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  • 1. CONTENTSEditor’s Note page 3ArticlesState, Governance and Insecurity in AfricaRichard Joseph page 5The Promise of Constitutionalism and the Challenge of Militarism:Constraints and Possibilities of the Human Rights Movement in NigeriaBonny Ibhawoh page 15Political Liberalisation and Democratic Change inSub-Saharan Africa, 1970-1995: A Cross-Sectional AnalysisPatrick Johnston & Chris Lee page 37Democracy, Security & Poverty in Ghana:A Mid-Term Review of the Kufuor AdministrationJ.’Kayode Fayemi, Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebo page 53BriefingsThe Life and Times of A.M. Babu: Personal Reflections by Issa G. Shivji page 89La Crise Ivoirienne :Elements pour Situer ses Origines et ses Dimensions Sous-regionales page 97 by Abdoulaye BathilyBook reviewsFrancis Wilson et al. (eds.), Poverty Reduction (by Wale Adebanwi) page 105Camilla Toulmin et al., (eds) The Dynamics of Resource Tenure in West Africa (by Olly Owen) page 107Tekeste Negash & Kjetil Tronvoll, Brothers at War (by Sara Rich Dorman) page 109Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong, Between the Sea and the Lagoon (by Patrick Dela Cofie) page 112Richard Rathbone, Nkrumah and the Chiefs (by Emmanuel Kwesi Aning) page 114E. Ike Udogu (ed.) The Issue of Political Ethnicity in Africa (by Kathryn Nwajiaku) page 117Hein Marais, South Africa: Limits to Change (by Buntu Siwisa) page 120Ted Leggett, Rainbow Vice: The Drugs and Sex Industries in the New South Africa (by Kirsten Harrison) page 123Eboe Hutchful, Ghana’s Adjustment Experience (by Mike Bristow) page 125George Saitoti, The Challenges of Economic and Institutional Reforms in Africa (by Oloya Aliker Tebere) page 127Korwa G. Adar & Rok Ajulu (eds.) Globalization and Emerging Trends in African States’ Foreign Policy-Making Process (by W. Alade Fawole) page 130Michael O. Anda, International Relations in Contemporary Africa (by Christopher Ankersen) Page 133Books available for review Page 137
  • 2. 2 SubscriptionsAnnual subscription for corporate bodies: £75 for UK; €124 for EU; $112 forother countries (special rates apply for Africa); andfor individuals: £30 for UK; €52 for EU; $48 for other countries.Single copy rate for corporate bodies: £40 for UK; €67 for EU; $59 for othercountries; and for individuals: £17 for UK; €30 for EU; $27 for other countries.Cheques should be made payable to Centre for Democracy & Development Notes for Contributors• Send all articles, book reviews, notices, and other correspondence to: The Editor Democracy & Development: Journal of West African Affairs Unit 6 Canonbury Yard, 190A New North Road, London N1 7BJ, UK Tel: +44 (0)207 288 8666, Fax: +44 (0)207 288 8672 or: 2 Olabode Close, Ilupeju Estate, P.O. Box 15700, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria Tel: +234 (0)1 804 3221, Fax: +234 (0)1 493 4420 E-mail:, Internet:• Submitted articles and/or reviews should be typed double space and with a wide margin on the left. Articles should not be more than 8,000 words; reviews, 1,500 words. Articles can be submitted by email as MS Word attachment or as a MS Word document on a floppy disk by post.• Include professional details about the author at the bottom of the first page.• Democracy & Development’s house style is modelled on the Oxford English Dictionary and avoids ‘Americanisms’ like ‘organize’ (organise) and ‘demo- cratization’ (democratisation). Italicise book and journal titles. Use single quo- tation marks.• Notes and references should appear on a separate page at the end of the article, and should be listed as follows: For books: Clark, A.F. 2000. ‘From Military Dictatorship to Democracy: The democratisation Process in Mali’, in Bingen, R.J. et al. (eds.) Democracy and Development in Mali. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press. For journals: Hentz, J. 2000. ‘The two faces of privatisation: political and eco- nomic logics in transitional South Africa’, in The Journal of Modern African Studies, vol.38, no.2, pp.203-223.
  • 3. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 3-4. © CDD 2003 Editor’s Note Imagining New FuturesIn this edition, we continue with the blend of scholarly analysis and activist report-age that we pioneered with our Rains 2002 Edition. The deluge of positive re-sponses that we have received in the five odd months since that defining editioncame out has further deepened our conviction that what we set out to deliver iswhat the West-African sub-region needs at this crucial conjuncture – a bilingualjournal that captures the reality, both at the level of street conditions, and that ofofficialdom. To this end, we have added another important feature to the journal.All the four main articles carry a complementary summary in French, symbolisingour acknowledgment of the bilingual status of the sub-region, and our desire toreach out to citizens across the artificial language divide. At the same time, cognis-ant of what appears to be the emerging tradition worldwide, we have considerablyexpanded the Book Reviews section. In this edition, there are twelve of such re-views of books whose themes range from poverty reduction and political ethnicity,to sexuality, globalisation, and international relations, issues that have becomecentral to the daily struggles of peoples across the length and breadth of the sub-region. We encourage scholars and activists from across the sub-region to requestfor books for possible review. You will find a list of available books at the back ofthe journal.This edition also embodies our other object of reflecting as much as possible thecurrent issues and debates in the sub-region, as well as bringing home to our WestAfrican constituency several other interests that will most likely impact on thecourse of events there. Thus, we feature four articles which fit broadly into thismatrix. In the lead piece, Professor Richard Joseph reflects on the general conditionof the African state, and laments that state collapse and worsening insecurity haveprovoked an exodus of skilled young men and women, a development which canonly bode ill for the continent as a whole. He is however confident that if thecontinent can sort itself out at the level of correct political ideas that are conscien-tiously implemented, then the future can still be salvaged. Bonny Ibhawoh’s his-torical analysis traces the evolution of the human rights movement in Nigeriawithin the context of military authoritarianism. He delivers insights that will provecrucial as the country prepares for what many commentators believe will be themost important elections in the country’s political history in April 2003. Using datafrom empirical research, Johnston and Lee critique the received wisdom regardingdemocratisation and political liberalisation in sub-Saharan Africa, while KayodeFayemi, Thomas Jaye and Zaya Yeebo give a mid-term report on the progressmade in Ghana two years into the democratic regime of President John Kufuor.In the Briefings section, Issa Shivji goes down memory lane in celebrating the lifeand times of the late A.M. Babu, easily one of the leading proponents of African
  • 4. 4 Editors Notesocialism in the last century, while Abdoulaye Bathily reflects critically on thesmouldering crisis in Cote d’Ivoire. He puts the crisis itself in historical context,something that a large number of commentators on the current crisis have failed todo. He also offers suggestions that might help forestall a possible humanitariantragedy in the sub-region.Since the publication of the Rains Edition of the journal, the editor, Dr. Ike Okonta,has moved on to other challenges as a post-doctoral fellow at University of Cali-fornia at Berkeley, USA. We would like to use this opportunity to wish him thebest in his current endeavours. As this regional baby passes unto the hands of anew minder, it is the wish of the editorial board that the journal shall continue toadvance to greater heights.Finally, we wish to acknowledge with thanks, the support of the Ford Foundation,particularly its Governance and Civil Society Unit in New York, for making thepublication of this journal possible.Ebenezer Obadare, Editor
  • 5. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 5-13. © CDD 2003 STATE, GOVERNANCE AND INSECURITY IN AFRICA1 By Richard Joseph2 French Summary L’Etat, la Gouvernance et l’Insécurité en AfriqueLe peuple africain vit à l’heure actuelle un moment critique de l’histoire du continent ; unmoment caractérisé par l’insécurité. Cette insécurité entraîne une masse d’émigration denos citoyens et donc une fuite des cerveaux qui porte préjudice à notre société et à nosinstitutions. Cela nous affecte tous, quelle que soit notre origine ethnique, nationalité etclasse sociale. Même ceux qui sont au sommet de l’échelle sociale et économique souffrentd’un sentiment d’insécurité conditionné par l’instabilité politique. Citons l’exemple dugouvernement zaïrois de Mobutu Sese Seko. Qu’est-ce qui a survécu à sa débâcle ? Ce quireste, c’est le legs de la division et un état fragilisé. Que restera-t-il du Zimbabwe après lerégime tyrannique de Mugabe ? L’échec de la construction d’états cohérents et légitimes arendu la stabilité politique et la croissance durable impossibles sur le continent. Néanmoins, grâce aux efforts de Kofi Anan et de la stratégie des ODM (Objectifs deDéveloppement du Millénaire), la réduction de la pauvreté est au premier plan de l’agendapolitique internationale. De plus, le NEPAD, une autre initiative qui appelle à un accrois-sement de l’aide extérieure et un l’allègement de la dette, souligne aussi la nécessité pourles gouvernements africains d’assumer la responsabilité des destinées de leur pays enpromouvant la transparence, la démocratie et l’obligation de rendre des comptes. Cepen-dant, au cours des réunions du G8 au Canada en juin 2002, la réaction de la communautéinternationale envers le NEPAD a été décevante. De plus, la position de la nouvelle admi-nistration américaine laisse présager une baisse de l’APD (Aide Publique au Développe-ment) en faveur des pays africains. Après plus d’une décennie d’adhésion aux PAS (pro-grammes d’ajustement structurel) et à la politique de libéralisation des marchés africains,les conditionnalités de l’aide internationale continue à pousser les gouvernements africainsà adopter les politiques que les donateurs occidentaux jugent meilleures pour eux. Une autre dimension importante du nouvel ordre mondial est la politique de sécurité.Depuis les événements du 11 septembre, les relations entre l’Afrique et l’occident sontrégies par la lutte contre le terrorisme tout comme elles l’étaient par la lutte contre lecommunisme pendant la guerre froide. Les producteurs de pétrole en Afrique deviennentune figure centrale de la nouvelle stratégie américaine qui vise à mettre un terme à ladépendance sur le pétrole provenant du Moyen Orient. Il est probable que cela résultera enun soutien à des régimes répressifs pourvu qu’une relation économique entre les Etats-Uniset les pays en question soit sauvegardée. De plus, les graves problèmes de sécurité enAfrique, causés par les conflits ethno-régionaux, le SIDA etc., ne seront pas résolus si notrecontinent devient le théâtre de conflits mondiaux qui se jouent par procuration. Le recul del’après guerre froide nous enseigne que l’intervention américaine doit être accompagnéede politiques appropriées permettant de répondre d’abord aux besoins complexes del’Afrique en matière de sécurité.1 Professor Richard Joseph is the Director of the Program of African Studies of Northwestern University, USA.2 Professor Joseph delivered this anniversary lecture at the Fifth Anniversary celebration of the Centre for Democ-racy & Development on November 30 at the Muson Centre, Lagos.
  • 6. 6 Richard Joseph Mais, ne soyons pas totalement pessimistes. Les actions de toutes les organisations quiœuvrent en faveur de la bonne gouvernance et du développement, comme le Centre pour laDémocratie et le Développement (CDD), qui sont les hôtes de cet événement, continuent àeffectuer un travail important qui, au bout du compte, contribuera à assurer un bel avenir àl’Afrique. ______________________This is a critical moment in the history of African peoples. If I had to suggest oneword to characterise their current status; it would be ‘insecurity’. This insecurityaffects virtually everyone. The poor and disadvantaged, of course, suffer most.However, filaments of insecurity connect those at the bottom to those at the top ofthe political and social hierarchy, and vice-versa. They extend across ethnic, reli-gious, and regional boundaries. They cross borders in the movement of refugeesand smugglers of arms, drugs and precious stones. Insecurity is also driving Afri-cans in increasing numbers out of Africa. Bands of illegal immigrants, weary fromperilous journeys over land and sea, are picked up by police forces on the southernshores of Europe almost every day. We will never know how many of these jour-neys end in capsised crafts. I often meet these exiles in the cities of the United States, usually as drivers oftaxis. The tales they tell differ only in the details. They had become tired of theuncertainty and insecurity of Africa. Distrustful of the promises of their gov-ernments, and seeing little prospect of improving their livelihoods, they are pre-pared to accept jobs well below their qualifications for the sake of their children.The brain drain from Africa is also relentless. At great expense to their countries, anew generation of African professionals has emerged. Instead of the security andhappiness they anticipated during their years of training, they find themselvesenmeshed in a wearing struggle over basic necessities – electricity, water, and evenpetroleum in oil-rich countries. The more developed nations increasingly benefitfrom their skills and talents. I recall the program conducted by the first governmentin Nigeria led by President Olusegun Obasanjo (1976-1979) to train scientists andadvanced technicians, mainly overseas, to lead Nigeria’s transition to a moderneconomy. What happened to them, I sometimes wonder. Whose technologicalrevolution are they advancing? Individuals who reach the top of the pyramid seldom experience the secure en-joyment of their wealth and power. Whether they have stashed their earnings inforeign banks or invested them in palatial residences, wealth can be quickly lost asa result of a sudden change in the political equation. In much of Africa, autocratsstill impede democratic progress by tenaciously clinging to their arbitrary powers.When they are eventually pushed from power, the edifice they constructed crum-bles in their wake. What have long-time rulers Mobutu Sese Seko and Félix Hou-phouët-Boigny left behind in the failed and fractured states of Congo and Côted’Ivoire? What will Daniel arap Moi hand over to his successor after the December2002 elections (and 24 years in power) in a Kenya hobbled by corruption, eco-nomic decay and ethnic conflict? What will be left of Zimbabwe after RobertMugabe’s tyranny?
  • 7. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 7 In my reflections on the African experience, I return time and again to thewell-known dictum of Kwame Nkrumah, the first leader of post-independenceGhana (1957-1966): ‘Seek ye first the political kingdom and all other things shallbe added unto you’. My first teacher of African politics, the British scholar, Tho-mas Hodgkin, was a close associate of Nkrumah. He recalled Nkrumah’s efforts tobolster his personal security through expanding the intelligence services and intro-ducing repressive legislation. With each step down this path, Nkrumah became lesssecure, and his government drifted further from its mission. Finally, his hardenedregime was toppled in a military coup, initiating a quarter-century of alternatingmilitary and civilian governments. Nkrumah had a profound understanding of thechallenges confronting post-colonial Africa, but his methods became increasinglycounter-productive. He understood that the security of Africa’s peoples dependscritically on the political entities they construct to pursue their common interests atnational, regional and continental levels. The failure to establish coherent, legiti-mate and developmental states has rendered it impossible for the continent toachieve political stability and sustainable growth. This is a point I have made onmany occasions, beginning with my 1987 book, Democracy and Prebendal Politicsin Nigeria.Africa and the New World OrderWorld poverty has moved to the forefront of international concerns thanks to theefforts of determined advocates and organisations. Of particular importance is thecommitment of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to reduce the widen-ing gap between rich and poor, now reflected in the Millennium DevelopmentGoals (MDG). The MDG set eight global targets for poverty reduction and im-provements in the general areas of health, education, the environment and in othersocial indices by the year 2015. The most prominent of the goals is to halve ex-treme poverty worldwide. From the perspective of the MDG, the grinding povertyof urban and rural Africans has become a challenge of global significance. Accord-ing to Pierre Englebert, writing in his 2000 book State Legitimacy and Develop-ment in Africa, ‘since 1960, Africans have seen their income rise by less than one-half of a percent per year, leaving the continent with the worst development recordand the highest concentration of countries with negative growth of all the regionsof the world.’ At a conference in Washington, DC on November 21st, U.S. Treasury UnderSecretary John Taylor provided statistics contrasting the relative economic per-formance of various countries and regions. They were astounding for what theyindicated about Africa. Taylor’s data revealed that Korea’s labour productivity, animportant indicator of economic capacity, rose at an average rate of 6% per yearbetween 1960 and 1999. Nigeria’s, by contrast, grew by only a few decimal points.When regions of the world were compared for the years 1991 to 1999, the increasefor East Asia was 5.5%, Latin America, 1.2%, and Africa, -0.5%. In other words,Africa slipped further behind during the 1990s despite the many policy changesintroduced under the guidance of international financial agencies. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) was presented tothe international community in 2001 as Africa’s collective strategy to reverse these
  • 8. 8 Richard Josephdownward trends and achieve sustainable development. While NEPAD calls forincreases in foreign aid, investment and debt relief, it also emphasises the need forAfrican governments to create growth-friendly environments by promoting trans-parency, democracy and accountability. It took remarkable feats of diplomacy toobtain the agreement of many African countries to the principles and objectives ofNEPAD. There has been vocal support for NEPAD from international donors,especially in regard to its commitments to good governance, sound macro-economic policies, and the creation of a peer review system. However, what wasexpected to be a crowning moment for NEPAD, namely the meeting of the G-8nations in Kananaskis, Canada in June 2002, fell well short of the hopes of Africanleaders. The G-8’s Africa Action Plan, the official response to the NEPAD propo-sal, commits an additional $6 billion in assistance to Africa. While this represents alaudable increase, it pales in comparison to the $64 billion African leaders hadproposed to finance NEPAD initiatives. In the new world order led by a U.S. Administration committed to the vigorouspursuit of its national interests, American policies will profoundly impact Africanefforts to achieve peace and development. I will discuss three of these briefly. Inthe current global economic downturn, industrialised countries are taking steps tominimise the slippage in their national economies and position themselves tobenefit from the upturn. After more than a decade of structural adjustment pro-grams and the adoption of market-oriented strategies, virtually all African countriesare currently seeking to increase their engagement in the world economy andcompete more effectively to attract foreign investment. The African Growth andOpportunity Act (AGOA) enacted by the Bill Clinton Administration providesincentives to increase African exports to the United States. By allowing free accessto U.S. markets for a specified range of countries and products, AGOA has contri-buted to an increase in American imports from Africa by 61% in the past twoyears. In August 2002, President Bush expanded AGOA by clarifying and easingrule-of-origin requirements and adding Botswana and Namibia to the list of eligibleparticipants. While AGOA appears to be making initial headway in the opening of Ameri-can markets to African goods, recent attention has centred on a major new initiativein American development assistance, namely the Millennium Challenge Account(MCA). The central feature of the MCA is a 50% increase in U.S. developmentassistance that will result in an additional $5 billion in aid by 2006. Assuming it isapproved by Congress, the MCA will reverse the downward trend in AmericanOverseas Development Assistance (ODA). Aid levels as a share of the U.S. econ-omy and budget, however, would remain below the levels achieved during the fivedecades, 1945-1995. The funding increase will be administered by the MillenniumChallenge Corporation, a new agency chaired by the U.S. Secretary of State. Usinga new method in aid distribution, MCA funds will go to a small number of count-ries (estimated at 13 for 2004) who, in the words of President Bush, ‘govern justly,invest in their people, and encourage economic freedom The MCA intends to giveselected countries flexibility and ownership in their development plans, but willalso require accountability and measurable results. What will these initiatives mean for Africa? Since the first round of the MCAis restricted to least developed countries, several African countries will be invited
  • 9. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 9to participate. However, the majority will continue to receive a share of ODAadministered by the U.S. Agency for International Development under currentguidelines. Other bilateral donors, while expressing verbal support for NEPAD’scontinental approach, are likely to follow the lead of the U.S. government. We cantherefore expect that a dual approach to development assistance will emerge in thecoming years: preferential assistance to countries that demonstrate what is deemedgood and responsible governance in political, economic and social affairs, andhumanitarian aid funnelled to the rest through private sector and non-governmentalgroups as well as governments. Security policy is the third major dimension of the new world order, after tradeand aid, that will impact Africa. Once again, following the lead of the UnitedStates, global security is defined, especially since the incidents of September 11,2001, as security from acts of terrorism. In the post-Cold War world, counter-terrorism has replaced anti-communism as the major preoccupation of Americanforeign policy. In the same way that relations with African countries before 1989were determined by East-West rivalries, they will now be greatly influenced by theglobal struggle against terrorist groups and governments considered to be directlyor indirectly assisting such groups. African oil producers figure centrally in thisnew strategy as industrialised countries seek to reduce their dependence on MiddleEast oil. The Cold War created many distortions in Africa whose unfortunate conse-quences still prevail. To external powers, the internal governance of countriesmattered less than their strategic value because of a particular export, the locationof global communication facilities, their willingness to act as conduits for militaryarmaments, and whether they happened to serve on the U.N. Security Council atcritical moments. Once again, Washington, DC is sending two different messages:we strongly advocate democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and transparentand honest economic performance; we need your oil, your bases, overflight facili-ties, and your active facilitation of our security operations. In some cases, countriesthat respond to the first summons will also be responsive to the second. In others,they will not, and we may experience Liberia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Zaire allover again, i.e. close relations for strategic reasons with repressive regimes. Thehigh profile meetings of President Bush and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeldwith leaders of East African nations in December 2002 considered essential tocounter-terrorism and counter-Iraq operations – such as Moi of Kenya, MelesZenawi of Ethiopia, and Issaias Afwerki of Eritrea, all of whom have deplorablehuman rights records – is reminiscent of the bifurcation of Cold War policies inAfrica. All governments are expected to advance their national security interests.However, while Africa’s homeland security needs are great, its capacity to pursuethem is limited. Since the arrival of an elected government in Nigeria in 1999, forexample, more than three times as many individuals have died in communal con-flicts, at the hands of police and military forces, or as a result of catastrophic fail-ures such as the armoury explosion in Lagos, as were lost in the 9/11 bombingincidents in the United States. Well over two million persons have died in Sudansince the civil war resumed in 1983, and as many in Eastern Congo since the fall ofMobutu in 1997. When we consider persistent warfare in the Mano River zone of
  • 10. 10 Richard JosephWest Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea), the violent fissuring of Côte d’Ivoire,widespread famine in southern Africa abetted by brutality and official ineptitude,and Africa’s 30 million AIDS sufferers, it is arguable that the security needs of theAfrican people exceed those of any other on earth. These profound deficiencies arerisk being overridden as Africa becomes, once again, an arena of proxy globalconflicts – witness the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 andthe anti-Israeli attacks in Mombasa, Kenya of November 2002. Following the Cold War, the Western powers announced with fanfare theirsupport for transitions from autocratic and military governments in Africa, andtheir determination to tie development assistance to economic and political liberali-sation. The implementation of this new strategy was mixed. As in the case ofAfghanistan after the defeat of the Soviet occupiers, there was no Western com-mitment to rebuild Africa in compensation for the travails inflicted by Cold Wargeopolitics. In the tragic case of Liberia, which has lost a tenth of its populationand decades of development to warlordism and tyranny, American political leaderscontinue to disavow principal responsibility for rescuing a country once valued forits communication assets makes chilling reading. The current creation of a U.S.operational base in the small country of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, and regularNATO patrols along the Somali coast since the defeat of the Taliban regime, arejust the visible aspects of enhanced American security operations in Africa. In viewof the severe economic hardships in much of Africa, the many protracted conflicts,and the low institutional capacity of many states, external security operations inthis continent should not be conducted myopically. Post-Cold War hindsight showsthat American intervention must be coupled with appropriate policies for tacklingAfrica’s own complex security needs.Transforming Governance and Rebuilding StatesIn 1988, after serving as a Ford Foundation Program Officer in West Africa, Ireturned to the U.S. determined to focus on governance issues. As a consequence,the African Governance Program was created at the Carter Center in Atlanta undermy direction. Many gains in Africa were made during the 1990s especially in theemergence of more open polities and a handful of genuine democracies. However,the erosion of public institutions, as a result of corruption, autocratic rule, and thepolitical manipulation of ethnicity and religion, has not abated. Without a funda-mental, indeed revolutionary, transformation of governance in Africa, in bothprivate and public sectors and at local, provisional and national levels, the woes ofthe continent will deepen. In 1968, Stanislav Andreski published a provocative book entitled, The Afri-can Predicament. Most African intellectuals and students of Africa rejected thisstudy as being overly disparaging of the continent and its societies. The languageof the book still offends but the concerns it raises about statehood, nationhood,ethnicity, and corruption are central to our current preoccupations. Andreskiclaimed, in exaggerated style, that ‘the newly independent African states providesome of the closest approximations to pure kleptocracy that have been recorded.’‘The use of public office for private enrichment,’ he further argued, ‘is the normaland accepted practice in African states and the exceptions are few and inconclu-
  • 11. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 11sive.’ During the last three decades, it could have been demonstrated by Africangovernments that Andreski was utterly mistaken. Instead, the use of the term‘kleptocratic’ to describe African governments has gone from verboten tocommonplace. At a recent meeting at the United States Institute of Peace in Wash-ington, DC, for example, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian party leader and businessexecutive, dismissed the Liberian government led by ex-warlord Charles Taylor asan ‘autocratic kleptocracy.’ In a room packed with Liberians and American policyscholars and practitioners, no one objected. On May 29, 1999, I was present at the inauguration of President OlusegunObasanjo when he delivered one of the most forthright condemnations of corrup-tion I have ever heard. Today, Nigeria is regarded internationally as having mademinimal progress in responding to this challenge. Entrenched political corruptionhas become one element of a broader phenomenon that can be called ‘catastrophicgovernance’. I define catastrophic governance as endemic practices that steadilyundermine a country’s capacity to increase the supply of public goods. It is cata-strophic governance that is mainly responsible for Africa’s failure to realize itsimmense development potential, aided and abetted by external opportunists. Thereare numerous studies that detail this sad record, for example, the 2001 award-winning book African Economies and Politics of Permanent Crisis by Nicolas vande Walle. Van de Walle contends that the failure to accelerate economic growth inAfrica despite two decades of ‘unprecedented aid flows’ is largely attributable togovernance and institutional deficiencies. Today, as discussed above, international donors are devoting considerable at-tention to improving aid effectiveness. Frankly, Africa’s most crippling deficiencyis not the absence of adequate resources but the failure to generate the necessaryinstitutional capacity in both public and private sectors to make effective use ofavailable resources, whatever their provenance. There is little doubt that interna-tional donors will increase the flow of development aid to Africa, tighten thestandards by which it is administered, and take steps to improve the delivery andcoordination of their assistance. What remains to be demonstrated is that the insti-tutional capacity to make productive use of these aid flows, as well as Africa’s ownresources, will improve in the continent. Unless the chains of catastrophic govern-ance are broken, Africa’s productivity will slip further behind that of the rest of theworld. Nigeria illustrates vividly this predicament. In a November 27, 2002 articlein the Wall Street Journal, former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Princeton Lymanobserves that Nigeria’s failure to achieve, ‘effective government, sound economicpolicies or long periods of even formal democracy… threaten to ignite the worstform of religious violence, indeed they threaten the continued unity of the country.’‘Nigeria reels from one of the worst economic declines in the world,’ he states, and‘corruption has robbed the country blind.’ There is no single solution to the di-lemma of building African institutional capacity. It will take a concerted and col-laborative effort among many actors and organisations, in Africa and internation-ally, to effect a lasting transformation of African governance. Systems of governance are fundamental to the building of states. Two weeksago I paid my first visit to South Korea to attend a meeting of the Community ofDemocracies. As I told the delegates during a plenary session, one of my reasonsfor making the long trip was to see with my own eyes a country that, fifty years
  • 12. 12 Richard Josephago, was considered to have less favourable development prospects than severalAfrican countries such as Ghana and Nigeria. How, fifty years later, do we gener-ate processes in Africa comparable to the institution-building experiences of Koreaand other economically dynamic Asian countries? Throughout Africa, key institu-tions in every sector – health, transport, education, public utilities – are still beingeroded from the inside. How can a revolution in African governance be effectedthat would build complexes of institutions, from local to national levels, that oper-ate synergistically? No country can undergo sustainable development unless itarrives at its own answers to these questions. Today’s global economy provides dividends to nation-state entities – whatevertheir size – which develop strong institutions, an educated population, and predict-able legal and regulatory systems. In the case of South Africa, once apartheid wasdismantled, the country’s institutional capacity in public and private sectors en-abled it to respond relatively effectively to many challenges. Nigeria, by contrast,has shuttled from one political system to another without registering significantincreases in the operational capacity of its institutions. As the nation enters anotherperiod of electoral competition, against the backdrop of high social tensions, waysmust be found to prevent further damage to the fragile political and economicinfrastructures of the federation. This is obviously a task to which Nigerian civic,business and religious organisations can contribute enormously. The revolutionary transformation of governance in Africa must be directedfrom within the continent, within Africa’s communities, schools, businesses, andresearch institutes. It must also involve the active participation of Africa’s manysons and daughters who have honed their skills in overseas institutions. I lookforward to being a partner in this momentous endeavour. I was recently appointedDirector of the Program of African Studies of Northwestern University. This is theoldest program of its kind in the United States, established in 1948. Northwestern’sMelville J. Herskovits Africana library, created in 1954, is the largest separatelibrary devoted to the study of Africa in the world. Under the leadership of Dr.Henry Bienen, President of Northwestern and a distinguished student of Africanpolitics, there is a unique opportunity to extend this legacy of service to Africa andAfrican peoples worldwide. In a report published earlier this year, I proposed thecreation of ‘Smart Partnerships for African Development’. This program willencourage a significant increase in the resources available to African institutionsthrough long-term partnerships with universities such as Northwestern and otherorganisations. Twenty-five years ago, I wrote my first article on Nigeria’s political economy:‘Affluence and Underdevelopment: The Nigerian Experience.’ In 2015, whenNigeria has surpassed the Millennium Development Goals, perhaps a sequel will bewritten entitled ‘Affluence and Development: The Nigerian Experience’. In just afew decades, we have seen the phenomenal growth of China and the steady ad-vance of India, two countries whose size and social complexity exceed those ofNigeria. With the hundreds of billions of dollars that Nigeria has earned frompetroleum export over the past three decades, this country should now be establish-ing its own Millennium Challenge Account for the benefit of Nigerians as well asAfrican peoples worldwide. I believe that this vision can be realized. It must berealized. We must make it happen.
