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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The resurgence of multi-party democracy in Africa: what hopes for the downtrodden
Author:Enemuo, Francis ChigboISNI
Periodical:Nigerian Journal of International Affairs
Geographic term:Africa
economic recession
multiparty systems
Abstract:The current mass demands for multiparty democracy in Africa can be explained by reference to a number of local and international economic and class forces which date from independence and whose contradictory nature has been accentuated by the economic crisis that now plagues the African continent. The major patterns and impetus of the democratization process demonstrate a direct nexus between the global economic recession, the collapse of primary commodity prices, the worsening immiseration of the African masses and the upsurge in popular demands for political pluralism spearheaded by petty bourgeois elements. The drastic fall in foreign exchange earnings has meant that African regimes now have less resources to buy off potential opposition groups and to fund repressive security apparatuses. They are also unable to meet import bills and finance national development, and have been compelled to seek foreign loans. And in order to qualify for Western aid, quite a number of African autocrats have been obliged to democratize. Western promotion of liberal democracy and the open market ideology is not altogether altruistic, however. And it is questionable whose interests liberal democracy in Africa will serve, given the fact that the postcolonial State in Africa is essentially bourgeois. Multipartism does not automatically lead to popular participation in and control over government. In fact, democracy without people-centred development is irrelevant. Note, ref., sum.