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Democracy in Africa

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Future of Democracy in Africa

With the aid of the book, State, Conflict, and Democracy in Africa, I will try to come up with some type of conclusion to the future democracy in Africa. These Africanists that I will mention in my paper have assessed that contemporary Africa has struggled to deal with false starts, unsatisfactory attempts to reconfigure power and varies political reforms. The first theoretical essay is written by Crawford Young on the Third Wave of Democratization in Africa. Young is a Political Scientist, who received a PhD from Harvard and he specializes in development and politics in developing countries, particularly Africa. His works are “The Politics of Cultural Pluralism” , “Ideology and Development in Africa” , and “The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State”. In his essay, Young offers insight on Africa's experimentation on political liberalization. Young starts off by talking about the “third wave” of democratization which hit Africa in 1989 which was seen as a global dynamic. Factors such as modernization, diffusion and power politics helped shaped this transition. In Africa there were deeper structural factors which started first with the economical field. “In dramatic contrast to the aggressive assertion of economic nationalism in the 1970s, a decade peppered with sweeping indigenization programs and widespread nationalism, the 1980 Organization of African Unity Lagos Plan of Action, and the blistering critique of African development performance in the World Bank's 1981 Berg Report”(p.21). At the same time it caused a widespread debt crisis, which in term put the African states on the defensive end against public and private international investors. In the beginning of the 1989, thirty-eight out of forty-five African countries were under military/one-party regime, but 2 years later their were thirty-one African countries had become multi-party states with elected assembles. He gives examples of these democratic reforms by stating these events, “...astonishing participation in presidential elections in Algeria in the face of violent intimidation by the extreme fringes of the Islamist opposition; a show of elections, with minimal participation, by the integralist Islamic military autocracy in Sudan; publication of yet another Nigerian constitution, with further prolongation of the permanent transition; military coups in Niger and The Gambia, swiftly followed by an ostensible democratic restoration conforming the coup leader in power; resurrection of the Mathieu Kérékou and Didier Ratsiraka through the electoral in Sierra Leone in circumstances of such widespread insecurity that balloting was impossible in many regions; and elections in Mauritius in which the ruling coalition lost all 60 of the directly elected seats”(p.15). These sporadic events occurred within months of each other which was able to under-mind the political liberalization process. Young states in his essay that the African polities have the basic notions of a state, nonetheless the origins of the colonial imposed structure, who's essential features have been perpetuated in the post-colonial era.. But this weakness and collapse of states suggest that their may be more needed then organization and rulers bent on seizing control. Examples of democratic reforms can be in some cases, states need to built from the ground up instead of this contemporary method. Another would be to make sure that when states are in the the process of state building that they incorporate the democratic process along with this building,

Country Best Scores 2004 Country Most Improved Liberties 1990-2004 Political Liberties Civil Liberties Political Liberties Civil Liberties
Mauritius 1.0 1.0 Cape Verde +4.0 +4.08
Cape Verde 1.0 1.0 Ghana +4.0 +3.07
South Africa 1.0 2.0 Mali +4.0 +3.07
São Tomé 2.0 2.0 South Africa +4.0 +2.06
Mali 2.0 2.0 Seychelles +3.0 +3.06
Namibia 2.0 3.0 São Tomé +3.0 +3.06
Ghana 2.0 2.0 Benin +4.0 +2.06
Lesotho 2.0 3.0 Lesotho +4.0 +2.06
Botswana 2.0 2.0 Kenya +3.0 +3.06
Senegal 2.0 3.0 Malawi +3.0 +2.05
Benin 2.0 2.0 Mozambique +3. 0 +2.05
Liberia 2.0 3.0 Niger +3.0 +2.05
Source: Freedom House
*This table shows the significant countries that have made progress since 1990 in advancing protection in political and civil liberties. The ranking scale is 1-7, where 1-2 indicates freedom, 3-5 indicates partial freedom, and 6-7 lack of freedom. The next essay is written by John Harbeson and its on “Democratic Transitions.” Harbeson is a Political Scientists and is a professor at the Graduate Center and City College in the City University of New York. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College, his M.A. from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Harbeson research has focused on the political change and political economy in less developed countries, with a concentration in Sub-Saharan Africa. He wrote “The Ethiopian Transformation: The Quest for the Post-Imperial State”, “Nation Building in Kenya: The Role of Land Reform”, “Civil Society and the State in Africa” , “Africa in World Politics”, “The Military in African Politics, and Responsible Government: The Global Challenge.” In his essay uses countries from Eastern and Southern Africa to show that in these regions the process of democratic transitions often start off with rule making instead of elections. Harbeson states that “empirical democratic theory, upon which the democratic transitions literature rests, suggests that establishing the fundamental rules of the game is at least as valuable as elections in the early stages of the democratization process. This demonstrates the possibility and desirability of fashioning alternative models of democratic transitions that are attuned to the circumstances of individual countries.”(p.53) With this he tries to answer the empirical question of what is the common elements of all systems claiming to be democratic., elements that are the foundation for analytic and normative theories which specify the necessity and sufficient conditions for the existence of democracy. These contemporary concepts of sufficient conditions and of a necessary democracy was pushed forward by the social scientist Robert Dahl from which theories of consolidation and democratic transition derived from having similar experiences in Europe and the Americas . Harbeson goes on to give examples of countries where their was a formation of a broadly defined pacts created first and then multi-party elections example where the democratic transition worked like in South Africa,. In South Africa, they held a detailed negotiation on their constitution before holding their first post-apartheid multi-party elections. Participates on the post-transition struggles have dare not to oppose the democratic rules of the games. “Neither the ANC government nor the faction within it has tried to resort to extra-constitutional means to sustain its power, nor have they been accused of doing so by the opposition”(p.46). All the parties have respected the results of the 1994 national elections, and the democratic process is still be furthered by the local elections, where the ANC is receiving brooder political support. But we cant account all embryonic democracy in South Africa to broadly constructed rules of the game, the stature of Nelson Mandela also played an important role in the political stability and the democracy in South Africa.