  • 13. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 13ReferencesAndreski, S. 1968. The African Predicament: A Study in the Pathology of Moderni- sation. London: Michael Joseph.Englebert, P. 2000. State Legitimacy and Development in Africa. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.Joseph, R. 1987. Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria: The Rise and Fall of the Second Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Van de Walle, N. 2001. African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, 1979-1999. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 14. 14
  • 15. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 37-51. © CDD 2003 THE PROMISE OF CONSTITUTIONALISM AND THE CHALLENGE OF MILITARISM: CONSTRAINTS AND POSSIBILITIES OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA By Bonny Ibhawoh1 French Summary ‘La promesse du constitutionalisme et le défi du militarisme : les contraintes et les oppor- tunités pour les mouvements des droits de l’homme au Nigeria.’Trois époques principales sont identifiables dans l’évaluation des droits de l’homme auNigeria. En premier lieu, la lutte conte la domination coloniale ; deuxièmement,l’émergence d’une idéologie libertine qui marqua la période de l’indépendance et en fin, laformation des organisations non-gouvernementales face à l’échec des états au lendemaindes indépendances. Dans chaque époque, les mouvements des droits de l’homme ontincarné les défis particuliers de chaque gouvernement. Néanmoins, au Nigeria comme dansle reste du continent africain, ces mouvements ont été atteints par des crises de légitimité etde bienséance. Quels ont été les succès et les restrictions des mouvements des droits del’homme pendant les différentes étapes de l’évolution politique au Nigeria et comment ont-elles fait face aux dynamiques du colonialisme, du constitutionalisme et du militarisme ?Les mouvements de droits de l’homme au Nigeria, sont - ils viables par rapport aux réalitéssocio-politiques du pays ? Cette thèse essaie d’examiner ces questions. Le nationalisme nigérian et les divisions régionales et ethniques qu’elle engendre ontété en soi une lutte pour l’égalité et les droits de l’homme. Les deux guerres mondiales etles idéologies égalitaires qui ont surgie à l’époque ont eu des réverbérations au Nigeria, oùdes associations politiques ont demandé l’abolition de la discrimination raciale dansl’administration coloniale britannique et la reforme du système judiciaire. Pour les peuplesafricains, la publication de ‘l’atlantic charter’, dans une certaine mesure le précurseur dela Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme en 1933, avait renforcé l’idée que tout lemonde a le droit de choisir son gouvernement, même si, selon Churchill et Roosevelt, cetteloi ne s’appliquait qu’aux peuples Occidentaux. Cependant, au moment même où lesmouvements des droits de l’homme déclaraient leurs aspirations pour l’indépendance, ilsfaisaient face à une crise de légitimité. Tout d’abord, la classe politique qui était composéd’une minorité ‘évoluée’ et urbaine bénéficiait de peu de soutient au niveau du peuple. Parailleurs, cette classe élite avait une idéologie conservatrice qui était le reflet del’impérialisme britannique et qui alors ne signifiait pas une transformation fondamentalede la condition du peuple en général. L’échec de cette première génération de nationalistespourrait donc être attribué à ce conservatisme et a cet attachement psychologique ausystème gouvernemental britannique.1 Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Asheville, USA andLecturer in International Studies, Edo State University, Nigeria. Former visiting research fellow at the DanishCentre for Human Rights, Copenhagen and Human Rights Fellow at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and Interna-tional Affairs, New York. The author is grateful to the Carnegie Council for providing part of the funding for thisresearch.
  • 16. 16 Bonny Ibhawoh Bien que l’indépendance était le premier pas vers une garantie constitutionnelle pourles droits fondamentaux des Nigérians, l’élitisme du nouveau gouvernement indépendants’assurait que le peuple restait soumis. Comme son prédécesseur colonial, le gouvernementde la période post - indépendance utilisait une législation coercitive et répressive pourmaintenir le contrôle politique. En 1962, les abus des droits de l’homme avaient augmentélorsque l’état donna des pouvoirs illimités aux agents de sécurité et à la police. Tout aulong de la première république, il n’existait aucune organisation cohérente qui plaidaitpour les droits de l’homme. L’activisme des ONGs que plus tard incarnaient les mouve-ments des droits de l’homme n’ont vu le jour qu’aux années 80, quand la dictature militairedevenait de plus en plus répressive. En 1966, le Nigeria avait connu son premier coupd’état. Le nouveau leader militaire, Général Ironsi, avait promis un retour a l’égalité etaux droits de l’homme, mais cela n’avait pas duré. Jusqu’en 1979, les coups d’états succes-sifs qui avaient suivi le régime d’Ironsi s’assuraient que la question des droits de l’hommeserait reléguée à l’arrière plan et ne faisaient même plus partie de la rhétorique politique.Mais en 1979, le rétablissement de l’autorité démocratique civil après dix ans de dictaturemilitaire avait introduit une nouvelle période de constitutionalisme au Nigeria. L’activismedu judiciaire pendant la deuxième république avait abouti à des progrès substantiels pourles droits de l’homme. Mais en 1983, le retour du pouvoir militaire de Buhari avait effacéles progrès acquis sous le régime précédent. Des lois répressives et arbitraires avaient étére-introduites en contravention des droits fondamentaux prévus dans la constitution de1979. C’était en réaction à cette situation de répression que le coup d’état militaire deBabanguida avait eu lieu en 1985. En promettant de restaurer les droits de tous les Nigé-rians, Babanguida s’assurait une légitimité immédiate. Désormais, les reformes économiques instituées par son gouvernement sous instruc-tion de la Banque Mondial et du FMI avaient provoqué une grande opposition. Le régimede Babanguida avait eu recours à l’oppression de toute opposition et avait interdit laliberté des médias et des syndicats populaires. Les lois répressives du régime précédant deBuhari avaient été re-instaurées et même intensifiées. Néanmoins, le développement,accompagné de la résurgence des notions des droits de l’homme après la guerre froidedans l’agenda politique international, avait abouti à une période sans précédentd’activisme en faveur des droits de l’homme. Entre 1987-1989, plusieurs organisations desdroits de l’homme avaient vu le jour et en 1992, pendant la dictature de Sani Abacha, ellesavaient mis sur pied une coalition sous l’égide du CD (Campaign for Democracy). Le CDavait fourni une plate-forme pour qu’un front uni puisse être le porte-parole de tous cesmouvements. En outre, pour la première fois dans l’histoire du pays, le CD avait mis aupoint un programme cohérent et collectif pour les mouvements des droits de l’homme auNigeria. Néanmoins, les organisations des droits de l’homme en Afrique font face à deux pro-blèmes sérieux – le manque de légitimité et de bienséance. Cela est dû au fait que la plu-part des organisations des droits de l’homme ont des fortes alliances politiques et ne sesoucient pas autant aux questions pressantes d’ordre économique, social et culturel quisont importants dans ces pays appauvris. De plus, la plupart de ces organisations man-quent du soutient des communautés à la base. Elles sont souvent financées par des fonda-teurs ou ONG étrangers. Cette dépendance de l’Occident limite l’indépendance de leursinitiatives et implique une relation neo-imperialiste donnant lieu à la suspicion. Par exem-ple, beaucoup d’ONG nigériennes ont façonné leurs programmes de manière à ce qu’ilscoïncident avec ceux des agences donatrices afin de garantir le flux de l’argent frais. Lesrégimes militaires au Nigeria ont utilisé cette dépendance pour accuser les mouvements desdroits de l’homme d’être des pro-imperialistes. Les mouvements des droits de l’hommeexpliquent qu’il n’y pas de ressources locales adéquates pour financer leurs projets. Enréalité, ils n’en ont pas cherché et il y a une dépendance complaisante de l’Occident. Desorganisations de base ont pu pendant longtemps mobilisé le peuple sans soutient externe et
  • 17. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 17il n’y a aucune raison pour que les mouvements des droits de l’homme ne puissent exploreret adopter cette tradition. Un troisième problème découle du fait que peu d’organisationsdes droits de l’homme centrent leur travail dans des zones rurales, alors qu’elles sontsouvent accusées d’élitistes. Un mouvement viable des droits de l’homme ne peut pas êtrecréé si cet éloignement des vrais sources des abus des droits de l’homme persiste. Il n’y adonc aucun avenir pour les mouvements des droits de l’homme s’ils ne bénéficient pas dusoutien idéologique et financier local. Leurs objectifs et leurs aspirations doivent refléterles besoins et les perspectives du peuple. Pour s’assurer de la légitimité et de la bienséan-ce, les mouvements des droits de l’homme au Nigeria et dans toute l’Afrique doivents’évertuer à éviter les pièges des premiers mouvements nationalistes. Leurs projets doiventêtre en accord avec les besoins populaires en abordant non pas seulement les abus visiblescomme la censure de la presse, mais aussi les questions moins visibles, comme la pauvreté,les inégalités basées sur le sexe, et le sous-développement qui continue à violer les droitsde l’homme et les libertés de la majorité des pauvres dans le monde rural. ______________________IntroductionThree significant epochs can be identified in the evolution of the human rightsmovement in Nigeria. The first was hinged on the fight against colonialism andspecifically, the agitation against the abrogation of the right to self-determinationand other civil and economic rights by the British colonialists. Although not oftenrealised, the anti-colonial struggle in Nigeria, as elsewhere in Africa, was also averitable human rights movement though one with an overriding nationalist politi-cal agenda (Mutua 1999). The second epoch in the development of the humanrights movement in Nigeria grew out of the promise of democracy and constitu-tionalism which independence ushered. It reflected the nation-building aspirationsof the emergent political elite and its idealism towards forging the structures of thenew state. The third epoch, characterised by NGO activism, was a response to thefailure of these aspirations; the structural inadequacies of the post-colonial state;the break down of constitutional rule and the authoritarianism and repression thatsubsequently became associated with military dictatorship in the country. In each of these epochs, the human rights movement has reflected the peculiarchallenges that have confronted the state, as well as the changing goals and aspira-tions of each phase of the movement. In each epoch, the human rights movement inNigeria has also been faced with crucial questions of relevance and legitimacy. Inthe anti-colonialist struggle, the elitist, and sometimes ethnic character of thenationalist movement raised questions regarding its relevance and cast doubts overthe legitimacy of its rights agenda. In the post-independence dispensation, similarquestions have been raised bordering on viability, independence, and the level ofdomestic support which human rights NGOs command. This paper addresses some of these questions. In comparing the differentphases of the human rights movement in Nigeria, it examines the successes, tra-vails and constraints of the human rights movement as it has evolved in Nigeria. Itexplores the ways in which the movement has contended with the dynamics ofcolonialism, constitutionalism and militarism in the nation’s political development.
  • 18. 18 Bonny IbhawohOverall, it seeks to broadly evaluate the relevance, viability and legitimacy of thehuman rights movement in Nigeria within the context of changing socio-politicalrealities.The Nationalist AntecedentsAlthough the emergence of Nigerian nationalism predated the establishment ofeffective British rule over the whole country, it was the amalgamation of Northernand Southern Nigeria into a single colonial administrative unit by the British auth-orities in 1914, which created a common consciousness as the basis of the newstate.2 The development of a common nationalist consciousness was informedprimarily by the desire of local peoples for self-rule and freedom from foreigncontrol; the quest for an end to racial intolerance and discrimination, and the de-mand for the opening up of opportunities for Nigerians in the colonial economyand administrative machinery. These were issues that affected all Nigerians irre-spective of their ethnic origins and social status. The nationalist organisations,which emerged to address these issues, were therefore established with the mainpurpose of mobilising, not just a particular class or group, but the entire populationof Nigeria against what was perceived as oppressive British colonial rule. To dothis effectively, a broad agenda, which addressed the issue of the rights and liber-ties of local people, had to be canvassed alongside the more political campaign forindependence. Thus, the nationalist movement, at least in conception, had anostensible human rights agenda, although the more visible demand for independ-ence and self-rule tended to obscure other salient aspirations of the movement. In articulating their anti-colonial agenda, the urban-based African elites whochampioned the nationalist movement drew extensively on the language and idealsof the emerging international human rights movement. Central to this developmentwas the impact of the First World War allied propaganda that stressed the principleof self-determination and which in turn, provided the basis of the peace settlement,became a rallying point for the nationalist movement. This led to the developmentof some of the earliest political organisations such as the National Congress ofBritish West Africa (NCBWA). The NCBWA had as one of its demands, ‘theabolition of racial discrimination in social life’ and the separation of the executivefrom the judiciary to allow for more efficient administration of justice. Similarly,the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), which succeeded the NCBWA, advocated,among other things, universal adult suffrage, the protection of Nigerians againstunequal economic competition, the provision of better conditions of service and areformation of colonial judicial and administrative structures. On its part, theNigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) which was to emerge as the mostinfluential nationalist group in the inter war period, campaigned for ‘the equal andfair treatment of the native population’ (Coleman 1986: 198). These rights based demands led to some reforms in the colonial judicial sys-2 It is recognised that long before the formal imposition of colonial rule at the beginning of the 19th century,certain forces and conditions favouring the emergence of nationalist ideas were already at work. For instance, theSokoto Jihad had led to the establishment of a Caliphate, which included much of what later became NorthernNigeria. By bringing together such a large area under one single political unit, the Jihad paved the way for theemergence of a greater Nigeria. See G.O. Olusanya, ‘The Nationalist Movement in Nigeria’ in Obaro Ikime (ed.),Groundwork of Nigerian History, Ibadan, 1980, p. 545.
  • 19. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 19tem in 1933. Central to these reforms was the extension of the principle of appealunder the colonial judicial system. This provided Nigerians with the right of appealagainst the decisions of the native courts – a right which hitherto was not grantedthe colonial subject.3 New high courts were created throughout the protectorate toreplace the existing native and provincial courts. The colonial high courts andmagistrate courts were also opened to legal practitioners who had previously beenbarred from appearing in these courts to represent their Nigerian clients. In additionto these, the West African Court of Appeal Ordinance was introduced in 1933,conferring the right to appeal in both criminal and civil cases heard by the SupremeCourt and the High Court, on the West African Court of Appeal. By these reforms,the wide and unchecked judicial powers hitherto enjoyed by colonial administrativeofficers were significantly curtailed. The 1933 judicial reforms, and particularly, the extension of the principle oflegal appeal, marked a significant development in the conditions of individual legalrights and liberties in the colonial era. It opened for the first time to Nigerians,regular legal avenues for the review of colonial administrative and judicial action.For the Nigerian elites in the nationalist movement and the press who had relent-lessly criticised the old colonial legal system for its inadequacies in protecting therights and liberties of the people, these reforms were welcome developments.Commenting on the reforms for instance, the Daily Times in an editorial, remarkedthat ‘the changes in the judicial system in Nigeria may be regarded as the greatcharter of liberty for the native peoples of this country, comparable to the MontaguReforms in India.’4 The Second World War served to strengthen the rights agenda of the nation-alist movement. As with the First World War, allied propaganda that the war wasbeing waged to preserve democracy and the right of the people to self-determination lent justification to the nationalist cause. The argument that colonialsubjects in Africa also had the right to determine their own political and economicdestinies began to feature prominently in nationalist discourse. Of particular rel-evance in this regard was the publication of the Atlantic Charter, (in many re-spects, the precursor to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and the sub-sequent public discussion that centred on its famous third clause which affirmed‘the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they willlive.’ In Nigeria and the rest of the colonised world, this affirmation of the AtlanticCharter greatly excited the hopes of nationalists. Prime Minister Churchill’s sub-sequent qualifications – that he and President Roosevelt had only European statesin mind; that the ‘Atlantic Charter is a guide not a rule’ and that he had not becomeprime minister to preside over the liquidation of the British empire – did little todampen the aspirations towards the rights of the colonised which the charter hadaroused (Coleman 1986: 232). If anything, Churchill’s rejection of the suggestion that the charter covered co-lonial peoples, served only to intensify nationalist indignation with colonial rule.Within the nationalist movement in Nigeria, his remarks were interpreted not only3 Section 25(1) of the proposed bill provided that any person aggrieved by the order or decision of a native court offirst instance may within 30 days of the date of such an order or decision appeal to native court of appeal or to thecourt of a magistrate.4 Daily Times, March 8, 1933.
  • 20. 20 Bonny Ibhawohas a betrayal of promise but also as a reaffirmation of imperialism and of the ‘whiteman’s burden’ concept of empire, at a time when world opinion was rapidly shift-ing towards a recognition of the universal right of people to self-determination.Arguments were subsequently made by leaders of the Nationalist movement likeNnamdi Azikiwe on the need for the movement to ‘prepare our own blueprint [ofrights] ourselves, instead of relying on others who are too busy preparing theirown’ (Azikiwe 1948: 72). In the Freedom Charter which was subsequently ad-opted in 1948, one of the early political organisations, the National Congress ofNigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC),5 cited Article 3 of the Atlantic Charter as thebasis of its campaign for self-government, proclaiming that the ‘tribes, nations andPeoples of Nigeria and the Cameroons (...) undertake, as of right, to arrogate tothemselves the status of an independent self-governing political community.’6Although this was not seriously intended to be an immediately operative declara-tion of independence, it expressed the aspiration towards a new rights agendawithin the nationalist movement. In spite of its successes in articulating a political framework for independenceand the promise of preparing its own ‘blueprint of rights’, the early nationalistmovement in Nigeria was beset with fundamental problems of relevance andlegitimacy that were to hinder the realisation of these aspirations. Two of theseproblems can be readily identified. The first derived from the elitist and conserva-tive character of the movement, or more appropriately, the leadership of themovement. Many of the early nationalist organisations lacked grassroots support.They were often urban-based (mainly in Lagos) and dominated by an emergentclass of educated African elites whose visions and aspirations did not alwaysreflect those of the vast majority of rural folks across the country. For instance, inspite of its claim to being ‘Nigerian’ and ‘national’, the Nigerian National Demo-cratic Party formed in 1923, remained throughout its history an exclusively Lagosorganisation.7 Its leaders, such as Herbert Macaulay, H.O. Davis, Nnamdi Azikiwe,Ernest Ikoli, and Kofo Abayomi, although committed nationalists, also representeda nascent group of urban-based and status-conscious educated political elites. The second point has to do with the conservative agenda of the nationalistmovement. The nationalist organisations – at least before the Second World War –did not seek to fundamentally challenge or change the structure of the colonialsystem. Many of the principal actors in the early nationalist movement were con-tent with reforming the colonial system to accommodate the immediate interests ofthe local elites. As C.O. Olusanya has argued, the first generation of Nigeriannationalists was essentially conservative in their approach. They did not questionthe goal of British policy in Nigeria per se, but only with specific policies andactions of the colonial administration. One of the aims of the Nigerian YouthMovement (NYM) for instance, was to maintain, even in its quest for colonialreforms, an attitude of ‘unswerving loyalty to His Majesty the King Emperor’(Olusanya 1980: 558). It has been suggested that rather than being seen as a limitation of individual5 Later to be known as the National Congress of Nigerian Citizens.6 My emphasis.7 Abortive attempts were made to establish branches of the NNDP in Abeokuta, Ibadan, and Kano in NorthernNigeria.
  • 21. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 21actors in the nationalist movement, the conservatism and passionate attachment toBritish rule which characterised the movement, was essentially a limitation whichall members of that generation possessed. Their ‘failure’ reflects ‘the failure oftheir time’.8 While this argument may explain and rationalise individual roles in themovement, it is important to note that this failure of the early nationalist movementwas a significant constraint on its ability to articulate a relevant and coherenthuman rights agenda that addressed the salient political and socio-economic issuesof the day. The NYM for instance, had by the mid-thirties begun to lose its rel-evance and popularity partly because it did not seem to react adequately to the newand pressing questions of the period, particularly the problem posed by the eco-nomic depression of the thirties. It is significant that apart from the broad demands for political and judicial re-forms of the colonial administrative structure, there were no specific demands forthe institution of a bill of rights or charter of liberties among the constitutionalreforms demanded by the nationalists. Indeed, it is ironic that the first concreteinitiative in the direction of instituting constitutionally guaranteed rights in Nigeria,came, not from the nationalist movement, but from an administrative commissionof inquiry set up by the colonial authorities on the eve of independence in 1957. The Willink Minorities Commission was set up to investigate the expressedfears of political and economic marginalisation of the minority communities inNigeria and advise the government as to what constitutional safeguards could beprovided for them. If no effective remedy could be found, the commission wasfurther mandated to consider the possibility of creating one or more states to as-suage the anxieties of the minorities.9 In the event, the commission rejected theidea of creating more states and recommended instead, the inclusion of a bill ofrights in the independence constitution. The Commission however did not pretendthat the inclusion of a bill of rights would solve the problem of minorities in re-spect of their fears of repression but it stated that the bill should be inserted be-cause ‘their presence defines beliefs, widespread among democratic countries andprovides a standard to which appeal may be made by those whose rights are in-fringed.’10Independence and the Promise of ConstitutionalismOne significant aspect of the post-independence political dispensation in Nigeriawas the formal introduction of guaranteed rights into the constitution. The bill ofrights included in the independence constitution of 1960 was based partly on theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights, partly on applicable English common lawprinciples inherited from the colonial legal system and partly on the recommenda-tions of the Willink Commission which recommended its inclusion in the constitu-tion (Aguda 1989: 117). Although political independence offered the first concrete step in the directionof the constitutional guarantees of fundamental rights and freedoms in Nigeria,there remained significant limitations on the protection of these constitutional8 Ibid.9 Minority Commission Report. Cmd. 505, p.97.10 Ibid.
  • 22. 22 Bonny Ibhawohrights in the new political dispensation. The new political leadership manifested thesame elitism and conservative character of the nationalist movement. Many restric-tive colonial laws and policies which limited the rights and liberties of the people,and against which the Nigerian political elites who championed the nationalistmovement had vigorously campaigned under the colonial dispensation, wereretained by the new regime. Some of these laws were the Official Secret Act of1962 and the Sedition Offences Act, which became a convenient tool with whichthe ruling regime sought to suppress opposition and dissent. In one famous instance, a prominent nationalist politician and renowned math-ematician, Chike Obi, was charged for publishing a pamphlet in which he criticisedthe corruption and intolerance of the ruling government of Abubakar TafawaBalewa.11 He was promptly arrested, tried, and convicted for sedition. His appealon the grounds that his fundamental rights to freedom of expression as enshrined inthe Nigerian constitution had been violated by the conviction, was dismissed by theChief Justice who ruled that the conviction ‘was reasonably justifiable in a demo-cratic society.’12 It was, however, the political crisis that engulfed parts of the country in 1962,which raised the most serious human rights concerns after independence. Specifi-cally, the state of emergency declared in the Western Region in 1962 following apolitical crisis, triggered a spate of human rights violations in the post-indepen-dence era. A minority government, in spite of public protestations, sat tight inpower sustaining its hold by widespread rigging of elections, the intimidation ofpolitical opponents, and the harassment of the press and the judiciary. As reminis-cent of colonial rule, coercive and repressive legislation were widely employed tosustain political control. Laws like the Emergency Powers (General) Regulations,the Emergency Powers (Requisition) Regulations and the Emergency Powers(Protected Places) Regulations of 1962, gave the police and other security agentsunlimited powers to summarily arrest and detain persons who were consideredthreats to public order and security. Thus, the inauguration of democratic constitutional rule and an indigenous rep-resentative government at independence did not necessarily usher in the anticipatedadvances in the general conditions of individual rights and liberties in the country.It is also significant that in spite of state violation of the human rights guarantees inthe Independence Constitution during the First Republic, there were no significantefforts at NGO campaign and advocacy against government’s excesses on a humanrights platform. This kind of NGO activism that was to later characterise the humanrights movement did not emerge until the worst period of military dictatorship inthe 1980s. Indeed, apart for the role of the radical students union movement under theauspices of the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS), the trade unionmovement, and the isolated individual efforts of some social critics, there was no11 What Chike Obi actually wrote in the offending booklet titled The People: Facts You Must Know, was actuallyno more than an innocuous tirade against the government. He has written among other things, ‘Down withenemies of the people, exploiters of the weak and oppressors of the poor (…) The days of those who have enrichedthemselves at the expense of the poor are numbered. The common man in Nigeria can today no longer be fooledby sweet talk at election time only to be exploited and treated like dirt after the booty office had been sharedamong the politicians.’ See DPP vs. Chike Obi (1961) 1 All Nigeria Law Report (ANLR), 186.12 Ibid.
  • 23. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 23coherent articulation at an organisational level, of a popular agenda for humanrights advocacy during the First Republic. One explanation for this may be that theNigerian elite as successors to the colonial throne were more preoccupied with thequest for political and economic ascendancy and less interested in raising criticalvoices over issues of rights, which went beyond their quest for dominance. Thismay also explain the development of vibrant political opposition parties like theAction Group, under the charismatic leadership of Obafemi Awolowo; the emer-gence of a radical trade union movement; the growth of influential professionalorganisations such as the Nigerian Bar Association and the Nigerian MedicalAssociation, but not a rights-based advocacy movement.The Challenge of MilitarismIn 1966, Nigeria witnessed its first military coup d’état. There was widespreadrelief with the military takeover of power and the overthrow of Nigeria’s crisis-ridden first republic. For one, the new military regime pledged a commitment topromoting fundamental rights and freedoms and as a demonstration of this, the newmilitary ruler General Aguyi Ironsi, within a few days of assuming office promul-gated the Circulation of Newspaper Decree. By the provisions of the decree, thevarious laws banning certain ‘opposition’ newspapers, which were enacted by theprevious civilian regime, were repealed and punishment was prescribed for inter-fering with the distribution and sale of any newspaper in Nigeria (Ojo 1987: 249). In spite of its initial pledge to guarantee fundamental rights however, the auth-oritarian and arbitrary character of the military regime was to have profound effectson the conditions of rights and liberties in the country, particularly with thecounter-coup of July 1966, which brought General Yakubu Gowan to power. Soonafter the first military intervention, a Constitution (Suspension and Modification)Decree, which effectively abrogated constitutional rule in the country, was prom-ulgated. With this decree, much of the powers separated under the preceding de-mocratic constitutional dispensation between the various arms of government – thelegislature, the judiciary and the executive – were vested in one body of militaryofficers known as the Supreme Military Council, headed by the military head ofstate. Even with these developments, it was generally assumed that the fundamentalconstitutional principles, on which the nation was founded at independence, werestill operative. The first major test of this assumption came in a case in which acitizen challenged as unconstitutional, the Forfeiture of Assets Validation Decreemade by the military regime in 1968. After the case had dragged on in the lowercourts, the Supreme Court in a landmark decision annulled the decree. The courtruled that by making a law, which arrogated to it, absolute powers to confiscateprivate property, the military regime had engaged in an act of ‘legislative judg-ment’ which was contrary to the principle of fair hearing. Barely two weeks after this ruling was made in 1970, the Supreme MilitaryCouncil sought to counter it by issuing the Federal Military Government (Sup-remacy and Enforcement of Powers) Decree No. 28 of 1970. The new decreeasserted the absolute supremacy of military decrees over any other laws or judicialdecisions in the country’s legal system. The decree stated that the military ‘revolu-
  • 24. 24 Bonny Ibhawohtion’, which took place in 1966, abrogated the whole pre-existing constitutionalorder in Nigeria with the exception of what had been preserved by the militaryregime under the Constitution (Suspension and Modification) Decree of 1966. Itadded that ‘each military revolution involved an abrupt political change which [is]not within the contemplation of the constitution of the federation.’13 In effect, thedecree declared null and void, any decisions made by the courts in exercise of anypowers under the constitution, which challenged the validity of a decree of themilitary regime. Thus, the military regime having suspended the constitution, chosewhat to obey of what was left, and made what was left of the constitution subject todecrees issued subsequently (Ajomo and Okagbue 1991). This decree effectivelyushered in a super-state under the military. The outbreak of the Nigerian civil war in 1968 provided further excuse for theintroduction of more repressive laws by the military regime. The rights to fairhearing, free movement and personal liberty hitherto guaranteed in the operationalparts of the ‘suspended and modified’ constitution were now further limited bysuch war-time laws as the Armed Forces and Police (Special Powers) Decree14which conferred special powers on the Inspector General of Police or the Chief ofStaff of the Armed Forces to detain any person, if satisfied that such a person ‘is orrecently has been concerned in acts prejudicial to public order.’15 The decree alsoconferred special powers on the police or members of the Armed Forces to arrestany person without warrant or to enter any premises, search and seize prohibitedgoods such as explosives, ammunition and firearms. In practice, these laws becamegrounds for widespread arbitrary arrests and detentions. Throughout this phase of military dictatorship between 1966 and 1979, therewere no significant organisational platforms for the articulation of the salienthuman rights issues of the period. The nationalist groups which had advancedhuman rights causes in the colonial era and which developed into political partiesat independence, were all proscribed with the military intervention of 1966. Humanrights activism was therefore limited to the individual efforts of a few social criticslike the radical lawyer Gani Fawehimi; the musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti; WoleSoyinka, a university professor; Olu Onagoruwa, a constitutional lawyer, and TaiSolarin, a school teacher. Even then, their efforts were presented and perceivedmore as issues of social justice rather than human rights issues per se. For instance,in 1972, when a journalist was publicly assaulted and brutalised on the orders of amilitary governor, it was left to vocal advocates of social justice like Gani Fawe-hinmi to champion the case and to do their best to defend other citizens so slightedby military power.16 In another prominent incident, soldiers attacked and assaulted the popular mu-sician, Fela Kuti and burnt down his residence, after he had released a song that13 Quoted in Kayode Eso, ‘Nigerian Grundnorm’, Idigbe Memorial Lecture, (Lagos, 1986).14 Ibid.15 See Chapter 62, Sections 166, 167, 218(1)(2), 219(1) and (2), for example.16 The journalist, Minere Amakiri, reportedly had his hair shaved with broken bottles and given 24 strokes of thecane on his bare back in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, for writing a story that was considered unpleasant to the stategovernor, Alfred Diette-Spiff. Amakiri had reported in his newspaper that teachers in Rivers State had contem-plated resigning en masse in protest against their poor conditions of service. His offence in so publishing was thatthe report of the proposed teachers’ strike was put out on the Military Governor’s birthday. The case eventuallywent to court and the journalist was awarded punitive damages against the Military Governor’s ADC. See the caseof Amakiri vs. Iwowari, 1972 (unreported).
