Compatible Cultural Democracy

Compatible Cultural Democracy: The Key to Development in Africa

DANIEL T. OSABU-KLE
Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 317
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2ttpdd
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  • Book Info
    Compatible Cultural Democracy
    Book Description:

    This book argues that it is time for African nations to govern themselves using modified, indigenous political structures and ideologies.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0247-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. 9-12)
  4. CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION: VARIANTS OF DEMOCRATIC PRACTICE
    (pp. 13-36)

    The end of the Cold War has brought within its wake a new cry for democracy in Africa, and it is as if democracy is something unheard of there—as if it was unknown on the continent before European contact. But Africans are not inexperienced in the ways of democracy. They are not against democracy, because it is an integral and inseparable part of their historical consensual culture. Africa’s political problems are not about democracy per se, but about what brand of democracy is suitable for the people of this era. Is it the British type, the French type, the...

  5. CHAPTER TWO THE GREAT TRANSPLANTATION
    (pp. 37-52)

    The coming of alien ideologies and practices to Africa began to some extent during the era of captive slavery, from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, but it intensified during the era of colonial enslavement. Slavery was abolished in most of Europe during the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries—though abolition in oversees territories came somewhat later—but the end of captive slavery did not bring an end to all forms of enslavement of black Africans. The further development of capitalism required raw materials and markets. Africa’s natural resources, relative proximity to Europe, and ready access by sea—at...

  6. CHAPTER THREE THE POST-INDEPENDENCE PROBLEM
    (pp. 53-78)

    Neo-colonialism did not occur by chance but by design, and African countries can extricate themselves from this grand plan only by attaining the political prerequisites for successful development. What will undoubtedly be needed if these objectives are to be realized is collective action, co-operation, and commitment to the nationalist cause by effective coalitions of African elites in each country, because the interests of imperialism are served whenever the differences between African countries are stressed and their commonality is downplayed. The strategy by which imperialism always wins is still the same: to divide and rule. That strategy worked well for imperialism...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR TYPICAL AFRICAN POLITICAL SYSTEMS
    (pp. 79-96)

    African political systems in pre-colonial times were essentially democratic, with all the trappings of government with the consent of the governed and a balance between centralized power and decentralized power to prevent the misuse of authority by any one person. They were systems with checks, balances, and accountability. And while these indigenous systems might not have been perfect, and they did to some extent exhibit exclusion, it can be equally said that no political system in the world is perfect and no political system is all-inclusive.

    African political systems fall into two main types. One type of political system, exemplified...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE TOWARDS THE MODIFICATION OF AFRICAN POLITICAL CULTURE
    (pp. 97-114)

    Colonialism had several structural dimensions, including the political, the ideological, and the economic, all of which served the interests of the colonizers at the expense of the colonized. Decolonization means the complete eradication of the colonial structures and their replacement with the structures that primarily serve the interests of the new nations. The transformation processes of decolonization require not only united elite coalitions committed to the nationalist cause but also appropriate political conditions that enable the coalitions to cushion the inevitable stresses and strains of independence. But instead of adapting the deeply embedded indigenous political cultures to achieve the appropriate...

  9. CHAPTER SIX GHANA: TACTICAL ACTION, SOCIALISM, AND THE MILITARY
    (pp. 115-136)

    When Ghana became an independent nation in 1957—the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to achieve that status in the twentieth century—it was a country created not in accordance with any principles of African nation-building, but a foreign creation resulting from the Berlin Conference of the late nineteenth century. It was through the imperialist design to divide up Africa and the economic logic of capitalism that what is now Ghana became The Gold Coast, a colony of Britain, under the force of British guns. Before European contact, the various ethnic societies of Ghana had constructed their own effective patterns...

  10. CHAPTER SEVEN NIGERIA: OIL, COUPS, AND ETHNIC WAR
    (pp. 137-148)

    Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, was the second country in Sub-Saharan Africa to attain independence. Comprising more than 250 ethnic groups, it has a full history of the same African consensual culture. During British colonial rule and also at the time of independence, the ideological symbols of unity were not transferred from the ethnic level to the national level to enable the building of the country as one nation recognizing one Nigerian language with different dialects and with a subsequent delegation of authority to lower levels of administration in order to maintain a balance between centralization and decentralization....

