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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Problematic of African Democracy Experiences From the Political Transition in Nigeria
Author:Chafe, Kabiru S.
Periodical:Afrika Zamani: revue annuelle d'histoire africaine = Annual Journal of African History (ISSN 0850-3079)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Nigeria
West Africa
Politics and Government
political science
Political pluralism
Abstract:The agenda on democratization, with which African countries are currently grappling, is being dictated primarily by developments in America and Europe. The operation of 'democratic' governments in Africa has been very disappointing, politically and economically, primarily because Western liberal democracy as a model of governance has no sociohistorical organic link with the dynamics of African social formations. Examination of the 'peculiar' conditions that impede the development of liberal democracy on the continent also involves looking into the 'costs' of democracy for African societies. If 'democracies' necessarily bring social tension and political unrest to African States, to the extent that their corporate existence is seriously challenged, then it is not only the structure of (liberal) democracy, but its content and meaning as well that require thorough appraisal. The author contends that liberal democracy has assumed a particular ideology, in contrast to some theoretical postulating, which seeks to define democracy as simply denoting a principle. On the basis of the Nigerian experience since independence and the 'unending' transition programme first unfolded by General Babangida in 1986, the author discusses the problematic of democracy in Africa. He notes that, above all, Western liberal democracy needs a strong middle class to survive, and in Africa this is often lacking. Notes, ref.