Country Resource Availability Authority Local Political Process Performance: Management and Operations Performance: Service Delivery
South Africa very strong strong weak very strong weak
Swaziland very weak weak very weak very weak very weak
Botswana strong moderate moderate moderate strong
Source: African Studies Quarterly
*Study was done on three Southern African countries. These evaluations are ranked from very weak, weak, moderate, strong, and very strong. The author of the third essay and the author of the book Richard Joseph writes on “The Reconfiguration of Power in Africa.” He is a Political Scientists and a Asa G. Candler Professor at Emory University. He received his received his DPhil from Oxford University in 1973. He has devoted his life to understanding governance and conflict resolution in Africa. His works are “Smart Partnerships for African Development: A New Strategic Framework', “Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria: The Rise and Fall of the Second Republic”, “Radical Nationalism in Cameroun: Social Origins of the U.P.C. Rebellion” and “State, Conflict, and Democracy in Africa.”. Joseph states in his essay that the effects of the post-Cold war changed the regime and drew more attention the international dimensions of democratization. There was a diverse form of international influence with included Western democracy, transitional human rights, diffusion, democracy networks, spread of new communication technology and multilateral conditionality, even with the international pressure of US military and democracy assistant programs their was no consistent democratizing impact. But these terms were poorly understood in the international environment. The impact of diffusion of Western diplomacy has a great effect on Central Europe and Latin American, but has a adverse effect in Africa. The post-Cold War international environment can be broken up into two sides. On one side you have the leverage, where the degree that a government is vulnerable the democratizing pressures of a Western power and on the other the cross-border flows like trade and investments linked with density of ties such economical, political, and social factors between specific countries and the United States and EU. During the post-Cold War this leverage on its own wasn't enough to induce democratization. Diplomatic pressure at times was able to force elections and block authoritarian regressions, it was ultimately the diffusion of the linkage that contributed the the consistency of democratization. When there is a high linkage the authoritarian regime incur a raise in cost for abuses by escalating their international salience. Which in turn will signal the Western governments to increase domestic actors with professional, political, and economical stakes to follow the democratic norms. On the other side when there are low linkages there is more of a permissive international environment where there might be autocrats. In Africa we see that there is high leverage but has a low linkage, where the external pressure will weaken the authoritarian regimes but will mostly not favor democratization. High Linkage Low Linkage Leverage
High Linkage Democratization likely Both stable authoritarianism and democratization unlikely
Low Leverage Democratization likely, but slower Stable authoritarianism most likely *Four situations of Western Linkage and Leverage. During the end of the Cold War the international environment began to challenge authoritarianism and to a certain degree it began to encourage democratization. One way, it triggered a hasty decline in external resources which was funding the autocratic regimes. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, their was no more economic or military support which scorned the many former Soviet and U.S. Client states to struggle to maintain their power. Another way was during the post-Cold War there was a diffusion of formal democratic institutions. In many countries the elites opted to use Western style institutions, because the were seen more as a perfect model and easier access to Western resources. The third way happened at the end of the Cold War, where there was a shift in U.S and European foreign policies. With the fall of the Soviet threat, it seemed that the promotion of democracy was at the top of the list in foreign policy objectives in the West. The Western powers aided in efforts to promote human rights, conditioned loans, and holding elections. These new political conditionality were used a ways to maintain a permanent legal framework so that there was a collective defense for democracy. The EU took these efforts into more depth by making democracy a requirement for membership. The OAS has also adopted regulations in order to maintain the collective defensive of democracy like imposing sanctions where democracy is challenged. Lastly, the post-Cold War produced a transnational infrastructure of organizations that are committed to human rights and promotion of democracy. These infrastructure included the political parties, international organization, and Western governments that provided democracy assistance programs. There was also a emergence if advocacy networks that were committed to exposing human rights issues and putting pressure on Western governments to do something about them. Because of these networks, issues such as state abuse was widely known due to international media and human rights groups.

The final essay is written Robert Bates which he address the issue of “The Economic Bases of Democratization.” Bates is currently the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard. His focus is on political economy and development , mainly in Africa. His works are “Africa and the disciplines: the contributions of research in Africa to the social sciences and humanities”, “Essays on the Political Economy of Rural Africa”, “Markets and States in Tropical Africa: The Political Basis of Agricultural Policies”,”Prosperity and Violence: The Political Economy of Development.” In Bates essay he tries to look at it as a matter of economics rather than a ideology. He come to the conclusion that the general theory has varies routes which has been prompted by the enlightened self interest of those in power which this process has taken from Western states. In the context of an initial state of autocracy, democracy can only work if the the ruling party gave up their political power in return they take the economy hostage. Another way is for the autocrats need to find a way to levy their taxes to defend their territory. Since the visible situation with land decline, taxes need to be levied on movable goods and capital. There also need to be a cooperation with the skilled middle class so that the economy can remain productive. When this was implemented in some African countries the result were as follows. There seemed to be no need for African autocrats to defend their territory. They also found that the autocrats were able to benefit by exploiting the natural recourses instead of depending on taxes of land or capital. They found that founding could easily be obtained from outside organizations. The existence of tribes has impeded the establishment of a consistent middle class, and the potential middle class has been profiting off the arbitrage between the real economy and official policies. There has to be a specific African route that deals with the matters of economics, where there is a progress towards which will include turmoil. A place where the natural resources are low and the international organization have no interests there. Also with the need the local elite to provide conditions where the inflow of capital will continue coming in.

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