  • 25. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 25ridiculed Nigerian soldiers as mindless zombies. Although it was common know-ledge that the attack was ordered by top officers in the military, a commission ofenquiry set up to investigate the incident concluded that the assault had been car-ried out by ‘unknown soldiers’. Eventually, no redress was offered to the musicianwhose property was subsequently forcibly acquired by the government. In spite ofthe unprecedented and extensive public outcry which this and similar incidents ofhuman rights violation generated, active condemnation and opposition to the gov-ernment – on the human rights front – took no organised form and were limited tothe individual efforts of a few social critics and uncoordinated public protestations.Human Rights in the Second RepublicThe re-establishment of democratic civilian rule in October 1979 after a decade ofmilitary dictatorship ushered in a new era of constitutionalism in Nigerian. As inthe First Republic, the hand over of power by the military regime under the newdemocratic dispensation was backed by a presidential constitution, which restoredfull constitutional rule and made elaborate constitutional provisions for the protec-tion of fundamental human rights. One of the unique features of the human rights provisions of the 1979 constitu-tion however, was that unlike the Independence Constitution of 1960 and therepublican version of 1963, the language appeared much more positive, therebygiving the impression of a ‘bill of rights’ rather than a ‘bill of exceptions’. Forinstance, where the independence constitution provided that ‘No person shall bedeprived intentionally of his life...,’17 the 1979 constitution positively affirms that‘Every person has a right to life.’18 Another feature of the fundamental humanrights provisions in the 1979 constitution was that its provisions were more com-prehensive, especially those relating to the scope of individual liberties. The inclu-sion of the right to legal aid was also innovative although in practice, the constitu-tional provision for legal aid did little in actually redressing the problems associ-ated with the administration of justice in the country (Nwankwo et al. 1996). What marked the most significant advance recorded in human rights promo-tion and the rule of law during this era of constitutional rule was the activism of theNigerian judiciary. The judiciary was particularly active in protecting both theabsolute and qualified rights guaranteed in the 1979 Constitution. In various land-mark judicial decisions, the courts upheld the sanctity of the constitutional protec-tion of fundamental human rights. Notable among such decisions was the cele-brated case of the malicious and politically motivated deportation of a legislator inthe Borno State House of Assembly, Shugaba Abdulrahman Darman. In that case,Shugaba Darman, a member of an opposition political party, was summarily de-ported from the country by the ruling government on the allegation that he was nota Nigerian. It was subsequently ruled by the court that the summary deportationconstituted a violation of the right to fair hearing, even if, as it was alleged, theperson involved was a security risk to the state.17 Section 18[1] of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1963.18 Section 32[1] of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979.
  • 26. 26 Bonny Ibhawoh Another example of the judicial activism which characterised the human rightscondition in the country during this period was the case of Tony Momoh vs. Senateof the National Assembly in which the applicant, an editor of the Daily Times,published a story in the newspaper about national legislators ‘begging’ for gov-ernment contracts. The aggrieved senators subsequently passed a resolution invit-ing the applicant to give details of the impropriety alleged in the newspaper article.The applicant sought an order of the court to restrain the senate from compellinghim to appear and disclose his source of information on the grounds that it wouldconstitute a breach of the guarantees of freedom of expression and the press underthe constitution. In its judgement, the court held that a newspaper editor is protected and enjoysthe immunity of non-disclosure of the source of his information, particularly ifpublic interest so demands. The Court took the view that the Constitution protectsany medium for the dissemination of information, ideas, and opinion and that thiswould include a newspaper publications. Any attempt to force a person such as theapplicant (Tony Momoh) who disseminates through the medium of a newspaper, todisclose the source of his information, apparently given in confidence, would be aninterference with the freedom of expression granted by the 1979 Constitution.19 Comparatively therefore, the Second Republic, at least in terms of the role ofthe judiciary, ushered in significant advances in the conditions of human rights inthe country. The ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN) often prided itself on thefact that throughout the four-year term of the Shehu Shagari-led NPN government,there were no political prisoners or ‘prisoners of conscience’ in the country – arecord which, it was further claimed, was matched by few African countries. Thesegains in human rights were to mark a sharp contrast with subsequent politicaldevelopments in the country following the re-intervention of the military in 1983.Return to MilitarismThe military coup which toppled the Second Republic was a direct affront onconstitutional rule. The military takeover of government contravened the expressprovisions of Section 1(2) of the 1979 constitution which provided that ‘the FederalRepublic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or group of personstake control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordancewith the provisions of this constitution.20 On the face of it therefore, the 1983 coupwas a violation of the constitution, although it has been argued by several apolo-gists of military rule that the coup d’etat of 1983 was in many respects, redemptive.It is suggested that the corruption and mismanagement of national resources thatcharacterised the Second Republic, threatened the stability of the country and madethe military intervention of 1983 timely and inevitable (Oyovbaire and Olagunju1992: 10). In specific relation to human rights, the return of the military to governancemarked a new phase in the human rights situation in Nigeria. By the Constitution(Suspension and Modification) Decree No. 1 of 1984, some fundamental rights19 See Tony Momoh vs. Senate of the National Assembly, (1981) 1 Nigeria Constitutional Law Report (NCLR), p.105.20 See Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979.
  • 27. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 27guaranteed in the 1979 presidential constitution were either suspended or modified.For instance, the restricted definition of ‘period of emergency’ in section 41 of thebill of rights dealing with restrictions on and derogation from fundamental rightswas suspended. Left intact though were the constitutional guarantees of such basicrights as the right to life, the right to dignity of the human person, and the right tofreedom of thought, conscience and religion. In pursuit of its declared agenda of ‘sanitizing the nation’, the military regimeled by Muhammadu Buhari, further introduced such repressive laws as the StateSecurity (Detention of Persons) Decree No. 2 and the Recovery of Public Property(Special Military Tribunals) Decree No 3 which established special tribunals forthe trial of former public officers suspected of wrong doing. The wide and arbitraryuse of these decrees and tribunals by the military regime spelt adverse implicationsfor human rights conditions in Nigeria in the period between 1983 and 1985 – aperiod which saw the complete militarisation of national administration. The mili-tary regime showed preference for the use of ad hoc tribunals, rather than theregular courts, for trying a large number of offences created by its decrees. ThePublic Officers (Protection against False Accusation) Decree,21 The ExchangeControl (Anti Sabotage) Decree,22 and The Robbery and Firearms (Special Provi-sions) Decree,23 all provided for the trial of offences created by them, by tribunalsspecially created for the purpose. The operations of these decrees and tribunals,which were not subject to appeal in the regular courts, constituted a flagrant con-travention of some of the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed in the 1979constitution. By including ‘ouster clauses’ in many of its laws, the military regime barredthe courts from questioning the validity of a federal government decree or stategovernment edict. This also precluded the courts from inquiring into the validity ofadministrative and executive actions done pursuant to such a decree or edict (Alabi1993: 206). For instance, Section 12(6) of the Recovery of Public Property (SpecialMilitary Tribunal) Decree provided categorically that ‘no appeal shall lie from adecision of any tribunal under the decree,’ thus putting a limit on the constitutionalright of appeal to the highest courts of the land. Subsequent decrees issued by the military regime continued to negate the con-stitutional and republican aspirations of the country. One notorious example of thiswas the Public Officers (Protection Against False Accusation) Decree of 1984. Bythe terms of the decree, it became an offence for anybody to publish any statement,whether ‘true or false’, which brings a public officer – meaning any member of themilitary administration – into disrepute. The offence was punishable by two years’imprisonment without option of fine.24 Two journalists were subsequently sen-tenced to jail for contravening this decree over the publication of an apparentlyinnocuous news report about the government’s diplomatic postings. Perhaps the most obnoxious manifestation of human rights abuse through arbi-trary legislation during the Buhari regime came with the enactment of the SpecialTribunal (Miscellaneous Offences) Decree, No. 20 of 1984. Among a battery of21 No. 4 of 1984, Sec. 3.22 No. 7 of 1984, Sec. 4.23 No. 5 of 1984, Sec. 6.24 See Section (1), Public Officers (Protection Against False Publications) Decree No. 4 of 1984.
  • 28. 28 Bonny Ibhawohother offences, the decree made it punishable with death by firing squad, for anyperson without lawful authority to import, export, sell, offer for sale, distribute orotherwise deal with any crude oil or petroleum product in Nigeria.’ The decree alsoprovided for the execution by firing squad, for any person who without lawfulauthority deals in hard drugs. Under this decree, drug related offences attractedretroactive punishment and three drug-related offenders were subsequently publiclyexecuted by firing squad. Expectedly, the wave of public opinion towards these decrees was one of re-sentment and disapproval. In one of the many demonstrations of opposition to thearbitrary use of decrees and tribunals by the Buhari military regime, the NigerianBar Association in 1984 took the official stand to boycott proceedings of the tribu-nal constituted under the Recovery of Public Property (Special Military Tribunal)Decree No. 3 of 1984. The Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC), the Nigerian MedicalAssociation (NMA), and other professional associations also similarly expressedopposition to the use of repressive decrees by the regime. In all, under the Buhari regime, Nigerians found themselves under an authori-tarian military regime whose absolute rulership was unprecedented and left noroom for redress. The arbitrary use of decrees and edicts as state legislative instru-ments under this era of military rule strengthened the combination of absoluteexecutive and legislative powers under which the usurpation of judicial powers wasa matter of course. It was under these tense and repressive circumstances thatanother military coup toppled the Buhari regime in 1985, setting the stage for anew phase of military dictatorship and an era of increased human rights conscious-ness and activism in the country.Structural Adjustment, Military Authoritarianism and HumanRightsOn assuming power after a palace coup in 1985, the new military ruler, IbrahimBabangida, announced that his government would be anchored on respect for thefundamental human rights of all Nigerians. He vowed that he would not presideover a country where individuals are under the fear of expressing themselves andpromised that his government would be open and transparent. As part of the newcrusade for human rights, some of the repressive decrees promulgated by theousted Buhari regime were immediately repealed. One of these was the notoriousDecree No. 4 of 1984, under which two journalists, Nduka Irabor and TundeThompson, had been detained. As a further demonstration of its commitment topromote human rights and the rule of law, the Babangida regime reviewed thecases of several Nigerian politicians who had been convicted by military tribunalsset up by the Buhari regime to investigate their conduct in government (Agbese1994: 147-148). These measures won the Babangida regime instant legitimacy. Rather than thelimitation of the right to free expression, which characterised the preceding Buhariregime, the Babangida government pledged to allow Nigerians to openly debatemajor national and political issues. Within weeks of the coup d’etat which broughthim to power, Babangida inaugurated a nation-wide ‘IMF debate’ as a popularoutlet for discussing in particular, the impasse over Nigeria’s negotiations with the
  • 29. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 29International Monetary Fund over a $2.5 billion loan and in general, the nation’seconomic future. The apparent aim of the debates was to empower the ordinaryNigerian and make him feel a sense of involvement in the governance of the coun-try. The debates, which were extensively conducted in the press and other publicforums, conveyed an unmistakable public antipathy and rejection of IMF andWorld Bank conditionalities. In apparent deference to public opinion, Babangidapublicly repudiated the IMF and declared that Nigeria would, instead, opt for a‘home grown’ solution to her economic difficulties (Olukoshi 1991). However, lessthan a month later, the president unveiled an economic package including thederegulation of the exchange rate, higher agricultural prices, financial liberalisa-tion, and partial privatisation. Although this package was presented as ‘homegrown’, it was actually negotiated with World Bank officials and was premisedupon supplementary finance from the Bank (Mosely 1992). One year later, a fullStructural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was introduced which elaborated andextended earlier adjustment reforms. In 1989, when the full inflationary effect of devaluation and de-subsidisationbecame more evident in the rising cost of living, public restiveness over SAPerupted. ‘SAP riots’ engulfed universities and major cities across the country. Theoverwhelming public opposition to Babangida’s economic reforms was followedby a dramatic change in the declared policy of the regime towards human rights.After the brief period of tolerance and flirtation with respect for human rights, theBabangida regime resorted to overt repression involving extensive police action,the ban of newspapers and popular trade unions, and the arbitrary arrests of per-ceived opponents of the regime’s economic policy, to stem the tide of anti-SAPprotestations. Many of the repressive laws enacted by the Buhari regime which hadearlier been repealed to win the regime some legitimacy, were replaced by new andeven more repressive decrees that provided the regime with even wider powers ofdetention. The notorious Nigerian Security Organization (NSO) which had beenscrapped as part of the regime’s human rights promotion initiative was replaced byan even more obnoxious organisation – the State Security Service (SSS). In its bid to assert control over an increasingly restive and dissatisfied civilpopulation, the Babangida administration, by a special decree in 1986, excised theAcademic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other senior staff associations,from membership of the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC). The regime also bannedstudents’ unions in all institutions of higher learning in Nigeria. The peak of theBabangida regime’s deteriorating human rights record came in 1987 with theproscription of the Newswatch magazine. The regime explained that Newswatchillegally obtained and published the report of the Political Bureau, which was beingstudied by government. As punishment for this ‘illegality’, the magazine wasbanned for six months. A special decree was subsequently promulgated, withretrospective effect, to confer the necessary legality on the ban.25 These developments, coupled with the post-cold war resurgence of humanrights in the international political agenda, led to increased domestic and interna-tional concern for the human rights conditions in the country. The crippling eco-25 Ibid. p. 205.
  • 30. 30 Bonny Ibhawohnomic effects of SAP also lent renewed urgency to human rights awareness. Thesecombined to set the stage for an unprecedented era of human rights awareness andactivism in the county.The Rise of NGO ActivismPopular resistance to adjustment reforms in Nigeria and the unprecedented scopeand intensity of the repression employed by the state to sustain its economic poli-cies, triggered the emergence of a new wave of human rights activism in the coun-try. The period between 1987 and 1989, (when SAP was actively being promotedby the Babangida regime though repression and intimidation of dissenting groups),coincided with the emergence of several human rights organisations such as theCivil Liberties Organization (CLO), the Committee for the Defence of HumanRights (CDHR), and the Constitutional Rights Project (CRP). The first of these organisations was the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO)whose formation was a direct response to the growing incidents of human rightsviolations under the Babangida regime. The main objective of its founders was toestablish an organisation that would hold the government accountable for its hu-man rights abuses and work towards the establishment of a culture of human rightsin Nigeria.26 The key personalities behind the formation of the CLO were twolawyers – Olisa Agbakoba and Clement Nwankwo. Olisa Agbakoba, a maritimelawyer, ran a law chambers in Lagos while Clement Nwankwo who had previousexperience in legal aid practice, was a lawyer in Agbakoba’s chambers. They were,to use their words, ‘sensitized and motivated by the cases of human rights abuseswhich they encountered daily in their law practice.’27 Abdul Oroh, a journalistcovering the judiciary, prisons and police for a leading Nigerian newspaper, camein shortly afterwards to join the CLO. The CLO team thereafter grew rapidly,attracting several other committed lawyers, journalists, students, and workers. Although the CLO was the first major human rights organisation in Nigeria,some attempts had earlier been made to organise similar forums for human rightsadvocacy, research and documentation. For instance, in 1983, the National Councilfor Human Rights was formed by Abdul Rasak, a lawyer based in Lagos. However,such earlier attempts at establishing human rights organisations hardly went be-yond the initial conceptual stages. There were also other organisations, whichthough not primarily concerned with human rights advocacy, included humanrights issues as part of a broader public awareness agenda. Women in Nigeria(WIN), an organisation of women groups which was set up in 1982 with the pur-pose of organising women towards improving their conditions of living, had beeninvolved in women and children’s rights work at an organisational level. A similarorganisation was the National Association of Democratic Lawyers formed in 1984,in reaction to the passivity of the Nigerian Bar Association in the face of unprece-dented repression unleashed by the military regime.2826 Civil Liberties Organization, Annual Report, 1994, p. 7. Corroborated with personal interviews with OlisaAgbakoba and Clement Nwankwo in Lagos, March 1996.27 Personal interviews with Olisa Agbakoba and Clement Nwankwo in Lagos, March 1996.28 The NADL was affiliated to the International Association of Democratic Lawyers based in Brussels.
  • 31. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 31 At its inception in 1987, the principal objectives of the CLO as a voluntary,non-partisan and non-governmental organisation were to defend and promote theprinciples and practice of fundamental rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitu-tion; to monitor the extent of compliance with the universal principles and practiceof human rights in Nigeria by the government and its agencies; to conduct researchinto the sources and impact of abuses of human rights in Nigeria; and to inform andraise the conscience of the citizenry through workshops, seminars, lectures, ralliesaimed at enhancing their ability to defend and exercise their democratic and inal-ienable rights.29 The establishment of the CLO opened a floodgate with respect tothe establishment of other human rights organisations. Two years after the CLOwas established, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, (CDHR), cameinto being with a medical practitioner, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, as its nationalpresident. CDHR’s aims and objectives were similar to those of the CLO andincluded working for the defence, sustenance, and promotion of fundamentalhuman rights guaranteed in the Nigerian Constitution, the African Charter onHuman and Peoples’ Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and otherinternational conventions and covenants on human rights. In the same year, theGani Fawehinmi Solidarity Association (GFSA) was formed in solidarity with thehuman rights lawyer and campaigner, Gani Fawehinmi who was regularly houndedby successive military regimes. In 1990, the Constitutional Rights Project (CRP)was formed by Clement Nwankwo, a lawyer and one of the founding members ofthe CLO. The Universal Defenders of Democracy (UDD) was founded in 1992,also by lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, to ‘champion and crusade for the observance,realisation and practice of human rights, democracy and rule of law on a globalscale with particular emphasis on Nigeria.’ With the proliferation of human rights NGOs between 1987 and 1992, it wassoon realised by activists within the NGO community that to be effective in theircampaign and advocacy for human rights and democracy in the country, there wasa need for NGOs to cooperate and coordinate their activities at a central level andpool their collective efforts towards their goals. There was the concern that unlessthere was a forum for coordinating the human rights and democratic aspirations ofthe NGO community in the country, these organisations would find themselvesworking at cross-purposes thereby making them more vulnerable to the repressionand intimidation of the military regimes. There was also the realisation that the re-establishment of democratic civilian rule in the country offered the best prospectsfor an enduring solution to the deteriorating human rights situation in the country,and that this was the most urgent task, which confronted the human rights move-ment. These realisations led to the formation in 1992, of the Campaign for Democ-racy (CD), an umbrella organisation for 42 human rights organisations and pressuregroups working for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria. Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, a medical doctor and leader of the Nigerian Medical Association, emerged asits national president. The declared objectives of the CD included the restoration of‘the sovereignty of the Nigerian people to self-determination, to choose how to begoverned and who to govern; to promote the right of people to form their ownpolitical parties without interference; to campaign for the termination of military29 Civil Liberties Organization, Annual Report 1994, p. 7.
  • 32. 32 Bonny Ibhawohrule for all times, the respect of fundamental human rights and the rule of law, andthe abrogation of all military decrees.’ Throughout the dictatorship of the Sani Abacha regime which saw the stateexecution of the environmental rights activist Ken Saro Wiwa and the internationalcondemnation which the execution generated, the Campaign for Democracy (CD)provided the platform on which Nigerian human rights organisations and otherpressure groups advanced a united front in their campaign for the termination ofmilitary dictatorship, the protection of human rights, and the restoration of demo-cratic rule in the country. Although differences often arose among member NGOsin the CD over the strategies to be adopted in their campaign for democracy, therewas a clear unanimity of fundamental purpose of the organisation. To a largeextent, the CD proved quite effective not only in coordinating human rights andpro-democracy advocacy during this period of military dictatorship but also inarticulating and advancing for the first time, a coherent and collective agenda forthe human rights movement in Nigeria.The Human Rights Movement and the Challenge of Relevanceand LegitimacyThe point has been repeatedly made that the human rights movement in Africafaces a challenge (if not a crisis), of relevance and legitimacy. Makau Mutua hasidentified two basic features of the structure and operations of human rights organi-sations in Africa, which raises to the fore, questions as to their relevance andlegitimacy in the African context. First, is that like their predecessors in the West,African human rights organisations are narrowly tailored to focus only on certainaspects of political life.30 Few adequately address issues of economic, social, andcultural rights, which are quite urgent in Africa given the levels of underdevelop-ment and mass poverty in the continent. Second, most human rights advocacygroups in Africa lack grassroots support. They are often exclusively funded exter-nally by individuals, foundations and charities in the West. Very rarely are suchorganisations supported by local private finance or grassroots contributions. This dependency on resources from the West, limits independent initiative andinvariably influences the organisations’ priorities and programs, thus raising con-cerns about paternalism, neo-imperialism and breeding suspicion and scepticism insome quarters. Mutua therefore cautions that there will be no future for the humanrights movement in Africa unless it can secure domestic ideological, financial, andmoral support from interested constituencies. More independence and not moredependence as is currently the case must be secured for the survival of the humanrights movement in Africa. It is crucial, he argues, that the movement should bepart of the people; its leadership and aspirations must reflect the needs and perspec-tive of the ordinary citizens (Mutua 1999).30 Mutua argues that human rights organisations in Africa are ‘miniature replicas of their more powerful counter-parts in the West – Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists(ICJ). They are funded by the same sources; they are organised similarly with almost identical mandates andsimilar strategies for advocacy and work.’ Makau Mutua, ‘African Human Rights Organizations: Questions ofContext and Legitimacy’ paper presented at the conference on ‘Human Rights and Development in Africa:Establishing the Rule of Law’ organised by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 8-9 July 1999.
  • 33. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 33 These observations bear particular relevance to the human rights movement inNigeria. The first point relates to the question of funding and the independence ofhuman rights organisations. Although some of the early human rights NGOs inNigeria initially relied on individual funding and local support for their take off, themajority of them have over the years grown to rely mainly or solely, on fundingfrom Western foundations and donor agencies to sustain their activities.31 Thedifficult years of the Babangida and Abacha military dictatorship witnessed anunprecedented inflow of Western donor funds into the human rights NGO sector inNigeria. Much of the funds came from government agencies like the United StatesAid Agency (USAID), the Norwegian Human Rights Fund, the Swedish NGOfund, the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the NationalEndowment for Democracy in the USA, the Canadian Fund for Civil Society andfoundations such as Ford Foundation in the USA and the Friedrich NaumannFoundation in Germany. This overwhelming dependence on external funds has raised questions as tohow much control the NGOs have over their own programs and agenda. Donororganisations often tie their funds to particular projects, which reflect their owninterests and policy agenda rather than those of the recipient organisations. Theexperience with the NGO community in Nigeria is that Western donor organisa-tions and charities tend to support or orchestrate advocacy groups that advance thepurpose they deem appropriate or essential to their home constituencies rather thanthe immediate needs of the recipient organisation. For instance, between 1987 and1995 when many of the new human rights organisations were still trying to estab-lish their offices and recruit staff for their operations, not many donor agencieswere willing to commit their funds to such ‘non-tangible’ capacity building efforts.Many donor agencies were more interested in funding ‘tangible’ projects, whichwould more visibly project their activities at a time of increased internationalinterest over the human rights conditions in the country. The funding of a nationalconference on extra judicial killings, for instance, would surely attract more inter-est and look more impressive in the annual report of a donor agency than say, theprovision of tables and chairs for a rural field office of human rights NGO. Expectedly, NGOs have responded to this trend by tailoring their programsand activities to coincide with those of the donor agencies in order to guaranteefurther funding. This development has raised significant questions of legitimacyand independence for the human rights movement in Nigeria. Successive militaryregimes in Nigeria, confronted by opposition from pro-democracy and humanrights groups, have always found it convenient to point to the dependence of theseorganisations on external funding to justify the accusation that they are destabilis-ing neo-imperialist agents who neither represent nor speak for the ordinary people.During the Abacha dictatorship, representatives of some of these donor agencieswere expelled from the country on the grounds that they were, in collusion withNigerian NGOs, engaged in subversive activities. Human rights NGOs have responded to these criticisms with the argument thatunlike in the West, public awareness within civil society in Nigeria as in many31 In one notable exception to this trend, the Nigerian lawyer and prominent human rights activist, Chief GaniFawehimi has consistently claimed that he neither seeks nor gets external funding for his human rights work whichhe funds himself from the proceeds of his lucrative law practice.
  • 34. 34 Bonny Ibhawohparts of Africa, has not yet developed to a level where local support can sustainNGO activities. They claim that NGOs simply have no local charities and benefac-tors to turn to. Besides, resources do not exist and even where they do, because ofthe control that the state has over other sectors of public life, its hostility discour-ages the support that may have come from private and corporate constituencies. This argument is tenable but only partly so. The reality within the humanrights movement in Nigeria is that many NGOs have not in the first place, seriouslyand creatively explored means of local support such as membership contributionsor the mobilisation of local private finance. If anything, there is pervasive compla-cent reliance on external support in the mistaken belief that not much can be doneto mobilise domestic funding. This attitude clearly does not augur well for thefuture of the movement. Besides, grassroots organisations such as communitydevelopment unions and urban-based ethnic associations in Nigeria have func-tioned well in terms of resource mobilisation and popular advocacy for many yearswithout external support. There is no reason why the emergent human rightsmovement in Nigeria cannot explore and build on this tradition. The second question of relevance and legitimacy that has been raised relates tothe elitist nature of the human rights movement and the lack of adequate grassrootsrepresentation and support within human rights organisations. Such accusations ofelitism and alienation from the rural masses were raised against the anti-colonialistagitations of the early nationalist movement and it is ironic that they recur withcontemporary NGOs. With the NGOs however, these criticisms of elitism andalienation are even more strident, and perhaps, justifiably so. Most of the human rights organisations are based in the urban centres and re-strict their advocacy work to these urban centres, with about three-quarters of thembased in Lagos alone. Although some of these organisations are represented insome rural areas, the main focus of their work continues to be urban-centred civiland political rights issues to the relative neglect of other economic and social rightsissues that are more evident in the rural areas. The leadership of the human rightsmovement in Nigeria is similarly drawn predominantly from a narrow group ofprivileged urban elites most of whom are detached from the social reality of thepoor rural majority. This alienation from the actual potential victims of humanrights abuses cannot create a viable human rights movement.ConclusionIn its quest for legitimacy and relevance, the human rights movement in Nigeria aselsewhere in Africa must strive to avoid the pitfalls of the earlier nationalistmovement. Apart from consciously forging a working link with the grassroots, itmust also work towards the articulation of a homegrown human rights and pro-democracy agenda suited to the peculiar challenges and aspirations of the Nigeriansociety. This should be one that resonates with popular needs and demands, ad-dressing not only such ‘visible’ human rights abuses as arbitrary arrests or presscensorship in the cities, but also the ‘less visible’ issues of poverty, culture-basedgender inequalities, and underdevelopment which continue to violate the rights andliberties of the vast majority of rural poor. The emergent human rights movement in Nigeria must also re-evaluate its
  • 35. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 35seeming obsession with civil and political rights. A movement that only addressesthese rights is not truly a rights movement but only a civil liberties movement. Tobe relevant and genuine, the human rights movement in Nigeria as elsewhere inAfrica must be people based, people oriented and must addresses the whole spec-trum of civil, economic, political, social, and cultural rights from a perspective thatis well suited to the needs and aspirations of the contemporary state.
