Issues of corporate interests, human rights, and ethnic- based and civilian militaries are explored in relation to the wave of political and economic liberalization sweeping the African continent.


NOTES
1.
The official position of many African governments on ethnicity fall into one of three views: (1) ethnicity has been totally eradicated; (2) it has been greatly reduced; or (3) it is a recent phenomenon because it is only recently that it began to be revived.
2.
See, for example, Michael Klare, Supplying Repression: U.S. Support for Authoritarian Regimes Abroad ( Washington, D.C.: Institute for Policy Studies, 1977).
3.
Robert Kaplan, "The Coming Anarchy," Atlantic Monthly, February 1994: p. 48. A similar picture of gloom, anarchy, and despair has been painted by Samuel Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations," Foreign Affairs 3: p. 22 ( 1993).
4.
See, for example, Roland Oliver, The Missionary Factor in East Africa ( London: Routledge, 1952).
5.
Gaudens P. Mpangala, "Inter-Ethnic Relations in Tanzania: From Pre- Colonial Times to the Present." CODESRIA Seminar, Nairobi, November 16-18, 1992.

-114-

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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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