Democracy in Africa : achievements & prospects

TitleDemocracy in Africa : achievements & prospects
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsS.D.K. Ellis
EditorD. Rimmer
Secondary TitleAction in Africa : the experience of people involved in government, business & aid
Pagination133 - 143
Date Published1993///
PublisherJames Currey [etc.]
Place PublishedLondon [etc.]
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, Country, democracy, democratization, Kenya, politics, Zambia

External factors - the change in the international climate following the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989, the publication at almost the same time of the World Bank's report 'From crisis to sustainable growth', in which the Bank for the first time linked aid to the question of "governance" - undoubtedly played a role in the decline of the one-party State in Africa. But the deeper causes of the current wave of democratization lie in the buildup of pressure over the past few decades for a new form of political accountability, to replace that of patronage politics. Most African governments have responded to the forces of change by conceding to demands for multiparty rule, simultaneously attempting to control the process. President Moi of Kenya, re-elected president in a multiparty election, is a case in point. In a few cases, heads of State have refused to make any compromises at all, with appalling results (Liberia, Somalia). In those countries where some degree of democratization has taken place, it is hard as yet to discern any improvement in regard to governance. Political parties continue to be formed in terms of clientelism and there is little to choose between rival parties, as a comparison of the contrasting cases of Kenya and Zambia illustrates. Democratization has not recast political constituencies in a new mode (though religion may form the base for new forms of political recruitment in the years to come). Notes, ref

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