  11. CHAPTER EIGHT KENYA: SETTLER IDEOLOGY AND THE STRUGGLE FOR MAJIMBO
    (pp. 149-162)

    After British rule came to Kenya following the Berlin Conference, the completion of the Ugandan Railway in 1901 provided an opportunity for commodities to be exported through the port of Mombasa. The land was not rich enough in mineral or other natural resources to provide the necessary freight for the railway, but the Kenyan Highlands had the potential for large-scale farming, including an appropriate climate. In pursuit of this economic logic, and given the suitability of the climate for European settlement, the colonial government embarked upon luring European visitors and settlers to Kenya by offering land cheaply to anyone interested...

  12. CHAPTER NINE TANZANIA: UJAMAA, COMPULSION, AND THE FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
    (pp. 163-174)

    Historically, given its geographic position, Tanzania experienced a strong Arab influence—like the whole of the East African coast and the Horn of Africa—as well as the standard pattern of European intervention. The British act of 1833 that abolished slavery in the British Empire did not end the slave trade in East Africa, where slaves continued to be exported by the Sultan of Muscat, Seyyid Said. The island of Zanzibar, once controlled by the Portuguese, became a British Protectorate in 1890, a status it held until 1963. The mainland territory of Tanganyika was a German colony from 1844 to...

  13. CHAPTER TEN SOMALIA: EXPERIMENTS WITH DEMOCRACY, MILITARY RULE, AND SOCIALISM
    (pp. 175-188)

    Somalia has had a long history of colonial rule, and an equally long history of resistance to that rule. By 1885 Somali society had come under five different types of rule, by the British, French, Italians, Ethiopians, and colonized Kenya in the Northern Frontier District. The British controlled the north-central area; the northwest (Djibouti) was under the French; the Italians administered the south; the Ogaden in the west had become part of Ethiopia; and the southern part had virtually become part of Kenya.¹

    This historical division of Somali society against their wishes is the source of the irredentist spirit of...

  14. CHAPTER ELEVEN SENEGAL: FROM FRENCH COLONIALISM TO THE FAILURE OF PARTISAN POLITICS
    (pp. 189-210)

    Senegal has, perhaps, been in longer and more continuous contact with Europe than has any other country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its exposure to French partisan politics goes back to the eighteenth century. It was the territory that France used as a springboard for its colonialist expansion in the region. Unlike many African countries, in which the imaginary boundary lines drawn during the Scramble for Africa had little or no relation to the ethnic structure of society, Senegal has boundaries that coincide roughly with the traditional boundaries separating different cultures and ethnic groups. Its borders separate off the Moors to the...

  15. CHAPTER TWELVE RWANDA: FROM SUCCESS STORY TO HUMAN DISASTER
    (pp. 211-250)

    The case of Rwanda demonstrates, once again, how partisan politics—when superimposed upon a European-created history, colonial legacy, church interference in politics, international political and economic forces, and IMF and World Bank stabilization and structural adjustment conditionalities and policies—can ruin an African nation. The Belgians, who ruled Rwanda first under a League of Nations mandate and later under a United Nations Trusteeship, were aware of the confusion they had helped to create in the country, and predicted nothing but impending doom when the country attained independence in 1962. Thus, Catherine Newbury writes that on the eve of independence, “Expatriate...

  16. CHAPTER THIRTEEN CONGO (KINSHASA): “A MOST LETHAL POISON …”
    (pp. 251-272)

    The 1884-85 Berlin Conference gave undisputed sovereignty of the Congo to the King of Belgium, Leopold II. In accordance with the prevailing colonial logic, Belgium set out to structure the economy of the Congo not to suit the needs of Congolese peoples but the needs of Belgians and the entire Western alliance. The colonial strategy of the Belgian government was to spend very little on the colony while at the same time reaping whatever profits the territory generated. Despite substantial exploitation of the mineral and agricultural wealth of the country, economic development during the colonial era bore little relationship to...

  17. CHAPTER FOURTEEN CONCLUSION: ESTABLISHING AN AFRICAN (JAKU) DEMOCRACY
    (pp. 273-282)

    In accordance with the Western agenda of containment of communism, the political system imposed on African countries as a precondition for the grant of independence represented, in general, a massive transplantation of alien partisan politics. The resulting political regimes were misfits that were weak, politically corrupt, and ineffective. In the Cold War context the West preferred military dictatorships capable of resisting the spread of communism, and the East preferred the same military regimes capable of establishing communism. Coups became rampant as Africa was turned into an immense battleground contested by the giants of the West and the East. As the...

  18. NOTES
    (pp. 283-296)
  19. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 297-306)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 307-317)