  • 36. 36 Bonny IbhawohReferencesAgbese, P.O. 1994. ‘The State versus Human Rights Advocates in Africa’, in E. McCarthy-Arnolds et al. (eds.), Africa, Human Rights and the Global System, London and Westport, CT: Greenwood.Aguda, A. 1989. ‘The Judiciary and System of Law’, in T. Tamuno & J. A. Atanda (eds.), Nigeria Since Independence: The First 25 Years (Government and Pub- lic Policy) vol. IV, Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books.Alabi, M.O. 1993. ‘Military Rule, Human Rights and the Judiciary in Nigeria’, Journal of Human Rights Law and Practice, vol. 3, no. 123.Azikiwe, N. 1943. Political Blueprint for Nigeria, Lagos.Civil Liberties Organization 1994. Annual Report 1994.Coleman, J.S. 1986. Nigeria: Background to Nationalism, Benin City: Broburg & Wiström.Ikime, O. (ed.) 1980. Groundwork of Nigerian History, Ibadan: Heinemann Educa- tional Books.Mosely, P. 1992. ‘Policy Making Without Facts: A Note on the Assessment of Structural Policies in Nigeria, 1985-1990’, African Affairs, vol. 91, no. 363.Mutua, M. 1999. African Human Rights Organizations: Questions of Context and Legitimacy, paper presented at the conference on ‘Human Rights and Devel- opment in Africa: Establishing the Rule of Law’, University of Illinois, Ur- bana-Champaign, July 8-10, 1999.Nwankwo, C., B. Ibhawoh & D. Mbachu 1996. The Failure of Prosecution: Delays and Inefficiency in the Nigerian Criminal Justice System, Lagos: Constitu- tional Rights Project.Ojo, A. 1987. Constitutional Law and Military Rulership in Nigeria, Ibadan.Ojomo & Okagbue 1991. Human Rights and the Administration of Criminal Jus- tice System in Nigeria, Lagos: Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS).Olukoshi, A. 1991. The Politics of Structural Adjustment in Nigeria, paper pre- sented to the Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, Africa Workshop, Uppsala.Olusanya, G.O. 1980. ‘The Nationalist Movement in Nigeria’ in O. Ikime (ed.), Groundwork of Nigerian History, Ibadan.Oyovbaire, S. & T. Olagunju 1992. Foundations of a New Nigeria: The IBB Era, Lagos.Tamuno, T. & J. A. Atanda (eds.) 1989. Nigeria Since Independence: The First 25 Years (Government and Public Policy) vol. IV, Ibadan: Heinemann Educa- tional Books.
  • 37. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 37-51. © CDD 2003 POLITICAL LIBERALISATION AND DEMOCRATIC CHANGE IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, 1970-1995: A CROSS-SECTIONAL ANALYSIS By Patrick Johnston & Chris Lee1 French Summary La libéralisation politique et le changement démocratique en Afrique Sub - Saharienne, 1970-1997 : Une Analyse transversale.Bien que la plupart de spécialistes des sciences politiques reconnaissent que la démocratieest désirable, il est moins claire comment les pays gouvernés par des régimes autoritairesdevraient se démocratiser. Les théories sur la démocratisation sont multiples et changentconstamment. Les théories fondées sur la prémisse que la modernisation socio-économiquebourgeoise est une condition d’importance capitale, ont été remplacées par des théoriesbasées sur les relations entre les élites politiques et la société civile. Cependant, à la suitede la démocratisation rapide d’un grand nombre de pays du tiers monde, les théoriciensont arrivé à la conclusion que les conditions politiques et historiques des pays africains ontformé des institutions structurelles qui ont un impact sur la démocratisation. Par ailleurs,les spécialistes des sciences politiques ont arrivé aux consensus qu’il y a des différencessubstantielles et qualificatives entre la libéralisation et la démocratie. Bien que la libérali-sation englobe les idées de l’expansion des droits de l’individu et du groupe, la démocrati-sation porte atteinte à d’autres éléments clefs, tel que les élections libres et justes. L’Afrique a connu trois époques principales dans le processus vers la démocratisa-tion. Quoique les années 50 et 60 marquèrent un style de démocratie pareille à celuiemployé par les pouvoirs coloniaux, c’est à dire, une politique soutenant le parti unique etpas le multipartisme, les démocraties des années 70 inclurent des élections législatives,mais encore une fois, sans préjudice à l’établissement du parti unique. Au cours des années80 et 90, à la suite de la fin de la guerre froide, le renforcement des affiliations économi-ques entre les pays africains et ceux de l’Ouest résultèrent en une période de démocratisa-tion que refléta la conditionalité de l’assistance Nordique. En analysant 46 pays de l’Afrique sub-saharienne entre 1970 et 1995, et en utilisantune méthode transnationale en succession de période, cette thèse présente les différentsmodels pour illustrer l’importance des institutions libérales et démocratiques, etl’importance du colonialisme, dans la transition démocratique. Cette étude propose que laprotestation seule n’explique pas les différences dans les reformes libérales des différentspays de l’Afrique. Plutôt, cette différence est mieux expliquée par des différences structu-relles politico - institutionnelles, tel que ‘les legs coloniaux’ et ‘le niveau de démocratie’.De même, le niveau de libéralisation explique les différences dans les niveaux de démocra-tisation. Le premier model utilise des différences comme : le nombre de coups d’état, lesmanifestations violentes et pacifiques, les grèves, les guerres civiles etc. pour tester si laprotestation ou la recrudescence civile seules peuvent expliquer la différence dans la1 Patrick Johnston is a student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Hisprevious research has focused on the role of illicit timber trade in funding and sustaining the civil war in CharlesTaylors Liberia. Professor Lees research has largely focused on the relationship between state repression anddissent. Both are currently working together on a study of terrorism.
  • 38. 38 Patrick Johnston & Chris Leelibéralisation politique des pays analysés. Le deuxième model intègre le niveau de démo-cratisation et les legs coloniaux à ces variables. Les résultats montrent qu’au lieu de la protestation et la dissidence, c’est plutôt le ‘ni-veau de démocratie’ et le ‘pouvoir colonial’ qui expliquent les différences dans la libérali-sation et vice versa. Le niveau de démocratie peut directement expliquer les changementsdans les libertés civiles. Une des conclusions inattendues est que la protestation mène auxrestrictions des libertés civiles et non pas à l’ouverture politique, alors que les émeutes etles coups d’état n’ont presque aucun rapport avec la libéralisation politique et la démocra-tisation. Les manifestations pacifiques ont un effet positif sur la libéralisation, mais ellesseules ne sont ni la cause ni le résultat direct dans les reformes libérales. Néanmoins, celacommence à changer et les statistiques de 1995 indiquent que les grèves industrielles, parexemple, ont un effet important sur le changement libéral. Ont peut donc conclure que les régimes démocratiques durables sont rarement, insti-tués par une action de masse populaire. Il n’y a aucune causalité entre la protestation et lalibéralisation. Mais, les legs coloniaux ont eu d’important effet sur la libéralisation. C’est àdire que les pays qui furent assujettis aux pouvoirs coloniaux les plus répressives avaientsouvent des régimes les plus dogmatiques a l’indépendance. La libéralisation n’est doncpas contrôlée par les actions de la société civile. Cela ne veut pas dire que la société civilene peut pas influencer les reformes libérales et démocratiques, mais à elles seules, elles nesuffissent pas. Il est crucial d’établir une tradition démocratique au niveau civil, si non,l’enlèvement des pouvoirs autoritaires sera inutile et les perspectives à long - terme pour ladémocratie seront non - existantes. Cette étude se termine en 1995, mais dans les 7 dernières années, d’autres variablesimportantes, notamment, la globalisation, la pression internationale, les forces du marché,et une nouvelle vague de leaders politiques, doivent être étudiées. Les chercheurs doiventréaffirmer l’importance de l’état pour étudier les possibilités de la démocratisation dans le21eme siècle. ______________________Most scholars agree that democracy, on some level, is desirable and necessary in acogently governed society. It is less clear, however, how countries under authori-tarian rule democratise. In the case of sub-Saharan Africa, a region in which almostevery country has been subject to authoritarian rule at some point since independ-ence, there are few empirical accounts about how countries reached their presentlevel of democracy. The literature has produced differing accounts of democratisa-tion and shifted its focus and conceptualisations of democracy. Early generationsconsidered democratic regimes an outcome of socio-economic bourgeois moderni-sation. These structuralists, on the one hand, viewed institutions shaped by socio-economic conditions and market economies as paramount to democratisation.Recent generations of post-structuralists, on the other hand, have tended to viewdemocratisation as contingent upon strategic interactions between political elitesand other political and civil actors, which they deemed an exceedingly irrationalprocess. In light of the rapid democratisation of much of the underdeveloped world,political scientists have recently concluded that ‘democratic politics is not a super-structure that emerges from socio-economic and cultural bases; it has an independ-ent life of its own’ (Lijphart 1990). From this group emerged a theoretical frame-work that argues that democratisation is neither predicated by socio-economic
  • 39. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 39conditions nor contingent, strategic actor-interactions. Instead, ‘politico-institutionalists’ argue, historical and political conditions shaped structural institu-tions, which influenced democratisation in varying ways. Thelen and Steinmopresent a ‘politico-institutional’ theoretical framework that is especially useful forthis paper. ‘Political struggles’, they maintain, ‘are mediated by the institutionalsetting in which (they) take place’ because ‘institutions shape the goals that politi-cal actors pursue and (…) structure power relations among them, privileging someand putting others at a disadvantage.’ (Thelen et al: 1-32).2 We will examine democratisation using the politico-institutional approach, al-beit under the assumption that democratisation in sub-Saharan Africa is a complexprocess that is not linear. We will also include explanatory variables that are insti-tutional and others that are contingent in order to test the utility of each approach inthe case of Africa. We therefore present models that illustrate the importance ofdemocratic and liberal institutions and the historical consequences of colonialismon democratic change. These models also show the weak explanatory power ofcontingent interaction variables such as protest and dissent for democratisation.Although many excellent country-based case studies produced by practitioners of avariety of diverse theoretical inclinations elucidated valuable historical accounts ofdemocratisation, there has been little empirical research to produce generalisedexplanations of democratic change that are necessary to construct theories ofdemocracy for the unique polities of sub-Saharan Africa.Research on DemocratisationIn recent years, a rich literature on democratisation has emerged. So much, in fact,has been written on the subject that Mainwaring (1992) called the subject ‘a veri-table growth industry.’ Early classics on democratisation by scholars such as Lipset(1959), Almond and Verba (1963), Moore (1966), Rustow (1970), Dahl (1971),and O’Donnell (1979) focused largely on socioeconomic conditions that werenecessary for stable democracy. During the 1980s, scholars tended to focus onregime transitions (O’Donnell and Schmitter 1986) and democratic consolidation(Di Palma, 1990). Studies by scholars such as Huntington (1984, 1991) and Lins(1990) have tended to focus on the role of political leaders and elites in democraticconsolidation. In their excellent book, Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective: Ten-tative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies (1986), which focuses on newdemocracies in Latin America and Southern Europe, O’Donnell and Schmitterdescribe the pathway to democracy as one which involves upsurge, liberalisation,and eventually widespread democratisation. In the case of Africa, Bratton and vande Walle have argued that democratisation is a process largely dependent on thebehaviour of domestic political institutions, and that it is especially difficult forregimes lacking institutional traditions of political competition to achieve democ-racy (Bratton et al 1994). Similarly, Bratton and van de Walle argue (1997) that theprocess by which democratisation generally occurs is three-fold: political protest,liberalisation, and democratisation. While Bratton and van de Walle look in large2 Quote taken from Bratton and Van de Walle, Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Com-parative Perspective, (Cambridge University Press, New York, NY; Cambridge, UK), p. 41.
  • 40. 40 Patrick Johnston & Chris Leepart to ‘impersonal’ domestic political institutions to engender democratisation,O’Donnell and Schmitter see the process as contingent upon interaction betweenpolitical elites and other political and civil actors. More important, political scientists have arrived at a consensus that there arequalitative and substantive differences between liberalisation and democratisation.They generally agree that liberalisation is the expansion of group and individualrights. Although there is no clear consensus on exact definitions of ‘democracy’and ‘democratisation’, most agree that free, fair and competitive elections thatdetermine who governs is necessary in a cogent democracy (O’Donnell andSchmitter 1986; Mainwaring 1992). For our purposes, it is important to keep inmind that although liberalisation and democratisation have different results, theyare not mutually exclusive. Rather, democratisation and liberalisation seem to beinterrelated.Africa’s Three Waves of DemocratisationBetween 1970 and 1995, rule that was often authoritarian, personalistic and neo-patrimonial3 clouded generalised theory-building even further. M. Crawford Young(1996), however, borrowing from Huntington (1991), eloquently delineates thethree ‘waves’ of African governance from the 1950s to the 1990s. In the 1950s,prior to independence, Africans tended to support the notion of democracy asrelief. In the 1950s and 1960s, the first ‘wave’ followed models not dissimilar tothose employed by the outgoing colonial powers. That is, after independence,although some countries held elections, support for multiparty democracy wasminimal, and mass single party rule under the charismatic leaders of the independ-ence generation was widespread. Young quips that when the second wave came in the 1970s, ‘it was no tsu-nami, but a discernible stirring.’ (1996, 55). During this period, brutal dictatorshipscollapsed in Uganda, Central African Republic, and Equatorial Guinea. Moreover,competitive elections for legislative seats were held within several ruling partiesfor the first time. Senegal, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Botswana, and Mauritiusentered into fragile experiments with democracy, which were previews of in-creased change in the 1980s. Some countries that experimented with democracy inthe late 1970s, however, such as Nigeria and Ghana, regressed back to authoritar-ian rule in relatively short order. ‘The political openings of the second wave,’ asYoung aptly posits, ‘liberalized autocratic formulas, rather than introducing fullydemocratic regimes.’ (1991, 57). In the 1980s, the Soviet Union’s relationship with the developing worldquickly dissolved, and African leaders began to look West for developmentalassistance. At the same time, democracy was beginning to be seen as a viable formof government in developing countries, particularly in Latin America and Asia.The fall of the Soviet bloc in the late 1980s and early 1990s was followed closelyby a new wave of democracy. At least 38 countries held ‘founding’ electionsbetween 1989 and 1994. (Bratton and van de Walle, 1997, 7). For Young, Larry3 For an excellent conceptualisation and discussion of African neo-patrimonial rule, see Victor Levine, ‘AfricanPatrimonial Regimes in Comparative Perspective,’ Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 18, no. 4, (December1980), pp. 657-673.
  • 41. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 41Diamond4 and other observers, however, the third wave of African democratisationhas been, and will continue to be slow and imperfect. Although some remainsceptical about the levels of political change engendered by democratic reform inAfrica (see Ake, 1996; Callaghy, 1993), or the strength of the new regimes whichwere elected democratically (Bayart et al, 1999, 4), most agree that the democrati-sation which has occurred and that promises to occur in the future is significant andworthy of further analysis. This study will test hypotheses about democratic change in sub-Saharan Af-rica. We believe our hypotheses can best be tested empirically, and we investigatethem systematically. First, we will present our hypotheses. Next, we will explainour research methodology and data. Third, we will present our results. Fourth, wewill draw conclusions about our results and explain implications of our study forfurther research.HypothesesWe first hypothesise that protest alone, in both violent and non-violent forms, doesnot sufficiently explain variance in liberal reform. We argue instead that variancein liberalisation can be better explained by ‘politico-institutional’ structural vari-ables, including ‘colonial legacy’ and ‘level of democracy’. Likewise, we arguethat the ‘politico-institutional’ structural variables, ‘colonial legacy’ and ‘liberalisa-tion’, best explain variance in levels of democratisation. We also hypothesise thatliberalisation and democratisation are not mutually exclusive, but rather are inter-related processes that feed off of each other in environments that are historicallyand politically conducive to their positive changes. We expect to find statistically significant relationships between the country’scoloniser and levels of liberalisation and democratisation. If our hypotheses arecorrect, they will indicate that colonial legacy can contribute to explanations ofregimes’ post-independence behaviour.Methodology and DataFor the empirical analysis, 46 sub-Saharan African countries are observed from1970-1995. This provides 26 observations from each country for a total N of 1196.Areas not covered include Mayotte, Reunion, Eritrea and South Africa. Mayotteand Reunion are not included because of their relation to France. Likewise,Eritrea’s independence came near the end of the period covered, rendering itgrossly incongruent with the other countries included in the dataset. Data forEritrea prior to 1992 are included under Ethiopia. South Africa is excluded becauseof its exceptional political system during the period covered by the data.5 Althoughthe countries we include are remarkably diverse, we believe the differences in thecases will show the overall strength and applicability of the models we employ, as4 Taken from Crawford Young’s Africa: An Interim Balance Sheet. For more, see Larry Diamond, West Africa(London), 4-10 March 1996, p. 328.5 Robert Bates, who was the principal investigator in the Africa Research Project, which supplied the data onviolence for this study, ultimately decided which countries to include in the dataset. For our purposes, we haveincluded all available cases in an attempt to find generalisations across as much of sub-Saharan Africa as possible.
  • 42. 42 Patrick Johnston & Chris Leesimilar results from diverse cases illustrate the similarities of the system-levelforces present in distinctly different environments. Our methodological technique is a cross-national time-series analysis. Itaddresses variance temporally and spatially. Critics of cross-national comparativeanalysis often assert that there are too many uncontrollable differences to overcomein such a study, and that conclusions drawn from often oversimplified modelscannot offer descriptive analyses of complex causal processes. Other comparativ-ists argue that cross-national statistical studies attempt to mimic methods com-monly used in the physical sciences, insofar as the methods attempt to measurewhat some conclude is immeasurable (Sartori 1970, 1033-53). However, classicworks by Lipset (1959) and Deutsch (1961) illustrate the usefulness of cross-sectional research and legitimise these methods in comparative analysis. Theirresearch has solidified, in the minds of many, the place of such analysis for inquiryinto complex topics including political development, social structure, and politicalviolence. For our purposes, it is necessary to conduct a cross-national time seriesinvestigation because our theoretical interests are not confined to the nation-state asthe primary unit of analysis. Rather, we are concerned with testing theoretically-derived hypotheses about broad system-level change empirically, which can bestbe undertaken in a cross-sectional, large n study. We also believe that sequential analysis is of benefit to this type of study. Ourtheoretical concerns clearly require analysis of a longer time period in order tounderstand the depth and accurately explain the changes. A shorter sequence wouldnot as accurately reflect the fluctuation of change as well as a longer sample, and itmight indeed distort some cases, insofar that they may have experienced anexceptional amount of change during the selected period. In sum, the sequenceanalysed in this study more effectively controls for the waxing and waning of theindicators used than a shorter sequence would. Our liberalisation and democratisation data are derived from the FreedomHouse’s ‘Survey of Freedom’ project. Both variables were scored annually for eachcountry on a seven point scale, with 1 being the most ‘free’ and 7 being the least‘free’. These data have been used widely in similar studies (Bratton et al, 1997),and are considered to be among the most reliable sources on these topics. Theliberalisation indicator is a measure of a constellation of civil liberties and personalfreedoms as investigated in each country, including but not limited to freedom ofthe press, freedom of religious choice, freedom of association, freedom to jointrade unions, and freedom of speech. Likewise, the democracy variable describesthe level of democracy with respect to a number of issues, including but not limitedto free and fair elections, freedom from political coercion, freedom of associationand the ability to join opposition parties. For the purposes of this paper, then, we define liberalisation as the politicalopening of a country, which broadly includes freedom of expression and belief,association and organisational rights, rule of law and human rights, and personalautonomy and economic rights. Level of democracy is defined as the extent towhich a country regularly holds of free, fair, and competitive elections, has fairelectoral laws, and endows elected officials with real power. For liberalisation, two explanatory models are tested. In the first, for theprimary explanatory variable, political protest and dissent, we observe seven
  • 43. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 43factors: coups and attempted coups, guerrilla warfare, non-violent demonstrations,labour strikes, violent unrest, riots, and attempted and successful revolutions. All ofthese data were derived from Robert Bates’ Africa Research Project. The ‘coup and attempted coup’ variable is defined as any successful,attempted, or plotted attempt to overthrow an existing government. It is coded insuch a way that ‘2’ designates a successful coup, ‘1’ designates an attempted orplotted coup, and ‘0’ designates no coup activity. The ‘unrest’ variable captures theviolence rank of domestic events and degree of domestic unrest. It was also codeddichotomously; ‘2’ designates at least one violent conflict during the year; ‘1’designates at least one non-violent conflict during the year; and ‘0’ designates nounrest during the year. Revolutions, guerrilla warfare, riots, demonstrations, and strikes were codedaccording to the actual number of events that occurred in each country during thegiven year. ‘Revolutions’ is defined as any illegal or forced change in the topgovernmental elite, any attempt at such a change, or any successful or unsuccessfularmed rebellion whose aim is independence from the central government.‘Guerrilla warfare’ is defined as any armed activity, sabotage, or bombings carriedon by independent bands of citizens or irregular forces and aimed at the overthrowof the present regime. The ‘riots’ variable is defined as any violent demonstrationor clash of more than 100 citizens involving the use of physical force.‘Demonstrations’ is defined as any peaceful public gathering of at least 100 peoplefor the primary purpose of displaying or voicing their opposition to governmentpolicies or authority, excluding demonstrations of a distinctly anti-foreign nature.The ‘strikes’ variable is defined as any strike of 1,000 or more industrial or serviceworkers that involves more than one employer and that is aimed at nationalgovernment policies or authority. These variables are intended to test whetherprotest and dissent, or civilian ‘upsurge’, alone can explain the variance inliberalisation. The second model integrates selected protest and dissent variables with twoother explanatory variables: level of democracy6 and colonial legacy. Coloniallegacy is coded according to the country that was the chief coloniser of the Africancountry. In essence, this will underline variance in liberalisation between groups ofcountries which were colonised by a single country (France, Great Britain,Portugal, Belgium, Spain) which could lead to inferences about the effects duringindependence of colonial rule on countries subjected to similar colonial policies.ResultsDo Protest and Dissent Lead to Liberalisation?Our empirical findings support our hypothesis that the variance in liberalisation canbest be explained by politico-institutional structural variables. ‘Level ofdemocracy’ and ‘colonial power’ (which laid institutional foundations for state-society power sharing, or lack thereof) were vastly successful in explaining thevariance in liberalisation, while protest and dissent variables were not. We used6 See definition of level of democracy in the text, pp. 7.
