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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:African ruling political parties and the making of 'authoritarian' democracies: extending the frontiers of social justice in Nigeria
Author:Kura, Sulaiman B.ISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:African Journal on Conflict Resolution
Volume:8
Issue:2
Pages:63-101
Language:English
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Nigeria
Subjects:democracy
authoritarianism
political parties
People's Democratic Party
social justice
Link:https://www.accord.org.za/ajcr-issues/%ef%bf%bcafrican-ruling-political-parties-and-the-making-of-authoritarian-democracies/
Abstract:African democracies are distinguished by the character of their political parties. They are easily labelled as illiberal civilian autocracies. These features, coupled with emerging so-called dominant ruling parties, demonstrate the inclination towards a new form of 'modern' democratic authoritarianism. In other words, the ruling dominant parties are appearing to be a 'reincarnation' of the one-party system and military rule that held sway in sub-Saharan Africa for some three to four decades from the 1960s. In the process of this transformation, African ruling parties have been grossly destabilizing the opposition and perceived dissenters through clientelism, patronage politics and extra-legal means, thereby undermining the provision of social justice in the guise of democratization. In the light of this there seems to be a theoretical and empirical lacuna in the discourse of social justice, in explaining the contradictions inherent in safeguarding democracy through undemocratic practices, such as election misconduct, manipulation of judiciary, lack of provision of human rights, assassination and victimization of political opponents, through which the provision of social justice is undermined. In this context, this paper seeks to explore the pattern of authoritarian practice in Nigeria's ruling party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), vis--vis the problems of social justice provision. Nigeria returned to democracy about a decade ago, but the country is sliding towards a one-party system. The abuse of social justice, through detention, assassination and police brutality, defies any logic of democratization. The paper therefore seeks to introduce a working framework for extending the frontiers of social justice for an integrative analysis and understanding of social justice in developing African democracies. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]
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