  • 44. 44 Patrick Johnston & Chris Leetwo models to test this hypothesis. The first model used liberalisation as thedependent variable and protest and dissent as the explanatory variable. Weincluded all of our protest and dissent variables (labour strikes, revolutions, non-violent demonstrations, violent unrest, guerrilla warfare, riots, and successful andattempted coups) as independent variables in the model. Indeed, the modelindicated that protest and dissent alone did not lead to liberalisation and politicalopening. The model fit between protest and dissent and liberalisation was poor.Protest and dissent alone explained less than 1% of the variance in liberalisation inthe sub-Saharan countries tested. In spite of this, several important discoveries were made about the relationshipbetween protest and dissent variables and liberalisation. First, protest and dissentseemed to lead to restricted civil liberties rather than political opening. Forinstance, there was a statistically significant negative relationship betweenrevolutions and civil liberties.7 Likewise, we found that guerrilla warfare, anotherform of armed and violent dissent, was both statistically significant and negativelycorrelated with liberalisation.8 Violent unrest, rioting, and successful and attemptedcoups were virtually unrelated to liberalisation. These results, then, suggest thatviolent civil upsurge had a negative effect on liberalisation. Upon finding little evidence of a relationship between violent dissent andliberalisation, we now turn our attention to non-violent protest’s relationship withliberalisation. Indeed, at 90% confidence non-violent demonstrations werestatistically significant in the variance of liberalisation. For all practical purposes,however, there was no correlation between the two variables.9 Labour strikes,another form of non-violent dissent, were also found to be unrelated to liberalisa-tion.10 These results indicate that although demonstrations were significant, theyalone did not result in liberal change. While non-violent demonstrations may be animportant piece of a larger puzzle, based on the statistical analysis it cannot beassumed that they were significant in causing liberalisation. Labour strikes havehistorically been uncommon in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly under repressiveauthoritarian governments. While they have become more salient recently, between1970 and 1995 the economic dissent embodied by labour strikes did not lead to far-reaching political change even though economies were often controlled by thestate. This, however, appears to be changing. Updated data after 1995 may produceresults that show labour’s increasing significance in liberal reform. The results of our first model underlined the lack of explanatory power thatprotest and dissent had in the variance of liberalisation across sub-Saharan Africa.In their excellent study of democratisation in sub-Saharan Africa between 1989 and1994, Bratton and van de Walle (1997, pp.184) also found that political protest didnot directly influence liberalisation. They did, however, remain optimistic aboutthe significance of political protest in the democratisation process. Because Brattonand van de Walle were not operating under the assumption that protest was a resultof rational actors deliberately seeking a clear program of reform, they concludedthat there were two reasons for protest’s lack of explanatory clout. First, protesters7 P=.026, Pearson’s R=.184. Although the Pearson’s R correlation shows a positive relationship, the two variablesare coded inversely, thus rendering the relationship negative.8 P=.000, Pearson’s R=.242. See note 3 for explanation of negative relationship.9 P=.068, Pearson’s R= -.06610 p=.763, Pearson’s R= -.025
  • 45. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 45knew the substantial obstacles that they faced, in the form of politically andeconomically repressive state apparatus. Our results similarly showed little in theway of a positive relationship between protest and liberalisation. It is also clear thatthere was less open protest and dissent in the most repressive regimes.11 Second,Bratton and van de Walle suggest that the results of protest varied vastly accordingto contingencies of individual means and ends, thus leading to the insignificantresults. For our theoretical framework and based on the definitions of our variables,we assume that protest and dissent were a function of rational actors whodeliberately sought political change in the form of increased self-determination.Therefore, we arrive at conclusions about the consequence of protest and dissentslightly different from Bratton and van de Walle. While we remain hopeful, we areless optimistic about the intrinsic value of political protest and dissent inengendering political opening and the respect of individual human rights.According to our analysis, in a vacuum, protest and dissent are detrimental and/orineffectual to the desired ends. To be sure, those participating in protest and dissentwere aware of the often repressive consequences of their actions, which doubtlessaffected the intensity of their protest. Our regression analyses control for thesevaried intensities by examining relationships between variance of specifiedvariables. We can therefore observe if any level of change in protest and dissentproduced a corresponding level of change in liberalisation. We seek to reconcile the explanatory gap left by our protest and dissent modelby introducing a model that integrates politico-institutional structural variables. Itadds two variables, ‘level of democracy’ and ‘colonial power,’ along with thestatistically significant protest and dissent variables (revolutions, guerrilla warfare,and demonstrations) from the first model in an attempt to explain liberalisation. Wechose to include ‘level of democracy’ and ‘colonial power’ for several reasons.First, we hypothesise that rather than viewing liberalisation and democratisation asexplicitly contingent processes as has recently been in vogue (Huntington 1991;O’Donnell and Schmitter 1986), the variance in liberalisation and democratisationis often structural and explained by politico-institutional variables. Secondly, weare of the belief that colonialism impacted post-independent African governanceand power-sharing, thus creating an institutional legacy. We test this hypothesis byinvestigating variance in liberalisation according to the colonial power thatcolonised each African country. The integrated politico-institutional model was much more successful inexplaining the variance in liberalisation in sub-Saharan Africa. It explained 58% ofthe variance that occurred between 1970 and 1995. In the integrated model,revolution was no longer statistically significant.12 However, the other fourvariables (guerrilla warfare, demonstrations, level of democracy, and colonialpower) in the integrated model were statistically significant in explaining thevariance in liberalisation. Guerrilla warfare still had a statistically significant11 For example, during Idi Amin’s brutally repressive tenure as president of Uganda, there were no recordedstrikes, demonstrations, or riots. Likewise, during Macias Nguema’s presidency in Equatorial Guinea, there wereno strikes or demonstrations, and one riot. There were also no reported strikes or demonstrations during Jean-Bedel Bokassa’s regime in the Central African Republic. There was one riot. For more about these regimes, seeDecalo, ‘African Personal Dictatorships.’12 p=.506, Pearson’s R=.183
  • 46. 46 Patrick Johnston & Chris Leenegative relationship with liberalisation, rendering it unsuccessful in explainingliberal change.13 Moreover, non-violent demonstrations remained statisticallysignificant at 90% confidence, but showed little correlation to liberal change.14 The new structural variables introduced to the model were the best indicatorsof liberal change. Sangmpam (1992) laments that studies of democratisation in theunderdeveloped world too often ignore institutions in their analyses. He stresses theimportance of structural variables in the study of transition from authoritarian tocompetitive rule in the underdeveloped world, because the omnipresence ofauthoritarian politics is often pervasive during and after transition. One mustaccount, Sangmpam holds, for the ‘over-politicised’ state in transition.Henderson’s (1991) impressive empirical study reinforced the idea of theimportance of institutional democracy on political opening and/or repression ofhuman rights. Henderson’s conclusions were supported by Poe and Tate’sambitious global study (1994) which found that participation in civil war anddemocracy were the two best variables to examine variance in human rights, andDavenport (1995), who found that ‘the degree to which the government isdemocratic significantly alters the pattern of relationships between political conflictand repressive behaviour.’ Indeed, our results support the conclusions aboutinstitutional democracy put forth by Henderson, Poe and Tate, and Davenport. Wefound level of democracy highly correlated to liberal change,15 meaning that thelevel of democracy appears to have directly explained changes in civil liberties. Mamdani (1996) observes that colonial rule in Africa was instrumental inshaping ways in which independent governments developed, particularly in the‘decentralized despotism’ that has engendered, divided and oppressed subordinateethnic cleavages in former British, French, Belgian, and Portuguese colonies. Wefound that the colonial power that colonised individual African countries alsoappears to have strongly affected the ways in which post-independent Africangovernments allowed or repressed civil liberties.16Does Liberalisation Explain Democratisation?Our integrated politico-institutional liberalisation model, which includes bothprotest and dissent variables, a level of democracy variable, and a colonial powervariable, indicates that liberalisation in sub-Saharan Africa has been a complex,dynamic process affected by social, governmental, and historical forces. We arenext interested in democratic change. Since the demise of ‘modernisation’democratisation theory, neo-Marxist and liberal political scientists have generallyagreed that democracy is highly desirable in a cogently governed society. Few,however, agree on the ways by which democratisation is explained. We proposethat a model similar to the integrated liberalisation model will explain much of thedemocratic change across sub-Saharan Africa between 1970 and 1995. Like our liberalisation model, our democratisation model rests on theassumption that historical and political legacies affect the extent to which countries13 p=.000, Pearson’s R=.242. See explanation in note 3.14 P=.067, Pearson’s R=-.06615 p=.000, Pearson’s R=.74616 p=.000
  • 47. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 47democratise. The model substitutes ‘level of democracy’ as the dependent variableand ‘liberalisation’ as an independent variable. The other independent variablesremain ‘guerrilla warfare,’ ‘demonstrations,’ ‘revolutions,’ and ‘colonial power.’We propose that the results will solidify the importance of politico-institutionalstructural variables as well as the relationship between the ‘liberalisation’ and‘level of democracy’ variables. Our democratisation model was relatively successful. It explains 56% of thevariance of democratisation. It produced, however, some unexpected results.Namely, we found that ‘colonial power’ was insignificant in explaining democraticchanges.17 This means that while the African country’s colonial power was highlyrelated to liberalisation, it was unrelated to democratisation. This could occur fortwo reasons. First, it could be argued that liberalisation and democratisation occursimultaneously, and that countries’ colonial legacies dictated that civil liberties berestricted to varying levels, likely according to levels similar to the ones they wererestricted to during colonialism. However, since colonial African states werefundamentally undemocratic, they rendered no such similar legacy fordemocratisation during independence. A rival explanation still assumes thatcountries’ colonial power still is significant in the liberalisation process, but thenargues that once liberalisation begins, democracy proceeds to vary in accordance toliberalisation and dynamic momentum gained in civil society. Our model providessupport for the former. Significantly, we again found the institutional level of civilliberties to be very strongly positively correlated with democratisation.18Revolutions and guerrilla warfare also had statistically significant negativecorrelations with democratisation at 99% and 90% confidence, respectively,meaning that as illegal and armed struggle increased, levels of democracydecreased.19 Non-violent demonstrations were unrelated to democratisation.20 Inessence, our model indicates that liberalisation, a politico-institutional variable,was the only variable that sufficiently explained democratisation.21ConclusionsOur results advance several generalisations about democratic change in sub-Saharan Africa. First, our data suggest liberalisation occurred due to a complexcombination of politico-institutional historical and structural factors rather than dueto the domestic social upsurge that we called ‘protest and dissent.’ Our resultsreinforce Huntington’s (1984) assertion that ‘democratic regimes that last haveseldom, if ever, been instituted by mass popular action.’ While we do not offer ananalysis of elite interaction’s role in democratisation, our results combined withBratton and van de Walle’s results about the ineffectual relationship betweenprotest and liberalisation in the case of sub-Saharan Africa clearly show that thereis no causality.17 p=.76918 p=.000, Pearson’s R=.74619 Revolutions: p=.000, Pearson’s R=.197; Guerilla Warfare: p=.072, Pearson’s R=.179 *See note three forexplanation.20 P=.729, Pearson’s R=-.04621 Regression Beta coefficient=.816
  • 48. 48 Patrick Johnston & Chris Lee In our integrated liberalisation model, politico-institutional historicalexplanations (colonial power) and structural explanations (democratic institutions)explained the vast majority of liberalisation. Countries which shifted towarddemocratic institutions tended to liberalise simultaneously. Moreover, we foundthat colonial legacy did significantly affect variance in liberalisation. Countries thatwere historically subjected to the most repressive colonial rule tended to be themost repressive during independence. These results do not lead to optimism for the prospects of futuredemocratisation in sub-Saharan Africa. They indicate that liberalisation largelyoccurs as a result of factors not controlled by civil society. Does this mean thatcivil society cannot influence liberal and hence democratic change? Of course not.Diamond (1992) argues that civil-societies can lead to the removal of authoritariansfrom office. Putnam (2000) and Diamond (1993) both argue, however, thatestablishing a democratic tradition in civil society is crucial to consolidatingdemocracy. Without democratic consolidation, the removal of authoritarians isuseless and the long-term prospects of democracy null. In the case of sub-SaharanAfrica’s brief history since independence, the networks of informal and formalcivic organisations and associations considered by Tocqueville and othersubsequent theorists to be the building blocks of democracy are still beingconstructed. Although our results suggest that civil society was not instrumental inengendering democratic change between 1970 and 1995, we optimistically believethat the foundation of democratic African civil-societies that are rapidly beingconstructed will likely lead to future democratisation. Unfortunately, however, theresults of our study indicate that in the past, much blood was shed in liberationmovements, civil wars, and political protests with little positive outcome for thecollective. In the case of sub-Saharan Africa, the power for political change lay inthe state. The results of our study also overwhelmingly support the idea thatliberalisation and democratisation change simultaneously rather than incrementally.In countries in which there is liberalisation, there are also likely to be roughlyequivalent levels of democratisation. The fluidity of this equilibrium comes incontrast to the theories of scholars who argue that democracies in Africa havefailed to sufficiently liberalise. However, our results do not reflect on the aggregatelevel of democracy present in sub-Saharan Africa, which remains relatively low.The prospects for democracy in Africa appear to be bright, and according to ourresults, the prospects for civil liberties do too. Our findings leave several questions for future research to address. If structuralpolitico-institutional variables rather than civil upsurge explain liberalisation anddemocratisation, then what will be the impetus to democratise in countries thathave traditionally had repressive, undemocratic colonial and post-independenceinstitutions? Or, one might ask, will there be an impetus for democratisation at all?To be sure, the resilience of neo-patrimonial and personalistic African authoritarianregimes implies that African authoritarian regimes will not crumble after losinglegitimacy because of persistent economic problems, as did many regimes inEastern Europe and Latin America. To find the potential impetus for democracy inresilient African authoritarian regimes, one will have to examine different variablesthan we did. Our analysis examines sub-Saharan Africa sequentially from 1970-
  • 49. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 491995. Even in the seven years that have passed, the continent has undergonequalitative and quantitative political changes. Variables other than the onesexamined in this study, such as civil unity, the end of the Cold War, globalisationand international pressure, market forces, civic organisations and a new wave ofleaders, have further complicated the political process. In response to our findingsabout liberal and democratic change from 1970-1995, researchers must examinethe dynamics of these newer variables, but most important, they must ‘bring thestate back in’ in order to investigate the prospects for democratisation in the 21stcentury.
  • 50. 50 Patrick Johnston & Chris LeeReferencesAke, C. 1996. Democracy and Development in Africa, (Washington, DC: Brook- ings Institution).Almond, G. & S. Verba 1963. The Civic Culture, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univer- sity Press).Bayart, J-F., S. Ellis & B. Hibou 1999. The Criminalization of the State in Africa, (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press; Oxford: James Currey).Bratton, M. and N. van de Walle 1997. Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective, 1989-1994, (Cambridge, UK; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press).Bratton, M. and N. van de Walle 1994. ‘Neo-Patrimonial Regimes and Democratic Transitions in Africa,’ World Politics, vol. 46, no. 4 (July), pp. 453-489.Callaghy, T.M. 1994. ‘Africa: Back to the Future?’ Journal of Democracy, vol. 5, no. 4 (October), pp. 133-145.Dahl, R.A. 1971. Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).Davenport, C. 1995. ‘Multi-Dimensional Threat Perception and State Repression: An Inquiry into Why States Apply Negative Sanctions,’ American Journal of Political Science, vol. 39, no. 3 (August), pp. 683-713.Decalo, S. 1985. ‘African Personal Dictatorships,’ The Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 23, no. 2 (June), pp. Tocqueville, A. 2000. Democracy in America, ed. and trans. by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).Deutsch, K.W. 1961. ‘Social Mobilization and Political Development,’ American Political Science Review, vol. 55, no. 3 (September), pp. 493-514.Diamond, L. 1992. ‘Economic Development and Democracy Reconsidered,’ American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 35, (May-June).Diamond, L. 1993. Political Culture and Democracy in Developing Countries, (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner).di Palma, G. 1990. On Crafting Democracies, (Berkeley, CA: University of Cali- fornia Press).Henderson, C. 1991. ‘Conditions Affecting the Use of Political Repression,’ Jour- nal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 35.Huntington, S.P. 1991. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press).Huntington, S.P. 1984. ‘Will Countries Become More Democratic,’ Political Science Quarterly, (Spring), p. 212.Jackman, R. 1985. ‘Cross-National Statistical Research and the Study of Compara- tive Politics,’ American Journal of Political Science, vol. 29, no. 1 (February), pp. 161-182.Levine, V. 1980. ‘African Patrimonial Regimes in Comparative Perspective,’ The Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 18, no. 4 (December), pp. 657-673.Lijphart, A. 1990. ‘The Southern European Examples of Democratization: Six Lessons for Latin America,’ Government and Opposition, vol. 25, (Winter), p. 72.Linz, J. 1990. ‘Transitions to Democracy,’ Washington Monthly, 13.
  • 51. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 51Lipset, S.M. 1959. ‘Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Develop- ment and Political Legitimacy,’ American Political Science Review, vol. 53, (March), pp. 69-105.Putnam, R. 2000. Bowling Alone: the Collapse and Revival of American Com- munity, (New York: Simon and Schuster).Mainwaring, S. 1992. ‘Transition to Democracy and Democratic Consolidation: Theoretical and Comparative Issues.’ In Scott Mainwaring, Guillermo O’Donnell, and J. Samuel Valenzuela, (eds.) Issues in Democratic Consolida- tion, (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press).Mamdani, M. 1996. Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).Moore, B. Jr. 1966. Social Origins of Democracy and Dictatorship: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World, (Boston, MA: Beacon Press).O’Donnell, G. 1979. Modernization and Bureaucratic Authoritarianism, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).O’Donnell, G. & P.C. Schmitter. 1986. Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies, (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press).Poe, S.C. & C.N. Tate, 1994. ‘Repression of Human Rights to Personal Integrity in the 1980s: a Global Analysis,’ American Political Science Review, vol. 88, no. 4 (December ).Rustow, D.A. 1970. ‘Transitions to Democracy: Towards a Dynamic Model,’ Comparative Politics, vol. 2, pp. 337-363.Sangmpam, S.N. 1992. ‘The Overpoliticized State and Democratization: a Theo- retical Model,’ Comparative Politics, vol. 24, no. 4 (July), pp. 401-403.Sartori, G. 1970. ‘Concept Misinformation in Comparative Politics,’ American Political Science Review, vol. 64, (September), pp. 1033-1053.Thelen, K. & S. Steinmo, 1992. ‘Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Poli- tics,’ in Kathleen Thelen, Sven Steinmo & Frank Longstreth (eds.) Structuring Politics: Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Analysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Valenzuela, J.S., 1992. ‘Democratic Consolidation in Post-Transitional Settings: Notion, Process, and Facilitating Conditions,’ in Mainwaring, O’Donnell & Valenzuela, op. cit., p. 70.Young, C. 1996. ‘Africa: An Interim Balance Sheet,’ Journal of Democracy, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 53-68.
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  • 53. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 53-87. © CDD 2003 DEMOCRACY, SECURITY & POVERTY IN GHANA: AMID-TERM REVIEW OF THE KUFUOR ADMINISTRATION By J. ’Kayode Fayemi, Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebo1 French Summary La Démocratie, la sécurité et la pauvreté au Ghana : une évaluation à mi-parcours de l’administration KufourLe Ghana fut le premier pays en Afrique Sub-Saharienne à atteindre l’indépendance. Avecune population estimée a 19.3 millions et un classement selon l’indice de développementhumain de 129 en 2002, le Ghana est en avant de tous les autres pays de L’Afrique del’Ouest, même du géant pétrolier, le Nigeria. Bien que les indicateurs sociaux et économiques place le Ghana au-dessus des autrespays de la région, les tensions socio-politiques qui existent depuis les élections de 2000continuent à émettre des signaux alarmants sur la capacité du gouvernement à améliorer laperformance économique et en même temps à répondre aux attentes démocratiques. La plus grande difficulté à laquelle le gouvernement de Kufour est confronté est laprévention des conflits et la garantie de la stabilité tout en conservant la démocratie. Bienque le gouvernement reconnaisse l’existence d’un très fort lien entre la sécurisation del’état et le développement, il y a peu de preuves quant à la mise en place d’une stratégiepratique pour réaliser l’objectif de développement. La Stratégie pour la Réduction de laPauvreté au Ghana représente désormais l’initiative la plus articulée. Elle aborde ledéveloppement à travers la création de richesse et le partenariat entre les secteurs publicset privés. Mais, le gouvernement n’a pas encore expliqué, à un public de plus en plusdésenchanté, exactement comment cette vision va se convertir en réalité ; surtout quand legouvernement fait face à des graves problèmes de capacité infrastructurelle, économique,et d’un manque de ressources matérielles et humaines. De plus, il existe des incertitudes dans le gouvernement au sujet d’où le centre du pou-voir réside. Ayant venu au pouvoir à la suite d’une longue période dans l’opposition, leparti reste assez incohérent et une méfiance de la fonction publique est apparente. Néan-moins, il existe, dans certains secteurs tels que dans la Commission de Coordinationchargée de la Politique Economique et au niveau des cadres moyens décideurs, un plushaut niveau de synergie. Le Judiciaire et le Parlement font également face à des défis importants. En général,le public a peu de confiance au judiciaire qu’il considère corrompu, sans moyen adéquat,avec des rémunérations médiocres et où l’accès à la justice est soit lent ou non-existant.Egalement, la capacité du parlement d’exercer un contrôle démocratique de l’exécutif restedouteuse. Bien que les prochains élections présidentielles aient lieu en 2004, il est à présent dif-ficile de spéculer sur le résultat. Néanmoins, le parti de Kufour, le NPP, semble être le plusviable. Le NDC, le parti de l’ancien président Rawlings, est le seule des neuf partis autotale, qui représente une contestation significative mais, il est peu probable que les Gha-néens seraient déjà préparés pour un retour à l’ancien régime.1 Dr. Kayode Fayemi is the Director of Centre for Democracy & Development; Dr. Thomas Jaye is the Director ofCommunity Development & Advocacy Centre (CODAC), London; and Zaya Yeebo is Head of Programmes inMinority Rights Group, London.
  • 54. 54 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebo Le gouvernement de Kufour a un énorme travaille à faire d’ici à 2004. En premier, ilsdoivent mettre en œuvre des stratégies qui seront adéquates pour établir le rapprochemententre l’état et les citoyens. Puis, ils doivent faire des grands pas pour améliorer l’accès àl’éducation et aux services de santé, prendre des mesures pour redresser le déclin écono-mique, reformer le système judiciaire, et finalement, résoudre les conflits ethno-régionaux. ______________________ Executive SummaryGhana is the first country togain political independence in Selected Economic and Social IndicatorsSub-Saharan Africa. With an Ghana SSAestimated population of 19.3million and a Human Develop- Population (2000) 19.3 606 Pop. Growth Rate (%pa) 2.7 2.8ment Index ranking of 129 in GDP per cap. US$ (2000) 1964 1690*2002, Ghana is significantly Life expectancy (yrs) 56.8 48.7ahead of other West African Infant mortality (/000) 58.0 107countries, including oil rich % below poverty line (2000) 44.8regional giant, Nigeria. Primary education enrolment 79% While Ghana’s social andeconomic indicators place it at Adult illiteracy: 28.5 38.5the higher end of sub-Saharan Under 5 mortality (per 1000 births) 102 174Africa’s generally poor rank- Maternal mortality (per 1000 births) 0.021ing, socio-political tensions in Public expenditure (Fed/state/LGA) (%GDP)the aftermath of the 2000 elec- Health 1.7tion continue to give worrying Education 4.2signals about the government’sability to improve economic * Adjusted to purchase parity with the USA.performance and at the same Source: Human Development Report, 2002.time deliver expected demo-cratic dividends. This study attempts to provide a realistic mid-term review of the Governmentof Ghana (GoG) and its priorities for the rest of its tenure. It is the product of anextensive process of informal consultations in Ghana over a two-month period(August-September 2002), which afforded us a more nuanced understanding of theintricacies of politics and policymaking since the new administration assumedoffice. The consultations also offered us a clearer picture of the prospects andchallenges facing the government in its quest to achieve socio-economic progressand political stability.2 The greatest challenge that emerges from the study is that of deepening de-mocracy in order to prevent conflict and ensure stability. This is what PresidentKufuor refers to as ‘securing the State’, but it is also a concern widely expressed inthe course of the study. This is a challenge that is at once political and develop-2 The authors are grateful to the Department of International Development, UK, for its support of the field tripupon which the research study was based. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of DFID.
  • 55. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 55mental. While there is recognition on the part of the Government of Ghana thatsecuring the State is inextricably intertwined with achieving socio-economic de-velopment, there is no evidence of a clear-cut governance strategy for achievingthe objective of a secure and developmental state. The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy represents the most articulate vision ofdevelopment through wealth creation and public-private partnership. Yet, if theproduct is to meet the publicity surrounding GPRS, a lot more clarity is needed onhow the Government plans to translate this vision into practical realities for anincreasingly disenchanted public still waiting for the benefits of power alternation.What the study also brought into clear relief is a number of objective constraintsfaced by the current government in implementing its programmes. The most daunt-ing of these challenges is that of capacity. This problem is felt all across gov-ernment and we have described the extent of the problem in the body of the study. With regard to the current government, there is no clarity as to where the locusof power resides. Having come into office after a long period in opposition, there isa certain lack of coherence as well as distrust of the civil service. Yet, there seemsto be a higher level of coherence and synergy in the middle cadre of policy makers,especially the Economic Policy Coordinating Committee. While the governmenthas taken its time to settle in, the notion of delaying presidential dividends to 2003and closer to the next election seems widespread in governmental and non-governmental circles. The judiciary and the parliament also face critical challenges. Generally, thereis a lack of public trust in the judiciary, partly due to corruption, inadequate facili-ties, poor remuneration, delayed and or non-existent access to justice. Equally, theParliament’s ability to ensure democratic oversight over the executive branchremains hugely suspect. As far as the organised opposition is concerned, the NDC still represents themost viable force. It is too early to speculate about its chances of winning the nextelection since a lot will depend on the selection of its party candidate and thedegree of disenchantment with the NPP by 2004. The general feeling amongst thekey constituencies is that the NPP will get the benefit of the doubt, unless it com-pletely fritters away the goodwill it currently enjoys. As for the Nkrumahist parties,they are still in some disarray in spite of recent attempts to merge leading factionsand there is very little prospect of things changing before the next election. The above raises fundamental questions about the nature of assistance that willultimately help the government bridge the growing chasm between the State and itscitizens. While some respondents believe that norm-building initiatives are neces-sary in order to consolidate Ghana’s democracy, an overwhelming feeling is thatinternational assistance should concentrate on developmental projects, governanceand security sector reform. Also, there is a clear need for an integrated strategy toregional security issues since many of the problems that appear local, also haveregional dimensions given Ghana’s contiguity to West Africa’s zone of conflict. On the basis of the above, it seems to us necessary that serious attention oughtto be paid to understanding a range of issues, including institutional strengthening,role of traditional authorities, internal and regional security implications, HIV/Aidsepidemic and public-private partnership.
  • 56. 56 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya YeeboIntroductionIn his first wide-ranging interview after his election victory in January 2001,Ghana’s President, John Agyekum Kufuor listed among his top priorities the needto ‘secure the state’ and revitalise Ghana’s sluggish economy and stabilise thenation’s faltering currency.3 Almost two years into the Kufuor administration, the security of the state andits people and perceptions about the economy remain the most controversial de-bates in the media, amongst the opinion leaders interviewed in the course of thisresearch and even in government quarters. In many cases, the two issues are seenas inextricably intertwined and there are those who believe that state under-development and societal insecurity is primarily produced by poverty ‘which at itsroot is produced by power relations, the structural and systematic allocation ofeconomic resources among different groups in society and their differential accessto power and the political process’.4 What the above demonstrates is a widespread acceptance of the need to re-conceptualise ‘security’ in a more responsive direction with a move away from thetraditional emphasis on national/state security to a focus on ‘human security’, withan expansion, concomitantly in the scope of the concept from its minimalist mean-ing (as in physical security) to include access to the means of life, the provision ofessential goods, a clean and sustainable environment, as well as to human rightsand democratic freedoms. A key aspect of this, as exemplified by the Ghana TUC is the linkage drawnbetween security and development, on the one hand rooting insecurity in conditionsof underdevelopment, and on the other, the recognition that security is an essentialprecondition and component of development – as well as a growing tendency tosee defence and security as both a public policy and a governance issue (thusbroadening the range of constituencies that can participate legitimately in thisformally highly restricted arena). Important as the linkage between security and development is, it is equally im-portant to isolate issues relating to development and economic growth from ‘hard’security issues in order to accurately reflect what the government is doing in thesetwo key priority areas and what should be the focus of the administration’s effortson these issues in the following years. Consequently, while the article paints a broad picture of the path, players, pro-cesses and pace of political and economic developments since the current adminis-tration came into office, we examine the linkages between politics and economy –on the one hand looking at Government’s attempt to revitalize the economy, inparticular an analysis of its poverty reduction strategy and its implications, and onthe other focusing on democratic governance of the security sector and securitysector reform, more broadly. A set of general conclusions and specific recommen-dations are then offered at the end of the mid term review.Political Outlook and State of Political Parties3 Interview with Ofeibea Quist-Arcton,, 2 January, 2001.4 Views of the Trades Union Congress (Ghana) on Ghana’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, 5 September, 2001.
  • 57. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 57Out of the nine political parties5, which contested the last elections of December2000, eight of them are believed to be in a state of flux. One of them, the UnitedGhana Movement (UGM) has publicly declared that it is taking leave of politics.Thus, even though it remains on the register of political parties in the country, it isconsidered extinct. Significantly, three of the political parties, namely the NationalDemocratic Congress (NDC), the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) and EagleParty (EP) are currently in an alliance referred to as the ‘progressive alliance’. In the run up to the last Presidential election, the ruling NPP enjoyed the tacti-cal support of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the People National Conven-tion (PNC), the National Reform Party (NRP), the Ghana Consolidated PopularParty (GCPP) and the United Ghana Movement (UGM). However, it is clear thatsuch support will not be forthcoming in the 2004 elections because the alignmentof forces will change considerably. The single most important factor that broughtall these parties together was their common opposition to Rawlings, and the furtherthreat of Rawlings and NDC remaining in power. In this light, the alignment offorces was based on political expediency and prevailing political environment.They ganged up to unseat Rawlings and the NDC. Now that the NDC is out ofway, every political party will want to hold its own grounds independently. As is the case with elections in Africa, most parties emerge during electionsand immediately disappear after the elections. In this sense, one cannot rule out therevitalisation of the smaller parties that are currently in flux nor can the birth ofnew parties be ruled out by the time of the elections of 2004.The New Patriotic PartyFirst, the NPP: It is a well-known fact in Ghana today that President Kuffuor willcontest the 2004 elections unopposed within his party because at the time of theclose of nominations, only he had filed his papers. He will therefore be declaredtheir Presidential candidate when the party meets at its national delegates congresslater in the year. The party has focused on the building of alliances for the 2004elections but its overtures to the CPP and the PNC have been rejected. Historically,the CPP and PNC have the same ideological leanings, representing the Nkrumaisttradition in Ghanaian politics. Their support for the NPP at the December 2000 elections was merely a tacti-cal one to unseat the NDC, which has helped in undermining the political positionof the Nkrumahist tradition that both the CPP and PNC represent. The NPP andCPP traditions represent different ideological and ethnic lines, and have since the1940s, been at political loggerheads. This explains why accepting the overtures ofthe NPP for an alliance has been rejected. An alliance between the NPP and theCPP is difficult to contemplate. In preparation for the 2004 elections, the NPP has started a fundraising cam-paign to gather resources. There is the view that as the party in power, it shouldhave no problems with acquiring resources. The results of the 2004 Presidential5 Great Consolidated Popular Party (Daniel A. Lartey), National Democratic Congress (John E.A. Mills), Conven-tion People’s Party (George P. Hagan), Provisional National Congress (Edward Mahama), United Ghana Move-ment (Werreko Brobby), National Reform Party (Goosie Tannoh) and the New Patriotic Party (J.A. Kufuor).
  • 58. 58 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeeboelections are therefore almost predictable. According to most people, the real testfor the party will come in 2008 when Kuffuor’s term expires, and the oppositionparties, particularly, the merged CPP and NRP would have managed to re-organiseitself. However, there is the view that if the NPP can effectively deal with thequestion of who succeeds Kuffuor, then they would avoid a split that might bebased along religious and ethnic lines. On the religious line, the current Vice President is a Muslim from the Northwhereas the other potential contender, Nana Akufo Addo is a Christian from theSouth - Eastern Region. If the two individuals are to contest the NPP flag-bearership in the year 2008, the support pattern in the NPP could be split along thelines suggested above. As one observer put it, this is only a possibility. Yet, a weekis a long time in politics. The two individuals referred to above may not be rel-evant. Thus, until 2008, it is premature to say what may exactly happen.New Democratic CongressThe NDC remains a major challenger for power in the forthcoming elections unlessthe CPP gets its act together very soon, which seems unlikely. There are internalsquabbles within the NDC around two leading personalities – Jerry Rawlings andObed Asamoah. At their recent congress at which Obed Asamoah narrowly won byone vote to become Chair of the party, the tension between the two individuals wasvisible to the extent that Rawlings publicly accused Obed Asamoah of embezzlingparty funds. In specific relation to the forthcoming elections, Rawlings seems to befavouring J. Atta Mills whereas Obed Asamoah prefers Kwesi Botchwey, theformer Finance and Economic Planning Minister under the NDC, as the partypresidential candidate. Asamoah’s choice of Botchway is based on the belief thathe can easily handle the Rawlings factor in the party. Both Botchway and Millsoriginate from Cape Coast. The other potential NDC candidate is the former Minis-ter of Defence, Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama. From reliable sources, Botchway seems to be suggesting that he is not inter-ested in contesting the elections, but some people think this is a ploy to save him-self from early public scrutiny. Further, it could be the case that he is trying tostudy the current political climate before indicating whether he would like tocontest or not. Political pundits think that Professor Atta Mills, who had spent timein Canada teaching at a University, could eventually get the endorsement of theparty at its forthcoming congress.6 Significantly, the NDC is also trying to carve a new image for itself, at leastideologically. It has now said that its policy orientation has shifted from liberaldemocracy to social democracy. A manifesto to this effect has been published.However, the NDC will no longer have unfettered resources to become as influen-tial as it had been. Can the NDC win the next elections? If they ever did, this will constitute amagical experience in current Ghanaian politics. The general mood in the countrydoes not favour the immediate return of the NDC to power, at least not in 2004. Itis generally accepted that the public will give the NPP a chance to prove itself as a6 This survey was completed and written in October 2002. At the party congress in December 2002, ProfessorMills won the Party nomination.
  • 59. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 59party that is capable of delivering Ghana out of its present economic mess byimproving the living standards of the vast majority of the people. Even with thePNC expressing willingness to merge with the NDC, it is evident that this couldnot give them enough political leverage to win overall power. NDC-PNC mergermay be a plus in terms of winning seats in the Upper East region. It might also givethem some seats in the North, an area that the NPP seems to have lost alreadybecause of the Dagbon crisis.The Nkrumahist factor: CPP, PNC, NRP and GCPPThese four parties are generally referred to as parties of the Nkrumahist politicaltradition in Ghanaian politics. There are frantic efforts aimed at merging theseparties in order to become a credible alternative to both the NDC and the NPP. Sofar, the PNC and GCPP have pulled out of the unity talks but the CPP and the NRPhave gone ahead to announce an agreement to merge. Currently, both parties areworking on details of transitional arrangements for the formal merger of the par-ties, which may successfully be agreed at their respective national congresses inDecember of this year. Perhaps it should also be pointed out that prior to pullingout of the merger talks, the PNC had agreed to what has been referred to as theActivists platform. This is the platform for the proposed new CPP. While the contest for a presidential candidate of a united Nkrumahist traditionhas not begun, few names have emerged. These include Dr. Edward Mahama(leader of the PNC), Dr. Kwabena Duffour (former Governor of the Bank ofGhana), Mr. Goosie Tannoh (Presidential candidate of NRP in the last elections),Prof. George Hagan (CPP candidate in the last elections) and Mr. George Aggudey(businessman). It is expected that a large part of the United Ghana Movement(UGM) could possibly merge with the CPP. While a merger of these parties of Nkrumahist tradition can cause problems forthe NPP, the internal rivalries among them will not help their cause. Some haveeven embarked upon media warfare to discredit certain figures in the CPP. Thereare a number of key issues around which the current debate within the CPP iscentred. First, the issue of building structures in order to effectively intervene inpolitics as a serious force; electoral alliance – fielding candidates to win parliamen-tary seats and lend support to other parties in the presidential contest; and buildinga united, independent CPP with a socialist outlook to reflect a true Nkrumahisttradition. Freddie Blay, the First Deputy Speaker of the House, and a CPP candidate, iscalling for an alliance between the CPP and the NPP. In the case of Edward Ma-hama, he is believed to hold the view that certain elements within the CPP havetaken entrenched positions wanting to continue with the name, slogan and symbolsof the party while Dan Lartey feels sidelined and thinks his party is the true Nkru-mahist party.7 According to some critical observers, in light of the above, any talk of unityamong the above parties is premature.7 Lord Cephas M-Yevugah ‘What is happening to Nkrumah’s Flock?’ Business and Financial Times,19-25 August 2002, p. 17.
  • 60. 60 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya YeeboEGLE and DPPBoth the Eagle and DPP are part of the CPP/ Nkrumaist tradition, and were formed bydisaffected NDC members. Since the last elections of 2000, the two parties have notfunctioned. They have remained dormant and may become extinct with some of itssenior members joining either the CPP or the NPP. Both parties are offshoots of theNDC and are linked to Kojo Tsikata, Ebow Tawiah, Kofi Tettegah – all formerPNDC/NDC members.Issue AreasThe main area of debate for the forthcoming elections will be the state of the econ-omy and socio-economic policy. The CPP, PNC, NRP and GCPP hold the firmbelief that there has been no paradigm shift in the country’s economic policy andorientation because the present government is essentially implementing the sameStructural Adjustment Programme implemented by the Rawlings regime. The NPPgovernment fervently believes that there is no other viable alternative. The NPPalso argues that it is better placed to manage a liberal economy as the true party ofwealth creation in Ghana.More specifically, the following issues will continue to be debateda) In the past four years, the issue of Ghana accepting the HIPC initiative has beendebated in the country. Groups like the Socialist Forum, led by Mr. Kwesi Pratt,editor of the Weekly Insight, have been critical of HIPC. The opponents of HIPCargue that it is not the solution to Ghana’s problems. The debate around HIPCtherefore centres primarily on its significance for national development and povertyreduction. Some see it as a mere repackaging of SAP. Particularly, the issue of whobenefits and the extent to which the HIPC funds reduces poverty in Ghana is im-portant for the coming elections.b) Second, like HIPC, the privatisation of state enterprises has not gone down wellwith a good number of people in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. Privatisation isassociated with SAP, which rather than cure African countries of their ills, haveadversely worsened them. The attempt by the government to privatise water supplyhas come under severe criticisms from opposition parties like the CPP, NRP, civilsociety groups and the Trade Union Congress (TUC). Civil society groups like theMedia Foundation for West Africa, Integrated Social Development Centre(ISODEC) and Socialist Forum are playing a lead role in the campaign againstwater privatisation.c) A third area of concern is the provision of social services, particularly educationand health. Both have experienced decline under the previous regime. Thus, howmuch the NPP government does in improving these services will be crucial in theforthcoming elections. The state of health and education in the country is appallingwith many children unable to gain access to them. With the health system based on
  • 61. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 61the ‘cash and carry’ system, only elements of the middle classes can easily accesshealth care.d) Fourth, closely linked with the above is the situation of unemployment in thecountry. Unemployment remains very high in Ghana today. The economy, andparticularly, local industries and the private sector cannot absorb the increasingnumber of youth unemployed, particularly, graduates and so many graduates areforced to join the ranks of the army of unemployed. In this light, unemployment isan issue of concern. How the NPP government deal with this, will improve orworsen its credibility among the youth, and its standing nationally.e) Fifth, the increase in utility tariffs is worrying for some sections of the societyalready over-burdened by increasing poverty. This will definitely make certainservices relatively expensive including transport, food items and other basic thingsthat the vast majority of the people use in the country.f) Sixth, in the face of economic decline, the retrenchment of labour becomes theeasy option out. Under the previous government, local industries collapsed. This isone of the economic deficits that the present Government has to address in order toavoid experiencing further retrenchment in a country already over-burdened byunemployment. The level of labour retrenchment under this government is defi-nitely an issue of concern.g) Seventh, under the NDC there was cry about the level of cronyism and the roleof ethnic factors in the Government. There was the perception that Ewes weregiven certain privileges, particularly in strategic state bodies like the military andthe economic spheres. Already, in this Government, people are complaining aboutthe reverse to similar practices. Further, with the NPP trying to buy off oppositionpeople, and giving posts to long time associates, this could lead to cronyism. Ethni-cism and cronyism are definitely not healthy for a democratic transition beingexperienced in Ghana at the moment.h) Finally, crime is currently on the increase in Ghana. For example, there is anunprecedented wave of armed robbery, which has been facilitated by the prolifer-ation of small arms in the country. The existence of the Bureau on Drugs andNarcotics within the Ministry of Interior means that the trafficking of these sub-stances is a problem for Ghana like other West African countries. Clearly, these area menace to the Ghanaian society and thus how the Government tackles themremains an issue.Importantly, the Government has launched a series of programmes referred to as‘Presidential Initiatives’. If these initiatives produce successful results, they couldhelp in addressing some of the problems referred to above. In what follow below,we highlight some of the initiatives put forward by the Government.
  • 62. 62 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya YeeboPresidential InitiativesPresidential initiatives, in as much as they are aimed at reducing poverty throughjobs creation for the unemployed, can be seen as being integral to the GPRS, whichis one of the focuses of this mid-term review. Some of the initiatives include thefollowings:a) Textile/Garment Initiative, which is aimed at making use of the opportunitiesoffered by AGOA to export products to the US market. Since April 2002, Ghanahas been granted visa to export directly to the US tax-free and quota free. Accord-ing to plans, 100 medium size factories, 10 large size factories and 20 merchantexporters will be established within 4 years. These should generate $3.4 billion.8Further, the thinking is that 100,000 jobs will be created during the 4-year period.To some, this is over ambitious and merely a ‘political talk’ because of time,inadequate infrastructure, human and other material resources. Closely tied in withthis initiative is the Cassava Project aimed at producing industrial starch for export.b) ICT Initiative is aimed at creating centres of excellence for training youngpeople in IT. This initiative is being supported by the Indian Government, whichwill provide IT experts and knowledge.c) Distance Learning Initiative is about improving the academic foundation fromJSS to SSS. They use TV network to teach primary and secondary students.Closely linked with this initiative is establishment of an ‘Open College’. Currently,some JSS and SSS students cannot enter University. This group of students will betargets for the open learning centres across the country. The students will be pro-vided with IT and entrepreneurial skills; teacher training is at the heart of thisprogramme and there are possibilities of setting up small funds for self-employment.The problem with the country’s school system is that it is admitting less and lessstudents at every level. For example, while the primary school system produces130,000 graduates annually, the JSS, which is the next level they naturally progressto, can only absorb 80,000 students. This means that about 50,000 students cannotprogress. Even out of this 80,000 students that progress to the JSS, only 50,000 canenter the SSS. This also means that about 30,000 cannot continue to the SSS.Regarding the tertiary (University and Polytechnic) level, it can only absorb 30,000students per year. Thus of the 50,000 students who enter the SSS, 20,000 of themcannot progress to the tertiary level because of the lack of space. The SpecialInitiative is intended to address this problem.The JudiciaryOne of the litmus tests of an evolving democratic transition is the level of inde-pendence, efficiency and integrity of the judiciary and judicial system. The8 Mark Anthony Kwarteng, ‘President’s Special Initiative on Textiles and Garments, Over Ambitious or Modest’,Business and Financial Times, 26 August – 1 September, 2002, p. 13.
  • 63. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 63Ghanaian judiciary today is beset with problems just as it has been since independ-ence. As one retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice K.E. Amua Sekyi criti-cally recounts, since independence the confidence of the masses of the people inthe fairness of the judiciary has long since been eroded. He cites three major rea-sons for this: first, subservience of the judiciary to the executive; secondly, grow-ing and widespread corruption among judicial officers and staff; and thirdly, delayin the trial of cases.9 Closely associated with these is the fact that appointments tothe Bench are politically motivated and this makes judicial officers play ‘secondfiddle’ to successive governments. In addition, bribery and corruption have always marred the image of the judi-ciary. The situation was so serious that after the coup of 1966 and by 1986, theNational Liberation Council (NLC) and the PNDC respectively carried out a cos-metic process of wholesale dismissal of judges in a futile attempt to clean up theimage of the judiciary. As Sekyi argues, this did not help because the measure wasnever accompanied by a re-appraisal of the role of judges, and the creation of anenabling environment for fair and proper exercise of their functions including goodsalaries and assurance of ‘comfortable age when retired’.10 While the Constitutionof 1969 sought to remedy this problem by making the Chief Justice and judges ofthe Superior Courts the highest paid public offices in Ghana, the violent overthrowof governments changed these practices.11 The current Attorney General of Ghana shares the above views by insistingthat long period of authoritarian rule weakened the judiciary, and that the poorsalaries and lack of resources have led to demoralization of the judiciary to theextent that most of the better elements have left the system. He also deplores thepractice of corruption in the judiciary.12 Corruption is such a problem in the judi-ciary that the present parliament was forced to set up a 21-member ParliamentaryCommittee to probe cases of alleged corruption within the judiciary in six regionalcapitals – Wa, Koforidua, Takoradi, Tamale, Sunyani and Sekondi.13 The delays in trials are such that cases sometimes last as long as 20-30 years togo through courts. Often, judges have to deal with too many ‘part-heard cases’ ontheir hands to the extent that one time, a judge had 22 of such cases to deal with.14Currently, Wa does not have a Chair of its tribunal because he was transferred toAccra and has not been replaced. The Bar Association is not happy about the factthat it is not consulted on the appointment of judicial officers, and the present ChiefJustice, Wiredu has credibility problems with the Bar because of past allegations ofcorruption. Previously, Wiredu and Kufuor served in Victor Owusu’s Chambers.To sum up, the judiciary is buffeted with a number of problems cardinal amongwhich are the:9 Justice K.E. Amua Sekyi, Consolidating Democratic Governance in Ghana by Further Strengthening Institu-tional Capacity, an address delivered at a ‘Breakfast Forum’ by the Institute of Economic Affairs on ‘TheConsolidation of Democracy in Ghana’, 11 June 2001. Lecture Series No. 1, Accra, Ghana, 2002, p. 10.10 Ibid, p. 11.11 Ibid, p. 12.12 Hon. Nana Akufo-Addo, The Consolidation of Democracy in Ghana, 2 July 2001. Institute of Economic Affairson ‘The Consolidation of Democracy in Ghana’, Lecture Series No. 1 Accra, Ghana, 2002.13 Business and Financial Times, 26 August – 1 September, 2002 p. 2.14 Sekyi, op-cit, p. 13.
  • 64. 64 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebo • Lack of public confidence • Poor infrastructure • Poor salaries • Corruption • Delays in judicial processParliamentThe Ghanaian parliament comprises 200 members. The ruling NPP has 101, NDChas 91, PNC 4, CPP has 1 and 3 independent members. Some MPs in the rulingparty are Ministers and others sit on government commissions and bodies. Thismeans that in most situations, they are out in the regions and so cannot afford to sitin parliament on a regular basis. This gives the NDC an edge when it comes tovoting. Further, they are more prepared and knowledgeable about parliamentarywork than the NPP people. Another problem that is seen as hampering the independence of Parliamentfrom the Executive is the fact that some members of parliament are also membersof the government. This is so because the Ghanaian government system is a hybridof the US and Westminster models of democracy. There is a feeling among opposition MPs that they and parliament are beingmarginalised. Clearly manifesting this is the fact that parliament was marginalisedin the formulation of the GPRS. Inexperience, corruption, lack of resources, andthe weak nature of opposition parties are some factors that could affect the credi-bility of Parliament. With members of parliament being bought off with favoursfrom the ruling party, there seems to be a degree of self-censorship and there arelimited parliamentary debates on policy issues.Key ConstituenciesRegional BalanceWhat are the key constituencies the NPP must satisfy in order to stay in power andwin re-election? There is a general consensus among the people we talked to thatthere are two key constituencies – Ashanti and Eastern regions. The NPP hasstrengths in these regions and will therefore build on these to consolidate its hold inthe forthcoming elections. The Ashanti and Eastern regions constitute core areasbecause of their population. There is the general view that the NPP support isguaranteed in these areas because the party is traditionally referred to as the‘Ashanti’ party. For the NPP to consolidate its position in the South, they wouldalso need to win considerable seats in the Brong Ahafo region. But this can also beproblematic in view of long historical differences between the Brongs and theAshantis. But if threatened, the Brongs and Ashantis will forget their differences. The North is more problematic for the NPP. The Northern region is dismissedas relatively less important for votes because of its scarce population, and forhistorical reasons. Further, the current Dagbon crisis (see below) has exposed thepartisan nature of the NPP involvement in the crisis. In the last election the NPPdid not win a significant support in the region. The PNC also controls the Upper
  • 65. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 65East region, while the Upper West is largely NDC. It is possible that with re-sources, the NPP can reverse the NDC/PNC domination of the North, but anyrevival in the Northern region is likely to benefit the CPP (even in its currentdisorganised form). The Central, Western and Volta regions are currently dominated by the NDC,but have in the past been bastions of the CPP. The NDC is likely to retain some ofthese seats. With a CPP revival, it can regain the Western, Central and Volta re-gions. Without a CPP revival, the Western and Central regions will remain underNDC control to some extent. The Central region will be equally divided betweenthe NDC and other opposition parties. Historically, the Fantes and Ashantis havebeen at loggerheads, this is likely to be reflected in the voting patterns that willemerge in 2004. These factors notwithstanding, the urban rural divide has almost always dic-tated voting patterns in Ghana. President Kuffours strident attempts to build roadsand link the rural, cocoa producing areas with the rest of the country should be seenin this light. The NDCs stronghold of rural Ghana follows similar strategies usedby the CPP in the early 1950s and 1960s. From all indications, the various constituencies in Ghana could vote along eth-nic and regional lines. The NPPs strategy is therefore to consolidate what theyhave gained so far. A source also pointed out that the government is about toembark on a redrawing exercise of key constituencies, based on population,thereby increasing the number of constituencies in the Ashanti, Eastern and BrongAhafo regions, which are heavily populated. This would in effect reduce the num-ber of constituencies in the North. Ultimately, what the various regions get out of this government in terms of de-velopment will dictate their voting patterns to a large extent. How the governmentaddresses this depends on its performance and success with specific relation to theGPRS. (see below)The Private sectorThe private sector, mainly local business people support candidates and gov-ernments for opportunistic cum ideological reasons. The governments propertyowning ideology, reinforced by its declaration of todays Ghana as the ‘golden ageof business’, would endear it to middle businessmen. Traditionally, the businessclass, entrepreneurs, market women, cocoa farmers and the commercial sector havealways been Akan or Ashanti dominated, the NPPs natural constituency. The NPPis therefore cultivating its own business supporters, taking contracts away fromNDC sympathisers to ensure that its own business constituency is largely cateredfor. The professional classes and some sections of civil society are keen to ensurethat the current democratic process is not destabilised. There is also an understand-ing that the NDC must be kept out of power by all means. A coalition of the pro-fessional classes, and some civil society groups will support the NPP if it becomesclear that the NDC poses a particular threat to the ruling party, although the reasonsfor this are not uniform.
  • 66. 66 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya YeeboTraditional AuthoritiesTraditional authorities have always played a key and important role in Ghanaianpolitics, both under colonialism and after independence. Though they play a non-statutory role, they sometimes transcend that to play a statutory one on the limitedscale. These authorities manage the affairs of their areas by maintaining law andorder and providing advice to central government and other agencies of the Stateon public affairs. Outside the modern court system, they maintain order and peaceamong their peoples and mobilise material and human resources for developmentactivities. Further, they are considered as custodians of customary laws and asleaders of their communities, they are more acceptable than say an MP or a localcivil authority. In areas where the authority of the central government (seen asAccra government) is less evident, chiefs and traditional authorities play vital rolesin maintaining law and order, and securing development for their people. Though Nkrumah virtually abolished the Native Authorities, the court systemshave remained, even if unrecognised by central government. Successive militaryinterventions revived their roles in Ghana to the extent that there is a NationalHouse of Chiefs. Over the years, they lost their customary sources of revenues andtherefore are weak financially. This has made them vulnerable and often seen asbeing in the employ of governments and business. The fact that they scramble forprivileges from the governments, and sometimes publicly align with certain politi-cal parties, verify the above assumption. That said, it should be pointed out thatsome still get the usual voluntary customary dues as well as revenues from landand involvement in judicial processes. Like previous Ghanaian governments, the NPP has indicated its willingness towork with traditional authorities. The current prominent role of the Asantehene,and their role in the Council of State support this view. Currently, there is sometension between chiefs and the District Assemblies because of the overlap of dutiesand the way in which this adversely undermines the authorities of traditional auth-orities. However, the NPP is seeking to use its cosy relationship with the Asanteheneas an example of government-traditional authority relationship. The Asantehene isbelieved to wield enormous influence over President Kufuor, and has indicated thathe will use this role only in an advisory capacity. The Asantehenes main interest isto strengthen the role of paramount chiefs and traditional authority, and promotethem as ‘partners in development,’ promote cultural heritage by strengtheningtraditional institutions. However, the merging relationship between the Asanteheneand President Kuffuor is also seen by other ethnic groups as affirmation that theNPP is an ‘Ashanti government’. Other Chiefs in different regions are also crucialfor social and political mobilisation and therefore constitute an important constitu-ency for electoral votes. In the specific case of the north, a lot depends on how theNPP government deals with the Dagbon crisis, which is discussed below in detail.
  • 67. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 67Security-Sector Governance What I mean by securing the State is ensuring that the security agencies of the state are firmly in place and are loyal to the new government and to the state as a whole, so there is no untoward upset in the state machinery. John Agyekum Kufuor, January 2001.Having been out of power for more than two decades and recalling the fate of theerstwhile government headed by President Hilla Limann, which was overthrown byJerry Rawlings two years after assuming office, President Kufuor was not apolo-getic about his concern for the security of his government. The President took anumber of steps on his assumption of office, which indicated that he wanted tomaintain direct control of the security sector. First, he appointed his brother, DrKwame Addo Kufuor into the position of Defence Minister. (He now also acts asInterior Minister since the Dagbon crisis precipitated the resignation of the erst-while Interior Minister, Alhaji Malik Alhassan.) Second, he swiftly replaced the Chief of Defence Staff and Commanders of theArmy, Navy and the Air Force as well as the Inspector-General of Police and theHead of the Bureau of National Investigation. He appointed a retired Defencechief, General Mohammed Hamidu as National Security Adviser (now also af-fected by the Dagbon crisis). General Hamidu spent most of the Rawlings era inthe United Kingdom and, fortuitously his old Military Academy friend and course-mate, Olusegun Obasanjo, had become President in neighbouring Nigeria. Nigeriareportedly provides a complement of the current presidential security in Ghana. Ona broader scale, President Kufuor also instituted a National Reconciliation Com-mission to investigate allegations of past human rights violations and the gov-ernment has assiduously pursued cases of corruption against the last administra-tion, with some members of the last government arraigned and convicted. In addi-tion, President Kufuor decided to stay in his own home, presumably to ensure hispersonal safety and security. While it is possible to capture all these presidential efforts within an institu-tional framework that approximates the thematic focus of the government strategyas: a) Subordination of the military to the civilian authority by placing civilians inkey military decision-making organs and through the retirement of ‘politicised’military officers; b) Addressing past human rights violations; and, c) Promoting ananti-corruption crusade in the security sector, it is very difficult to really capturewhatever reform that is going on in any institutional sense. Indeed, it would appearthat the focus of thinking on defence and security management issues residesoutside of government, in the Universities and more critically in the various think-tanks like African Security Research & Dialogue (ASDR), Ghana Centre for De-mocratic Development and the Foundation for Security and Development(FOSDA) to mention a few. While there is nothing wrong in this, there is very littleevidence that GoG is keen to utilise the services of these institutions in the gov-ernment reform programme in the security sector. This may well have arisen because the security sector reform agenda seeks toachieve just civilian control of the military, rather than democratic control of thearmed forces, which could be better achieved through an active and focused legis-lature and an empowered civil society. It is also very limited in its definition of
  • 68. 68 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebosecurity. As the quote above reveals, what securing the state means is ensuring thesubordination of the military to the civilian authority, not necessarily the profes-sionalisation of the armed forces which, in turn, ensures its autonomy from inter-ference by politicians. More importantly, it also fails to seek a broader understand-ing of security that links it to development. If the NPP government and President Kufuor in particular had taken the viewthat civilian control is an institutionalised process that is inherently political, thedeparture point for guaranteeing democratic governance of the security sector is theprotection of the Constitution. Framers of Ghana’s 1992 constitution successfullyfound a creative and thoughtful manner to address unconstitutional removal oflegitimate government. In great detail, Section 3 (3) of the Constitution declaresthat ‘Any person who a) by himself or in concert with others by any violent orother unlawful means, suspends, overthrows or abrogates this constitution or anypart of it, or attempts to do any such act;’ or (b) ‘aids and abets in any manner anyperson referred to in paragraph (a) of this clause; commits the offence of hightreason and shall upon conviction be sentenced to suffer death.’15 Significantly, in order to prevent the usual situation where the army over-throws the government and suspends the constitution, the 1992 constitution veststhe people of Ghana with the power to resist unconstitutional military takeover.Sub-section 4 makes clear that ‘All citizens of Ghana have the responsibilities andthe duty at all times’ to (a) ‘to defend this constitution, and in particular, to resistany person or group of persons seeking to commit any of the acts referred to inclause (3) of this article; and (b) to do all in their power to restore this constitutionafter it has been suspended, overthrown or abrogated as referred to in Clause 3 ofthis article.’ It goes further to declare that any one who participates in resistingsuch attempts or acts of suspending and abrogating it commits ‘no offence.’ In fact,according to sub-section 6, any one who participates in resisting such attacks on theconstitution and gets punished in whatever manner in the process shall, as soon asthe situation was restored, be ‘absolved from the liabilities arising out of the pun-ishment.’ In fact, the Constitution in sub-section 7 declares that ‘The SupremeCourt shall, on application by or on behalf of a person who has suffered any pun-ishment or loss to which Clause 6 of this article relates, award him or her adequatecompensation which shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund in respect of anysuffering or loss incurred as a result of the punishment.16 While it could still be reasonably argued that this comprehensive constitutionalprovision would not stop any trigger-happy soldier from undertaking an illegalmission such as overthrowing a constitutional government, it demonstrates in arather remarkable institutional manner the depth of feeling in the Ghanaian societyabout coups d’etat. The fact that this constitution was promulgated under the Rawl-ings military administration demonstrates an overriding commitment to constitu-tional rule or a depth of feeling in society which could not be overridden by thedrafters of the Constitution. Indeed, it is the only constitution in Africa that offersspecific incentives to any one who opposes the overthrow, abrogation or suspen-sion of the Constitution.15 The Constitution of Ghana, 1992.16 Ibid.
  • 69. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 69 In addition to the extensive coverage in the Constitution, the Rawlings gov-ernment also put in place an Intelligence Act, again one of the few Intelligencedocuments that outline the role and mission of intelligence services on the conti-nent.17 It seems to us therefore logical that an institutional assessment of securitysector reform, which includes Police reform and Intelligence services is whatshould be promoted under the current dispensation, rather than an anti-coup strat-egy. We have also attempted to examine national security issues from a muchbroader perspective than the military and thus the use of the concepts: ‘traditional’and ‘non-traditional’ security sectors. Of the traditional sector in Ghana, the military remains a major source of con-cern to government and civil society organisations in the current transition period.Military involvement in Ghanaian politics spans over two decades, giving it someedge over certain state institutions. Therefore, the military has been a major sourceof concern to the Kufuor administration since it assumed power. This is partlybecause of the need to avert a coup detat, and also the need to re-organise themilitary hierarchy to reflect the changing nature of Ghanaian politics whilststrengthening professionalism. The focus of attention has been rather selective,with the 64th Battalion, believed to harbour Rawlings loyalists and the Bureau ofNational Intelligence receiving more attention than any other security institution. In order to remove the last vestiges of Rawlings’ influence from the military,the Kufuor government had taken certain measures to deal with the 64th battalion.The battalion was disbanded and its members reintegrated into the military struc-ture and dispersed to other units, while others have been sent to Sierra Leone forpeacekeeping operations. Within the military itself, the NPP has taken measures toremove officers perceived to be political from the command structure of the mili-tary, especially in areas where they could pose security problems. Although mostappointments are now made on professional as well as on the basis of seniority,there is still a perception that ethnic considerations seem to characterise security-related appointments; and the demobilisation and reintegration of over-aged sol-diers (roughly 2000) into civil society continue to cause concern.18 The Bureau ofNational Investigations (BNI) is also being restructured to replace former NDCsympathisers with NPP supporters. The national security network is now domi-nated by the Dagbon elite and some former members of President Hilla Limann’ssecurity network. Many of these people are perceived to have personal scores tosettle with President Rawlings.The Rawlings factorFrom the current state of affairs, it is obvious that the Rawlings factor in Ghanaianpolitics receives a lot of attention in the media and government circles, but gov-ernment functionaries display a level of paranoia hardly commensurate to thedeclining influence of former President Rawlings in reality. The view of closewatchers is that the perception of Mr Rawlings as a major threat to the current17 See Johnny Kwadjo, Reform of the Intelligence Sector under the Rawlings’ Regime. Paper presented at theResearch Network on Democratisation and Security Sector Reform in Africa conference, Accra, Ghana, 26-28February, 2002. Johnny Kwadjo was formerly Deputy Director of the Bureau of National Intelligence.18 Emmanuel Kwesi Aning ‘Ghana Election 2000: Implications and Significance for the Future’ Africa Watch,2001, p. 40.
  • 70. 70 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebodemocratic transition is somewhat exaggerated. It is clear that there is a struggle forthe control of the NDC, between those who would like to remain a mainstreampolitical party, and would not like to be associated with Rawlings pronouncementsand those who believe that the fate of the party and Rawlings is inextricably inter-twined. Secondly, the National Reconciliation Commission, and the investigationsinto human rights abuses in the 1980s is bound to raise some issues likely to furthertarnish Rawlings image and his reputation as gory details of serious abuses andviolations, appear in the national press over the next few months. Issues surround-ing the murder of the 3 High court Judges and retired army officers will probablyimplicate Mr Rawlings directly. In light of the above, it seems as though Rawlings’influence in Ghanaian politics will diminish. Ultimately though, it is the ability ofthe government to translate the support of ordinary Ghanaians into concrete gainsthat will determine the growth or decline of the Rawlings factor.Chieftaincy and the Dagbon CrisisOne factor with potential dangers for Ghanaian national security is the issue of‘Chieftaincy’ in the North. There are many chieftaincy and ethnic disputes invarious parts of the country, but the most serious is the current Dagbon crisis in thenorthern region. While the current crisis can be traced to the 1920s as a disputebetween two different ‘gates’ or lineages that have fought over the occupation ofthis skin, the trigger factor to the current crisis occurred on 27 March 2002 whenthe Ya Na, Yakubu Andani II and others were brutally killed by armed assassinsbelieved to be sympathisers of or even hired by the Abudu gate. Politically, the Nkrumahist tradition had identified with the Andani gate, whilethe Danquah/Busia tradition of which the NPP is a product identified with theAbudu gate. It is widely held that in 1999-2000, some NPP leaders were bent ondeposing the Ya Na as a trade off for Abudu electoral support. 19 While this is notbased on solid evidence, the antecedents of NPP and the role of the government inenacting the 1971 Chieftaincy Law is partly at the root of current succession crisisand this makes the NPP government vulnerable to accusations of pro-Abudu fac-tion. This suspicion is largely reinforced by the presence in the government of al-leged partisans to the Abudu gate both at the national security and northern re-gion’s administrative positions. They include: Aliu Mahama (Vice President),Joshua Hamidu (National Security Adviser), Malik Alhassan Yakubu (InteriorMinister) and Major Suleimana (National Security Council). Others include theNorthern Region Minister and Yendi District Chief Executive. Moreover, therewere situations in which the Abudu faction was given certain courtesies that areexclusively due to the Ya Na – courtesy calls from visiting state dignitaries. What baffles keen observers is that while the government is believed to havehad prior knowledge and the appropriate means to prevent the killings, nothing wasdone to stop the impending crisis. In fact, there were police and military garrisonsabout 300-500 metres respectively from the palace where the killing occurred butyet they failed to intervene in the crisis as required of them.19 See Socialist Forum of Ghana, Perspective on the Dagbon Crisis.
  • 71. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 71 This crisis has serious implications for national security, given the ease withwhich small arms could be obtained and the presence of an army of young, unem-ployed and often unemployable youths ready to be used as pawns. The area ischaracterised by poverty, unemployment, and low educational standards. Thesefactors can induce the youth to be easily recruited for armed violence. With reportsthat both factions are stockpiling weapons and training fighters, it looks like if thesituation is not handled very well, the north could be engulfed by armed violence.There are beliefs that this could spread throughout Ghana due to certain factors.First, the Konkomba who fought the Dagomba, Gonja and Nanumba in 1992 dohave interest in the Dagbon affairs because the apparent Andani candidate for theskin has a Konkomba link from the mother side. Currently, he is said to be underprotection of the Konkomba whose involvement in the crisis could spark an all outNorthern crisis.20 There is also the possibility that the current anti-NPP feelings in relation to thiscrisis could translate into anti-Ashanti hostility. Already, there is talk of attackingAshantis in any renewed fighting. If this happens, then one could see a bloody civilconflict in the country. Another point to note is that the military in Togo is allegedto have tortured and killed a Konkomba chief in Togo. Thus, rumours have it thatthe Konkomba in Togo are mobilising for conflict. With some Konkombas believ-ing that the NPP is aligned with their Togolese enemies, perhaps the Dagbon crisisshould be taken seriously like other national security issues.21Non-Traditional Security IssuesThus, while most people are devoting much attention to the Rawlings factor, per-haps the point should be made that like other West African countries such as Li-beria and Sierra Leone, there is a possibility for social unrest led by civilians.While there is no clear leader for such unrest, the factors that produced wars inthese West African states are prevalent in Ghana today. Walking the streets of thecapital, there is a widening gap between those who have and those who do not. Thelevel of pauperisation is such that any opportunist could take advantage of it todestabilise the entire country. The vast majority of the people envy the big man-sions, flashy cars and affluent life styles of the few who have. In fact, there areconstant complaints by ordinary people including taxi drivers and students that thegovernment’s policies favour only the middle class. Other factors that could threaten the national security of Ghana include smallarms proliferation and the issues of Chieftaincy and land disputes. Therefore, inanalysing the security sector in Ghana and perhaps elsewhere in Africa, it is im-portant to also include these in the non-traditional sector of national security. WestAfrica is beset with the problem of small arms proliferation with 8 million smallarms illegally circulating. In Ghana, about 40,000 arms are in illegal hands, andthese are unlicensed. In view of this reality, any attempt to focus analysis of the20 See Socialist Forum of Ghana, Perspective on the Dagbon Crisis, Already, at least five people were killed andno fewer than 336 people displaced as a result of communal clashes between the Konkomba and Nawuri ethnicgroups at Kitare in Nkwanta District in the Eastern Volta of Ghana in the first week in November.21 Ibid.
  • 72. 72 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebosecurity sector purely on the traditional sector is problematic. In Africa and else-where in the developing world, civilians lead armed insurgencies. Some of these weapons are produced locally but they also come from othersources. According to a report produced by the Accra-based FOSDA, there areboth external and internal sources of small arms. Regionally, the conflicts inGuinea, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone are possible sources; other sour-ces include countries bordering Ghana including Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire andTogo. And there are three categories of people who are identified as carriers ofweapons: farmers, traders and herders whose activities cut across borders; refugeesand Ghanaian residents travelling from Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso; andprofessional gun-runners who sell guns as a business exercise.22 Since 1966, guns have been stolen from state stocks as a result of five militarycoups. It is interesting to note that some of the weapons are not only locally manu-factured, but Ghanaians also sell guns to neighbouring West African countries. Forexample, in 1999, the Western Marine Command of Nigeria’s Customs Servicearrested six Ghanaians in a Canoe. Those arrested had 72,500 rounds of live am-munition and 99 sacks of shotguns from Ghana.23 This means that weapons areeasily accessible in Ghana and thus a threat to national security. In summary, the above issues illustrate that the threat to the Ghanaian demo-cratic transition may not necessarily come from the military or any other section ofthe traditional security sector; it may come as well from the non-traditional sectoror a combination of factors. This means that there is a need to look at the Ghanaiansecurity sector from a more comprehensive perspective by addressing the broaderissues that could impinge upon it in an uncontrollable way.General State of the Economy & Ghana’s Poverty ReductionStrategy (GPRS)Generally, the economy is no better than where the NDC left it. Over the past twodecades, market forces have dominated the economy and this trend has continuedwith the new government, which had promised a ‘golden age of business’. Theeconomy is reliant on the export of primary products, thus making it vulnerable tothe general shocks of the global economy including price fluctuations. Further-more, since the 1990s, the economy has been characterised by high rates of infla-tion, high interest rates, depreciation of the cedi, dwindling foreign reserves, exces-sive public debt overhang and stagnant economic growth.24 After two years, this situation has, not unexpectedly, not been reversed. In-dustries have collapsed, the level of poverty is not diminishing and more and morepeople are not gaining access to education and health care. In fact, the healthsystem is based on what is referred to as ‘cash and carry’ system. The spending onhealth and education at 2.0% and 2.8% respectively of the GDP is lower thanAfrican averages.25 To many people, things like the ‘cash and carry’ system in22 See FOSDA Report on Small Arms Proliferation in Ghana. Untitled and Unpublished, p. 7.23 FOSDA, p. 22. See also Ghana Council Reacts to Arms Peddlers’ Arrest in Nigeria, 1 August 1999, GPRS, p. iv.25 GPRS, p. iv.
  • 73. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 73health services only benefit the middle class who can afford to pay for such ser-vices. In a country where HIV/Aids infection is estimated at 3 per cent of the entirepopulation, this selective health system constitutes a national security threat thatneeds immediate and urgent attention. Describing the current state of the economy in Ghana, the current AttorneyGeneral, Nana Akuffo Addo, had this to say: ‘we are poorer than we were at inde-pendence. Average per capita income, US$420 at independence, is now US$370today, 44 years later. The average real wage is a quarter of what it was in 1970,thirty years ago. 40% of our population lives below the poverty line. Our economyis still neo-colonial in structure, dependent on the production and export of rawmaterials which account for over 80% of our foreign exchange earning, like theydid 80 years ago in Governor Guggisberg’s time’.26 The above statement fully captures the current state of the economy andwhether this government can reverse such trend is premature to say. With theappalling state of social conditions including the appearance of rough sleepers inthe streets of Accra and the increase in armed robbery, the government needs toaddress the issue of poverty reduction in a more serious and realistic way.Ghanas Poverty Reduction StrategyPRSPs are intended as national statements of overall plans to reduce poverty, basedon a process of broad consultations, developed in a three year frame of action-plan,albeit set in a longer time frame for sustainable development but monitored annu-ally for compliance and targets. The current GPRS emerged out of broad consultation and an assessment of thepoverty level in the regions. It is preceded by two other national developmentstrategies: Ghana Vision 2020 – The First Step (1996-2000) and the Interim Pov-erty Reduction Strategy Paper: 2000-2002 (I-PRSP). The GPRS-I was worked outas a draft in fulfilment of HIPC conditions, but unfortunately, Ghana did not meetthe conditions to qualify for HIPC. In this light, the current GPRS has taken offwhere the previous government ended. At the time, the major challenges included: weak national ownership, un-realistic implementation strategies and inadequate financing. The current GPRS hasbeen formulated with these challenges in mind in specific relation to addressingthem and instituting a broad-based consensus among government, civil society,private sector and development partners.27 The main aims of the GPRS are to ‘ensure sustainable equitable growth, accel-erated poverty reduction and the protection of the vulnerable and excluded within adecentralized, democratic environment’.28 Everyone we talked to agreed that theNPP Government is committed to the GPRS and the major priority is infrastructuredevelopment with Road construction as one of the top on the list of priorities. Byopening up the rural areas through road construction, there is the thinking that itwill provide an incentive and enable rural people have access to the market. Linked26 Hon. Nana Akufo-Addo, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, The Consolidation of Democracy in Ghana,2 July 2001, p. 28.27 Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (2002-2004). An Agenda for Growth and Prosperity. Analysis and PolicyStatement, 20 February, 2002. p. iii.28 GPRS, p. 16.
  • 74. 74 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebowith this is assistance to the agricultural sector – especially the food crop growers.The help provided will be geared at improving productivity and thus, cocoa far-mers have received help in the area of spraying their cocoa and a credit scheme hasbeen set up. For rural dwellers, cooperative and income generation credits, andwomen are targets. From the discussions held with the Technical Advisers in the Ministry of Fi-nance and the Ministry of Economic Planning and Regional Integration, it is clearthat the GPRS also focuses on social services including the need to address theinequality in education and health, and access to drinking water and training. Whilethe will and commitment to implement the GPRS are apparent, there are obstaclesto implementing the programme. Time, resources and capacity are lacking for theimplementation of this three-year programme. Titled ‘Agenda for Growth and Prosperity’, the two volume document explainsthe thematic priority areas, namely a) Macro-economic Stability b) IncreasedProduction and Gainful Employment c) Human Resources Development andProvision of Basic Services d) Special programmes for the Vulnerable and theExcluded and e) Good Governance in Volume 1 and the costings and financing ofthe programmes and projects are contained in Volume II. The total cost of the GPRS is estimated to be US5112.6 million allocated overthe five thematic areas as follows: Thirteen per cent for programmes geared to-wards ensuring macro-economic stability (which really focuses on reducing andrestructuring the domestic debt burden and flat allocation of HIPC first tranche toevery district in the country), 36 per cent for enhancing production and gainfulemployment whilst 42 per cent is for enhancing human resources development andefficient and equitable provision of basic social services. Seven per cent of the totalcost is for developing and implementing special programmes for the vulnerable andthe excluded, and about 3% for pursuing and supporting activities and institutionalreforms that enhance good governance.29 Due to what has been described as ‘resource and capacity constraints’, GoGhas identified medium term priorities to be implemented over a three-year period –2002 – 2004. These include: infrastructure development, which will focus on ‘roadconstruction particularly feeder road networks into agricultural communities’,according to officials; modernization of agriculture and rural development with afocus on rice and cassava production under a presidential initiative; improvementof social services with particular emphasis to health and education; good govern-ance and private sector development. The cost of this medium term priority pro-grammes is estimated to be $2401 million to be financed mainly from GoG’srevenues including savings from the HIPC initiative.Highlights of the GPRS PrioritiesWealth Creation and PrivatisationUnder this Government, there seems to be an emphasis on private sector develop-ment as engine of growth. This means that there is no difference between what the29 GPRS, Volume II, p.1.
  • 75. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 75NDC did and what is being done except that the NPP is bent on promoting what itcalls ‘Property Owning Democracy’. To a large extent, the NPPs privatisationprocess is a continuation from where the NDC left off. For example, the AirportCargo Handling has been privatised; at the Port, some terminals have also beenprivatised; private participation in Telecommunication has been on the increase andthere has seen a significant rise in the number of telephone users. There are nowfour new mobile telephone operators with the subscriber base growing from 31,000in early 1999 to 55,000 by early 2000 but landline telephone subscriber base is stillwoefully inadequate at 4 lines per 1000. There is an attempt to introduce privateparticipation in Railways as well as Water Corporation. In all these sectors, foreigncompanies will play a big role, as local businesses and investors cannot adequatelycompete. One major headache facing the NPP government is the Tema Oil Refinery(TOR). In addition to political reasons, the government cannot easily privatise itbecause of its high indebtedness to domestic sources. For example, in 2001 thegovernment took over part of TOR’s indebtedness to the banking system by con-verting 979 billion cedis into 3-5 years bonds. Currently, the Bank of Ghana re-mains exposed to the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) to the sum of c0.9 trillioncedis on account of a margin deposit placed with GCB on behalf of TOR. As longas TOR is incapable of financing crude oil imports from its own resources, thissituation will continue.30 Ghana Airways is another headache for the government as it owes nearly $160million to various trade creditors and lenders and has even defaulted on debt pay-ments. Nationwide of South Africa is interested but there are doubts as to whetherit has the expertise and equipment to provide a long-term recovery of the airline.Besides the competence issue, the privatisation of Ghana Airways will remain acontentious issue since there is no consensus amongst Ghanaians in favour ofprivatisation of public enterprises. As witnessed in the course of this study, the privatisation of water has beengreeted with public outcry. Groups like ISODEC remain the most vocal opponentsof the water privatisation issues. However, others like the Community Develop-ment and Advocacy Centre (CODAC) are also looking at the health and socialimplications of the privatisation on children and women in Ghana. Some NGOsand civil society organisations have also pointed out that the government has plansto privatise land reserves, and government controlled land. There are no firm planson this yet, but it is clear that land privatisation is likely to be limited to land notunder customary or paramount chiefs control; otherwise it could be a source ofconflict. According to some observers, local businesses will not benefit from the priva-tisation exercises because they lack the financial resources to do so. It is not clearas to how far the government’s Business Assistance Fund will go in helping localbusinesses develop.Critique of the GPRS process30 ISSER, The State of the Economy in Ghana in 2001, (Accra: The Institute of Statistical, Social and EconomicResearch, University of Ghana, Legon, June 2002) p. 2.
  • 76. 76 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya YeeboAlthough, GoG has laid out its priorities with some clarity on GPRS and, officials,especially the technical advisers display a high level of synergy and coordination;they also expressed their concerns about the challenges posed by poor capacitywith regards to meeting the medium term objectives that have been clearly out-lined. This is a serious issue to which we need to return with regards to this mid-term review of the government’s policy implementation. It is however important toreview the GPRS in the context of ownership – in terms of consultation on povertydiagnosis and institutionalised mechanisms for accountability and government’scommitment to continued involvement of civil society. With regards to consultation, the GPRS team explained that their definition ofpoverty came from thirty six community studies in six of Ghana’s ten regions.After arriving at the thematic priorities, the team went back to the stakeholders tocorroborate if the thematic priorities accurately reflected the input earlier made bythem. While the extent of the consultation was not generally questioned, there hasbeen criticism that the distribution of the GPRS benefits does not reflect the resultsof the poverty survey according to which certain regions like the north are thepoorest. In response to this alleged lack of spatial distribution of funds and ben-efits, Advisers in the Ministries made it clear that the funds could not be distributedaccording to the results of the poverty survey for political reasons. If they wentstrictly by the results of the poverty survey, then regions like Central Accra wouldnot get anything. This would have been politically damaging for the NPP. While it is difficult to accurately measure the degree of input made by the or-dinary people into the GPRS debate, one could actually say that their ability toinfluence the GPRS outcome appeared relatively minimal. The evidence from theGhanaian media would appear to suggest that this was not even a priority issue forthe people. Second, there was a common tendency to relate all debates about eco-nomic reform and poverty reduction to the HIPC controversy, a tendency whichobfuscated a clear understanding of issues relating to GPRS from the media per-spective. There was however another problem with media coverage of the adminis-tration. Having seen itself as playing a critical role in the exit of the NDC gov-ernment, there is a sense in which the media has engaged in a level of self-censorship in relation to the administration. With the exception of the FM radiostations where free ranging debates about government performance were regular, itwas difficult to get the sense of a countervailing independent thought on issuesrelating to GPRS in the media. The same cannot be said of organized labour, the business chamber of com-merce, the non-governmental sector and women’s organizations. Yet, even in thesesectors where efforts were made to raise issues and engage in debates on GPRS,the written positions of these constituencies often conflict with the little overtresistance displayed against the Government position in reality. It may well be thatthey were broadly in agreement with the views held in government, presumablybecause the views originally belonged to these stakeholders. Yet one issue thatappeared to put things into perspective in the course of this survey was waterprivatisation. Whereas the TUC had officially endorsed water privatisation, thelocal Union representing water corporation staff was vehemently opposed to it andsections of the social forces – such as Integrated Social Development Centre
  • 77. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 77(ISODEC) were also opposed. This of course raises the question about the relation-ship between the TUC leadership and the wider labour movement. This phenomenon has also been played out in relation to GPRS. In its officialviews on the GPRS, the TUC criticized what it perceived as a ‘creation of appear-ance of broader consultations between government and civil society’, which is notthe reality. Contrary to this, it identified two processes in tandem – the politicalrelations and policies that are being established between the GoG and the Board-room in Washington (read World Bank and IMF) and the appearance of broadconsultations in civil society.31 Apart from the nature of the consultation, the TUCalso raised concern about the funding uncertainty surrounding GPRS. It then won-dered if the consultations were not just a case of showing ‘evidence’ to the Fundand the Bank rather than a genuine commitment to broad consultation with civilsociety. Apart from process issues, TUC also criticized the ‘excessively monetarist andfiscal pre-occupation which prevents the policy framework from addressing thereal roots of poverty and thereby developing policy instruments that tackle povertyon a systemic basis…we should not make a fetish of macro-economic stability,especially when such stabilization policies have not yielded any significant socialand economic benefit to the masses that suffer most from these policies’. Follow-ing on from this general criticism, the TUC then highlighted a number of areas ofparticular interest to the Congress. These included: adoption and application oflabour standards; promotion of equity through tackling the problem of low salariesand wages; tax policies that demonstrates commitment to poverty reduction; spatialdistribution of new investments; opposition to the privatisation of social securityarrangements; involvement of the poor in the design and implementation of theGPRS with a specific focus on Food crop growers and women and capacity build-ing for implementation.32 Although the above critique was rendered in September 2001, by the time wemet the representatives of the TUC in September 2002, the criticism was largelymuted and the impression given was that organized labour broadly endorses the fullGPRS document. Now, it may well be that the earlier concerns raised by the work-ers’ representatives have been fed into the final document and indeed some of themhave been visibly incorporated – for example the focus of the Presidential SpecialInitiative on rice and cassava growers as well as women. It may however also be a reflection of the warmth between organized labourand the government of the day. A recent study of the relationship between orga-nized labour and previous governments, has however argued that the answer lies‘partly in the fact that, …the Industrial Relations Act of 1958 and succeedinglegislation had turned TUC into an arm of the State, dependent on the State and inturn dominating the national and local unions and rendering industrial actionspractically impossible.’33 Again, while the above may indeed be true, our own findings revealed a morepernicious problem. Although the TUC was in its public utterances opposed to the‘nature of consultation’ and the eventual ‘outcome’ of the PRSP ‘broad consulta-31 Views of the Trades Union Congress (Ghana) on GPRS, op-cit, p.2.32 p. 9, ibid.33 Eboe Hutchful, Ghana’s Adjustment Experience: The Paradox of Reform (London: James Currey, 2002), p. 170.
  • 78. 78 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebotion’, there was no blueprint articulating in any comprehensive manner the alterna-tive vision to what was being criticized by organized labour except the 10-pagecritique referred to above. The TUC’s capacity to do this was severely limited. Avisit to the Economic Research Department showed how limited the researchcapacity was limited to rudimentary data-gathering, economic and policy analysiscapacity. Indeed, one got the impression that the TUC Economic Research De-partment at the time of our visit had become a receptacle for international labourmovement’s data gathering exercise, rather than focusing on issues that seemed ofpressing importance to the Ghanaian workers. To this end, policy makers are of theview that Labour has not really lived up to expectation as an effective member ofThe Tripartite Committee. Yet, if organized labour’s response to the GPRS has not demonstrated any co-ordinated strategy, the political parties have even proved more incoherent. Theofficial opposition party – the National Democratic Congress - has proved lessinterested in the debate surrounding the GPRS. This is partly due to the fact thatthey are not in any way fundamentally opposed to the ideas and ideology thatinformed the making of the GPRS. For example, in the party manifesto leading up to the 2000 election, NDC en-dorsed the idea of a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) as the mainlending instrument in place of Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) inits 2000 party manifesto.34 It based this endorsement on the ‘fairly successful’poverty reduction programmes, which saw the percentage of Ghanaians classifiedas poor fall by 8.2% between 1992 and 1998. For the period 2001-2005, NDC promised to ‘expand and deepen the imple-mentation of an integrated approach to poverty alleviation’. It highlighted availab-ility of social facilities, education, jobs and income generation ventures for the pooras priority items. Complementary programmes will also focus on agriculture andfood security, small businesses, rural and urban development and social safety nets.Also, the manifesto specifically promised to freeze new releases into the ‘PovertyAlleviation Fund of the District Assemblies Common Fund and the money loanedout will be recovered through a revolving loan scheme operated to continue theFund’s operations.35 Perhaps this explains why NDC parliamentarians have beengenerally supportive of the government’s GPRS since the full paper is not mark-edly different from the original intentions of the NDC as contained in the partymanifesto. Although the NPP and its earlier Busia-Danquah tradition has been pro-marketand pro economic reform since its founding and thus has little difficulty convincingthe IFIs of their commitment to an agenda for economic liberalisation, it is fair tosay that the basis for current reform had been laid by the (P) NDC governmentwhich earned Ghana the sobriquet of ‘Africa’s adjustment miracle kid’ in Wash-ington. The fact that the eventual product failed to meet the hype surroundingGhana’s commitment to the reform agenda mattered little. The smaller minority34 See National Democratic Congress, Ghana: Spreading the Benefits of Development Election 2000 PartyManifesto (Accra, 2000).35 Ibid.
  • 79. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 79parties have demonstrated even less focus on issues relating to GPRS, except in aplatitudinous manner, save the erstwhile National Reform Party.36 Civil society institutions are however quick off the mark in the debate. Non-governmental policy think-tanks were able to collect and collate opinions whichprovided independently verifiable information that could be used in countering theone-sided view on people’s attitude to Poverty and market reform.37 Of the manycivil society organisations that have focussed on these issues, Integrated SocialDevelopment Centre (ISODEC) stands out as the most consistent.Potential Constraints in GPRS ImplementationLeaving aside the alleged ‘lack of broad consultation’, the NPP government’sdemonstrable commitment to the GPRS and the overall reform agenda will stillsuffer from a number of institutional constraints. Many of these constraints willundermine the high level of coordination and synergy evident in the manner thetechnocrats in charge have managed the process so far, if not speedily and compre-hensively addressed. These include, but are not necessarily limited to the follow-ing:a) Institutional/Role clarification problems: The present Government inheritedseveral bureaucratic problems. Top among these is the perennial need for roleclarification and institutional coordination between Economic Planning and Fi-nance Ministries. Further, under the NDC government, there was no functionalrelationship between the Bank of Ghana (BOG) and the Ministry of Finance(MOF). This was partly caused by the fact that there was a problem between thePresident and the Minister of Finance – and both were not on speaking terms. Sincethe inception of the current Government, efforts have been made to improve theserelationships, which are crucial to the implementation of the GPRS and generalmanagement of the economy. This has been the case with advisers and other seniorstaff of these two ministries who meet on the regular basis to compare notes. Rela-tions have also improved between the BOG and MOF to the extent that the lattergets regular (almost daily) reports on the state of finance from the BOG.b) Capacity constraints: Perhaps the most critical of the capacity problem is that ofcapacity within the economic management team and the macro-economic team –the Economic Policy Coordinating Committee.(EPCC). Unlike in the previousPNDC regime where the distinction between ‘politicians’ and ‘technocrats’ wasoften blurred with the trio of Drs Joseph Abbey (the adjustment czar), Dr KwesiBotchwey, the Secretary of Finance and the Deputy Secretary for Finance, Paa-Kwesi Amissah-Arthur playing all sides, what is evident in the current governmentis that while the Senior economic management team, although technically compe-tent, appear to leave the detailed work to the critical members of the macro-economic team – the Head of the GPRS group now based in the Ministry of Eco-nomic Planning and Regional Integration, the Special Assistant to the FinanceMinister, the Special Assistant to the Governor of the Central Bank, are mostly36 See section on political parties and the CPP Activists’ Platform in the Appendix.37 See Afrobarometer Survey on Ghana at:
  • 80. 80 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebotechnocrats. Politically savvy, what came through in discussions with the team wasa high level of clarity about where things were headed. The confidence they displayis infectious around government establishment and conveyed the impression thatthey had a relatively free hand to determine the shape of things as long as it fittedinto the overall framework.Another point to note is the small and homogenous nature of the team – they aremainly Ashanti – and clearly neo-liberal in outlook. Yet they also display a hugesense of economic nationalism, which might appear incompatible with the broaderoutlook of the party in government. For example, they emphasise the critical im-portance of having a document that is ‘Ghanaian’, not one imposed from outside.To this end, they narrated how they were able to win the argument on the need tooffset domestic debts through PRSP funding as a mechanism for poverty reduction.The effort to adopt road infrastructure as a key medium term priority was anotherissue that generated initial disagreement but was also eventually accepted by theIFIs. Even if the competence of this team is not in doubt, their readiness to stay thecourse of the administration remains very much in doubt. For example, the Head ofthe GPRS team came on leave of absence from Howard University in the UnitedStates and plans to return after two years in office. The Special Assistant to theFinance Minister is in the same boat. This has serious implications for the pro-gramme implementation. In addition to the problems of retaining this core team, ofthe 42 positions that are currently vacant within the GPRS context, only 12 havebeen filled. Second, there is the lack of trained human resources, a factor compounded bytensions between serving civil servants and Ministers or NPP Advisers. Generally,the level of competence and skilled capacity in the civil service is also very low. Inthe office of the Auditor-General, a statutory body responsible for auditing theCentral and Local Administrations, Public Corporations, and various sub ventedorganisations in addition to the country’s Foreign Exchange in and outside Ghana,there are only four professional accountants. The office of the Comptroller andAccountant General’s Department has only two qualified Accountants.38 Moreover,there is lack of adequate equipment and often many of the people employed withIT skills may not necessarily have knowledge of accounting packages. The NPP government has responded to the lack of skills base and capacity inthe interim by filling key positions with Consultants, most of who have been hur-riedly recruited from American Universities and Colleges or from the exile com-munity. The governments use of Consultants also creates tension between themand serving civil servants who are poorly paid. The government argues that thecivil service had been politicised under the NDC era. Basically, the NPP regardedmost civil servants as pro-Rawlings. This was confirmed when some civil servantshid old files and opened new ones to cover up for cases of corruption or incompe-tence. Clearly, the NPP government could not trust some of them.38 S.K. Apea ‘The Monitoring of the Operations of the Bank of Ghana by the Auditor-General and other Compo-nent Bodies’, Legislative Act, vol. 1, no. 8. A Publication of the Institute of Economic Affairs, August 2001, p. 3.
  • 81. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 81c) Problems with the Civil Service: Yet, what could have eased this capacity con-straint is the utilisation of the civil servants a lot more. Yet, support for the work ofthe Macro-economic team from the top and middle levels of Government was weakand even where competence was not the problem; commitment to the party wasseen as paramount. Since, quite a number of these senior civil servants had been inservice throughout the (P)NDC days, the NPP found it very difficult to count ontheir loyalty.Besides the issue of loyalty though, there were the usual civil service problems:service insecurity, poor pay, erosion of tenure and frequent changes in regime andpolicy direction, all of which produced a situation where the civil servants are neithertrusted to serve the government of the day, or are unwilling or unable to place theirexpertise and knowledge at their disposal. The implication of this is clearly that thekey members of the team are severely overstretched. Yet, attempts by government torecruit consultants and highly competent staff at a level higher than the civil servicegrade with adequate incentives has met with powerful resistance from the civil servicebureaucracy. The economic reform team however insists that the situation with thecivil service is improving and both teams are keen to ensure the success of the GPRS.d) Financing delays: In terms of financing, the government currently relies onfunds from ‘on-going poverty-related projects, HIPC savings, GOG sources, donorsupport and non-traditional sources to finance the projects, programmes and activi-ties under the GPRS’.39 In private, Government Advisers acknowledge worriesabout the delays in the release of donor funds/support upon which GPRS is de-pendent to a large extent. Out of the HIPC funds, about 20% goes to domestic debtrepayment and the rest will go towards GPRS projects.The implications of the above for GPRS implementation are not difficult to imag-ine. Indeed, The Economic Intelligence Unit had predicted as far back as July 2002that ‘implementation of the GPRS is likely to encounter setbacks because of thepoor capacity of the civil service’. It argues that ‘most, if not all of the privatiza-tions planned for this year will not happen until 2003’, but the macro-economicteam insist that everything that they are doing is on course. Indeed, it certainlyappears to us as we talked to various government functionaries that there is anunderlying strategy to start implementation of the noticeable reform projects a yearto the election in the expectation that people will acknowledge this, and ignore theunmet needs of the past two years. What this ignores, even if true is the unforeseen crisis that increasing in-equality and depth of poverty can trigger if poverty reduction programmes areignored, especially in the contest over resources among the districts. The Dagboncrisis in Northern Ghana (more on this later) probably underscores the importanceof ‘securing the state’ in the wider sense of the security complex which has beendiscussed above.39 GPRS, p. vii.
  • 82. 82 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya YeeboGeneral Conclusions1. Ghana is still experiencing some shocks in its political economy in the country’sattempt to deal with its post-military, prolonged authoritarian past. While alterna-tion of power is seen to have helped in the consolidation of the democratic process,there are fears that severe security problems triggered by lack of access to re-sources might create further security challenges. Commentators often cite theDagbon crisis in Northern Ghana as the touchstone of this issue. Nevertheless, thepresent government appears to have a strong appreciation of the place of securityand economic revitalisation in the country’s growth and developmental process. Italso displays an understanding of the holistic approach that is required to deal withthe multifaceted nature of the security challenges it faces, although its responsesare often too personality-driven, rather than institutionally focused, placing demo-cratic governance of the security issue as an issue in dire need of attention. Thatsaid, the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy incorporates this holistic vision bysetting out the priorities of the GoG in a clear and concise manner and also provid-ing costings.2. Government policies to redress poverty and other socio-economic concerns havejust reached the implementation stages. Progress made so far is commendable, butchallenges remain. Given the limited resources and the uncertainty of foreigninjection of support and the scale and diversity of the challenges, GoG’s macro-economic strategies have received commendation from critical constituencies,although many are still worried about the feasibility of timely implementationgiven the severe capacity constraints that GoG is experiencing.3. Clearly, the internal threats that Ghana has to confront are potentially dangerous.Many of them have to do with who lost power, who has gained power and who iswielding power. In dealing with them, Government has to adopt an institutionalapproach that does not paint its actions as patently partisan. There is no doubt thatthere are concerns about the investigations into past human rights violations as wellas with the restructuring within the security sector and the anti-corruption investi-gations. Although these are steps that have proved popular with the people, carehas to be taken to ensure that actions do not undermine the human rights andfundamental freedom of citizens. The danger of a heavy handed approach to inter-nal security, given the paranoia that has attended recent statements by formerPresident Rawlings, is that the Government risks destroying the very values it istrying to protect. Yet, there is always the risk of doing little, If the GoG is per-ceived as failing to provide even the minimum security requirements demanded bycitizens. This certainly has featured in the response in the media to rising crime andinsecurity.4. West Africa is in an unstable region that poses a number of direct and indirectthreats. The threat from the neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire(see Briefings section)given recent crisis is by far the most critical. For example, Ghana is one of theneighbours of Cote d’Ivoire; they share ethnic groups and there are a lot of Ghana-ian migrant labourers in the country. If the situation in Cote d’Ivoire worsens and
  • 83. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 83and becomes protracted as we have seen with the wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone,Ghana could be flooded with refugees. In addition, Ghanaian migrant labourers,some of whom have lived in that country for more than three decades will beforced to return home with their families. This will impinge upon the economy ofGhana and possibly affect safety and security, disease and poverty. Currently, thereare roughly 25,000 Liberian refugees in the Buduburam refugee camp near Accra.Others have settled in different parts of the country unaccounted for. Already theGhanaian economy cannot cater for these refugees and therefore the arrival of morerefugees could cause social upheaval and lead to increasing xenophobia in a coun-try over-burdened by its own internal problems.5. The problems with Togo, albeit resolved at the level of the two presidents, giventheir rapport, is by no means totally removed. Equally, threats to internal securityfrom armed robbery and small arms proliferation emanating from the anarchiccircumstances in the sub-region over the past decade indicate the longer-termimpact of these external problems. Although Ghana is fully engaged in the effortsmade at the sub-regional level to address regional instability and promote integra-tion, there is a case to be made for a coherent and coordinated security policyresponse. Relations with the sub-regional hegemon, Nigeria, is very crucial in thisrespect. Having a Ghanaian at the helm of affairs in ECOWAS – the sub-region’smain inter-governmental organisation should also have a bearing on Ghana’scontinued commitment to regional integration.6. Governance is at the core of all the concerns raised above. The success of GoG’sdemocratisation and decentralisation programmes, and policies to improve govern-ance and civil-military relations are as important to the overall performance of theGovernment as are the socio-economic performance criteria. Issues of governanceloom large in all discussions of Ghana’s future, and it ought to take a more seriousform of constant dialogue and consensus building, legislative advocacy and action,independent awareness-raising through institutions such as the Commission onHuman Rights and Administrative Justice and the National Commission for CivicEducation etc. All indications point towards a commitment to good governanceeven if a coherent strategy is still lacking and the Ghanaian authorities have alreadyoffered the country for NEPAD’s Africa Peer Review Mechanism as it securesnomination to the Heads of State Implementation Committee of NEPAD.7. Related to the effectiveness of a governance strategy is the question of capacity.High priority should be placed on redressing the policy expertise and human re-source imbalance that is critically hampering the performance of government.Although there are competent, middle level technical advisers in government, theyare sometimes too overwhelmed with administrative drudgery and thus unable toconcentrate on crucial thinking on policy review and formulation.8. All of the above underscore the important point that this is a process and thatthere is no teleological link between alternation of power and consolidation ofdemocracy. Yet, deepening democracy is a core requirement for building an ac-
  • 84. 84 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebocountable and transparent State that is answerable to its citizens and guarantee theirsecurity and development.Policy Recommendations1. The shortage of skilled expertise, trained managers and civil servants capable ofoperating within government machineries needs to be speedily addressed. In theshort term, this has been addressed by short-term employment of consultants, butthis is too short term. Alternatively, GoG needs to address the incentives base forcivil servants to a level commensurate to what obtains in the private sector. Itequally needs to set up a rapid response, in-country educational and training fa-cility for middle level, career civil servants.2. A strategic review of the security services should be carried out as soon aspossible, in order to define more precisely the missions and tasks of the securityforces and allocate resources accordingly. Many whimsical initiatives have beentaken to professionalise and ‘right-size’ the security forces but now is the time toconduct a holistic coherence check of all aspects of the security sector. The conclu-sions of such a review will play a major part in ensuring that the basis of the con-clusions drawn is known to all while enhancing the prospects for broad ownershipof the process and democratic, civilian control of the security sector. Equally, itwould once and for all help address the perennial questions of force structure andlevels; autonomy of the security sector, professionalism of the armed forces, andwho does what and when.3. The Police Force remains a crucial institution in Ghana, especially in the light ofincreasing national insecurity around robbery, murders, domestic violence, etc.High priority should be given to funding organisational changes within the PoliceForce under the authority of the Interior Ministry. Although we are aware that thePolice is now receiving some attention via a UNDP sponsored, and ASDR runcapacity development initiative, appropriate training and technical back up for thePolice can hardly be over-emphasised. Only a rapid and sustainable growth ofprofessional police who enjoy the confidence of both local communities and theinternational institutions can guarantee the internal stability of Ghana and stop theproliferation of so called private security outfits, in the near to the medium term.Civil society should be increasingly involved in the debate concerning develop-ment and security in Ghana, rather than being marginalised. This is both to engen-der local support and to gain legitimisation.4. Even so, this is a regional, rather than an exclusively national problem. Giventhe proliferation of arms and narco-drug trafficking in the sub-region and the heavypresence of soldiers of fortune, Ghana is involved at the level of ECOWAS in thedevelopment of the West African Region’s Police Chiefs Coordinating Organisa-tion (WARPCO), whose objectives is to provide and share region-wide intelligenceon criminal networks operating across West Africa and elsewhere. The challenge isto institutionalise this initiative.
  • 85. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 855. Following the commitment that the international donor community has shown toGhana over the last two decades, continued but better targeted support is needed toenable Ghana deepen its democracy as a mechanism for preventing conflict andbuilding peace. It is to these set of specific ideas that we turn for elaboration.International institutions should seek out and work with local grassroots organisa-tions, womens groups, youth groups, etc to build a national coalition for govern-ance and democracy issues nationally. This role should not be left to professionalcivil society groups with no links to the rural areas, and groups outside mainstreamcivil society groups.6. The GoG and donor agencies need to pay particular attention to the prevailingpoverty situation in the country because of the serious security risks it poses to thedemocratic transition. While the NPP government is currently focused on winningcertain constituencies such as the Ashanti and Eastern regions for electoral pur-poses, its attitude towards the North is worrying. According to its own povertysurvey, this is the most deprived of the regions in Ghana but it is insignificant interms of electoral votes, it looks like little attention is being paid to it.7. The North (3 northern regions) have the highest poverty levels in Ghana, and notsurprisingly the highest number of civil and political conflicts, and remain one ofthe greatest sources of political instability in Ghana today. Most people we spoketo agreed that for political stability and human security to be guaranteed, the Northshould be targeted for massive poverty eradication schemes concentrating onorganisations, and groups working at the grassroots level. A greater study of thecurrent impact and poverty levels in the North will help in this exercise. It wouldbe important for example to examine the impact of the work by existing interna-tional and local groups like Action Aid, Oxfam, Network of Northern NGOs inorder to determine new areas of engagement with these and other groups such asthe Regional House of Chiefs and Community development organisations.Challenges and Options for International AssistanceAs Ghana enters the implementation phase of its Poverty Reduction Strategy, it isimportant to monitor the process of implementation closely to ensure that theGPRS meets the identified targets. A few recommendations seem appropriatebased on our own discussions with critical stakeholders on the kind of improve-ments that can make assistance work better for the country.a) Cautious support in small amount - In several of our conversations, the pointwas repeatedly made that some groups and government agencies are over-subscribed by the donor community. Indeed, some donors and Ghanaians alikehave cautioned as to the dangers of too much money to too few players, be they ingovernment or civil society. In no case should donor funding – replace program-ming that government agencies should be providing as part of their statutory re-sponsibilities. Donors should also seek new and more effective grassroots groupsoutside Accra and the centres of power.
  • 86. 86 Kayode Fayemi,Thomas Jaye & Zaya Yeebob) Aligning and expanding menu of work: The International donor community mustmake a concerted effort to align its menu of work with Ghana’s priorities: Capacitybuilding to meet the challenges of consolidation and growth; security sector re-form; national reconciliation and building of a democratic culture to mention a few.There is widespread impression that donors come with their own agenda and areoften not willing to realign their ideas with local interests.c) Improving coordination: A concomitant issue is the extent of coordinationamong the donors themselves. It is of vital importance that the donors improveinformation sharing.d) Attention to regional and spatial distribution: Donor programmes should alwaysstrive to look further than the Greater Accra region, and in venturing further a-field, should seek for regional and gender balance.e) Altering the practice of aid: Donors in Ghana need to expand their notion ofaccountability to embrace not only their home constituencies and the Governmentof Ghana, but also the broader Ghanaian public. We recommend that donors jointlypledge to raise their levels of transparency in their own work in country by: i) publishing their annual programme plans in local and national news- papers; ii) holding annual press conferences to discuss performance and future plans; iii) making expenditure accounts publicly available; iv) making programme information available on request; v) identifying clear performance indicators; vi) broader use of Ghanaian expertise, when available, and more sensitive use of foreign consultants, when necessary.Some institutions are already doing many of the things on this list, but they need tobecome acceptable practice among all players.ReferencesAfrobarometer Survey on Ghana at:, Hon. N. 2001. Attorney General and Minister of Justice, The Con- solidation of Democracy in Ghana, 2 July 2001.Akufo-Addo, Hon. N. 2002. The Consolidation of Democracy in Ghana, 2 July 2001. Institute of Economic Affairs on ‘The Consolidation of Democracy in Ghana’, Lecture Series no. 1 Accra, Ghana.Aning, E.K. 2001. ‘Ghana Election 2000: Implications and Significance for the Future’ Africa Watch.Apea, S.K. 2001. ‘The Monitoring of the Operations of the Bank of Ghana by the Auditor-General and other Component Bodies’, Legislative Act, vol. 1, no. 8. A Publication of the Institute of Economic Affairs, August 2001.
  • 87. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 87FOSDA, Report on Small Arms Proliferation in Ghana. Untitled and Unpublished.Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (2002-2004). An Agenda for Growth and Pros- perity. Analysis and Policy Statement, 20 February, 2002.Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy, 1992.Hutchful, E. 2002. Ghana’s Adjustment Experience: The Paradox of Reform. London: James Currey.Interview with Ofeibea Quist-Arcton,, 2 January, 2001.ISSER, 2002. The State of the Economy in Ghana in 2001, Accra: The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, Legon.Kwadjo, J. 2002. Reform of the Intelligence Sector under the Rawlings’ Regime. Paper presented at the Research Network on Democratisation and Security Sector Reform in Africa conference, Accra, Ghana, 26-28 February.Kwarteng, M.A. 2002. ‘President’s Special Initiative on Textiles and Garments, Over Ambitious or Modest’, Business and Financial Times, 26 August – 1 September.M-Yevugah, Lord C. 2002. ‘What is happening to Nkrumah’s Flock?’ Business and Financial Times, 19-25 August.National Democratic Congress, Ghana: Spreading the Benefits of Development Election 2000 Party Manifesto. Accra, 2000.NISA, Ghana Council Reacts to Arms Peddlers’ Arrest in Nigeria, 1 August 1999, at, Justice K.E.A. 2002. Consolidating Democratic Governance in Ghana by Further Strengthening Institutional Capacity, an address delivered at a ‘Break- fast Forum’ by the Institute of Economic Affairs on ‘The Consolidation of Democracy in Ghana’, 11 June 2001. Lecture Series no. 1, Accra, Ghana.Socialist Forum of Ghana, Perspective on the Dagbon Crisis.The Constitution of Ghana.
  • 88. 88
  • 89. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 89-104. © CDD 2003 Briefings THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A.M. BABU: PERSONAL REFLECTIONS1 By Issa G. Shivji2Abdulrahman Mohamed Babu3 lived in the age of national liberation and revolu-tion. The period after the Second World War to the defeat of US imperialism inVietnam in 1975 was characterised by what the then Chinese Communist Partydescribed as, ‘Countries want Independence, Nations want Liberation and Peoplewant Revolution.’ Babu belonged to the first generation of African Marxists whoparticipated in the struggle for independence, national liberation, and people’srevolution. This was also the age of great intellectual and ideological ferment. Every revo-lution and liberation struggle had its theoreticians, its thinkers, its arsenal of articu-lated ideas, not just of weapons. Young activists and cadres began by mastering the‘Weapon of Theory’, to use Amilcar Cabral’s phrase, before turning to theories ofweapons. The clarion call of our journal, Cheche, produced by the UniversityStudents African Revolutionary Front (USARF) was: ‘Struggle to Learn, Learn toStruggle’. Political leaders of liberation movements and revolutions have alwaysbeen intellectuals and thinkers in their own right. Nehru’s prison letters to hisdaughter constituted a tome called Glimpses of World History. Nkrumah wrote theinfluential Neo-colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism. Frantz Fanon was aprofessional psychiatrist, a revolutionary activist and the author of the great TheWretched of the Earth,4 whose mastery was a necessary entry qualification to ourSunday ideological Classes at the Hill. Babu’s own African Socialism or SocialistAfrica? was written in Ukonga prison in Dar es Salaam and the manuscript smug-gled out for ‘ruthless criticism’, (to use Marx’s phrase from a well-known quote),by young comrades. Political leaders and intellectual activists of the time were not only politicalthinkers but also knowledgeable commentators on art and culture, on science andphilosophy, on history and technology, because, as the truism of the day went,‘The Truth is the Whole’. Mwalimu Nyerere, to take just one example, wrotebeautiful shairi (poems) and translated Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar into Kiswa-hili. Just before he died, he completed the translation of Plato’s Republic into1 A previous version of this article was delivered as the keynote address at the International Conference tocelebrate the life of Comrade Abdulrahman Mohamed Babu, 21-22 September 2001, University of Dar es Salaam.2 Prof. Issa G. Shivji, Faculty of Law, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.3 A.M. Babu, served as minister of various ministries of the government of Tanzania. In 1973 he was sentenced todeath for treason (for alleged involvement in the assassination of the president of Zanzibar in 1972), but he wasfreed in an amnesty in 1978 by president Julius Nyerere. He then lived in exile in London to his death in August1996. Marking the publication of a new book containing a selection of A.M. Babu’s writings – Salina Babu &Amrit Wilson (eds.) The Future that Works: Selected Writings of A.M. Babu, (Africa World Press, Lawrenceville,NJ, 2002), this journal is pleased to be publishing this appraisal of A.M. Babu by Professor Shivji.4 Frantz Fanon, 1967. The Wretched of the Earth. London: Penguin.
  • 90. 90 BriefingsKiswahili. No doubt, this intellectual ferment, this ‘insurrection of ideas’, was world-wide but, it is important to recall for the benefit of our young students, that the Hillwas the African hotbed of this intellectual ferment. It is this which put the Hill onthe intellectual world map, which no amount of computer systems and internetcafe, however modern, can do. The global transformation from the third quarter of the twentieth century to itslast quarter has been pervasive – whether or not it is deep is a different matter. Thetransformation that I want to speak to – and which was dear to Babu’s heart – is ofcourse from the age of liberation and revolution, in which the forces of reactiongenerally, and imperialism particularly, were on the defensive, to the currentperiod when even the uttering of the word ‘imperialism’ would earn you a placeamong intellectual dinosaurs, that is, if you arc lucky enough not to be placed onthe identification parade of so-called ‘terrorists’. How does one explain the trans-formation of the utterly, and almost universally, vilified imperialism to the re-spected, feared and universally acclaimed ‘international community’ within such ashort historical period? In other words, the central question we need to address is:how did imperialism rehabilitate and legitimise itself to the extent that the formerBritish Secretary of State, Douglas Hurd, could say with satisfaction in 1990 thatwe are slowly putting behind us a period of history when the West was unable toexpress a legitimate interest in the developing world without being accused of‘neo-colonialism’?5 Perhaps the most illustrative, informative and symbolic comparison betweenthe two periods is the Ten-Year Vietnamese War (1965-75) with The Ten-YearGulf War (1991-2001). (The latter, of course, is not quite over and may evendovetail into another devastating Afghan War for God knows how long.) TheVietnam War was horrendous as was the Gulf War. Three million people areestimated to have perished during the Vietnam War, mostly civilians – presumablyin what American commanders heartlessly call collateral damage.6 Half the forestswere destroyed and the genetic damage done to the countryside through defoliantshas yet to be fully worked out. A quarter of a million people perished in the GulfWar and half a million children have died since as a result of sanctions.7 Worsestill, the scientific, technological and medical infrastructure of Iraq, which isacknowledged to have been one of the most modern in the Third World, has beenvirtually bombed out of existence. It is said that US aircraft alone dropped 88,000tons of explosives on Iraq, the equivalent of five Hiroshima nuclear blasts.8 But itis not the similarity of horror and the inherently war-mongering nature of imperi-alism which I wish to emphasise, important as it is. It is the difference that I wantto draw attention to. And this is the global anti-war movement generated by Viet-nam War and the moral devastation of imperialism resulting from it compared tothe relative absence of both in the case of the Gulf War. This needs to be ex-plained. True, US imperialism was militarily defeated in Vietnam but this was notbecause of its military weakness. In my view, the military defeat was the tail end5 F. Furedi, The New Ideology of Imperialism, (Pluto, London, 1994), p .99.6 John Pilger, Hidden Agendas, (Vintage, London, 1998), p. 555.7 A. Arnove, ed. Iraq Under Siege, (South End Press, Cambridge, MA, 2000), pp. 29-30.8 Ibid, p. 115.
  • 91. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 91of the process of defeat. US imperialism was defeated in the hearts and minds ofworld opinion before it was defeated on the battlefield. The broad anti-imperialistmovement that Vietnam generated across countries and peoples, in which Africa,including Babu’s country, was prominent, is what is most remarkable. During theGulf War, on the other hand, there has hardly been any official reaction from thispart of the world and the Hill, if at all, has even forgotten that such a thing exists.In a sense, the Gulf War marks the beginning of the ‘moral rehabilitation of im-perialism’, to use Furedi’s phrase. I want to suggest that in this rehabilitation, the transformation of the intellec-tual culture and discourse played and continues to play a vanguard role. I am quiteconscious that assigning such a prominent role to Ideas and Intellectuals sits ratheruncomfortably with Marxists and, had it been the 1960s, I would have beenpromptly denounced as a petty bourgeois idealist. Be that as it may, I simply want to argue that the intellectual discourse or the‘insurrection of ideas’ of the age of liberation and revolution was as important inde-legitimising imperialism as the suppression of ideas and decimation of theintellectual body has been in rehabilitating it. Let me illustrate this, in a few broadstrokes, by the transformation of the intellectual discourse and the metamorphosisof the intellectuals at the Hill. I have already indicated the intellectual ferment, the Golden Age, so to speak,of intellectualism at the Hill. It was all-pervasive as we read voraciously anddebated profusely. Every publication was an event; every return from a field tripwas an occasion for reflection, every seminar was a forum for ideological struggle,which, admittedly, we sometimes overdid. Many of our comrades who occupystate positions or are employed by respectable universities overseas or have be-come much sought after consultants, (or are state presidents and commander-in-chiefs), have either outright disavowed that period or feel embarrassed to talkabout it. Nonetheless, I believe it was a great period imbued with unfalteringcommitment to the cause of The Wretched of the Earth. And that was its greateststrength. Some other strengths may also be mentioned. First, the basic premise of that discourse was that the Truth is the Whole andthat knowledge cannot, and ought not to be divided and compartmentalised. Bour-geois compartmentalisation of knowledge was roundly condemned and De Cas-tro’s dictum in his The Geography of Hunger was lavishly quoted: … Narrowness of outlook is characteristic of Western civilisation. Since the mid- dle of the nineteenth century a kind of university instruction has developed which is no longer interested in transmitting a unified image or the world, but rather in isolating, and mutilating, facets of reality, in the supposed interest of science. The tremendous impact or scientific progress produced a fragmentation of culture and pulverised it into little grains of learning. Each scientific specialist seized his granule and turned it over and over beneath the powerful lens of his microscope striving to penetrate its microcosm, with a marvellous indifference to and tower- ing ignorance of everything around him. Recently in Europe and the United States an extreme development of this type of University education has created within the culture a sort of civilisation sui generis – a specialists’ civilisation – directed by men whose scientific outlook is rigorous but who suffer from a deplorable cul- tural and political myopia.99 Josué de Castro, The Geography of Hunger. (Little Brown, Boston, MA, 1952).
  • 92. 92 BriefingsThat holistic premise gave rise to the interdisciplinary course called Social andEconomic Problems of East Africa taught in the first year in law. It developed intothe Common Course co-ordinated by Lionel Cliffe and eventually became theInstitute of Development Studies. Today, development studies courses themselvesare divided up and revised to make them more market-oriented and acceptable. Second, the intellectual debate was guided by grand social theories and in-spired by epochal visions of social emancipation of all humankind. We saw our-selves as part of a great historical movement of liberation and revolution. Marxisttheories of capitalism and imperialism, its various offshoots such as the theories ofdevelopment of underdevelopment were a subject of study and discussion. Analy-sis of material life, modes of production and relations of production were seriouslyundertaken for, it was believed, social transformation cannot simply be wished andbe brought about by human will, but must be scientifically understood becausehuman will too is historically and socially determined. Inspired, we certainly were, by Western socialist theories and practices of lib-eration and revolution in the world, particularly the Third World. But there was aconsiderable amount of imagination and choosing even in aping. More important,we firmly held to our commitment to the Rest, The Wretched of the Earth, whilelearning from the East and the West. There was an unwavering loyalty to universalemancipation (‘Workers of the World Unite’), but this did not detract from ouremphatic understanding that not only the ‘Truth is the Whole’ but also that the‘Truth is Concrete’: we must make a concrete analysis of concrete conditions. TheCheche banner proclaimed: ‘Oppressed of the World Unite!’ ‘Concrete analysis of concrete conditions’ and ‘No investigation, no right tospeak’ were taken seriously. And that was the third strength of that discourse.Grand social theories were backed by basic research. Discoveries made in the fieldwere presented in seminars and hotly debated. Adhu Awiti spent months and yearsin Iringa villages scrupulously documenting peasant differentiation in the owner-ship of the means of production to produce his Class Struggles in Rural Society ofTanzania. Von Freyhold spent months in Tanga ujamaa villages to give us a con-crete understanding of ujamaa on the ground and Marjorie Mbilinyi did similarwork to identify embryonic capitalism in rural Tanzania. Henry Mapolu studiedtobacco farms in Tabora and Ben Ndulu researched villages of the Rufiji basin. In the new period of institutional transformation however, basic research hasall but died down. We have metamorphosed from intellectual researchers of yes-terday to policy consultants of today. The truth of course is that we are neitherconsulted nor recommend policy. Policy is set elsewhere by those who hold thepurse strings while, we the local counter-parts, as we are called, mount stage showsorganising national workshops of ‘stake-holders’. I want to suggest that it is the amazing double-speak of imperial consultantsand propagandists which has been at the heart of decimating the body of intellec-tual thought that provided the theoretical foundation and ideological inspiration forthe age of liberation and revolution. The double-speak is aimed at three targets.One, at rehabilitating imperialism morally by demonising Third World nationalismand de-legitimising Third World states (particularly in Africa) as no more than acoterie of ethnic groups out to loot poor, ignorant populations who need to be
  • 93. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 93saved from their own rulers by the humanitarian interventions of the internationalcommunity.10 An editorial in the US News and World Report (28 December 1992)declared Third World nationalism as a great delusion: In the Third World, there had been grand ideas of new states and social contracts among the communities, post-colonial dreams of what men and women could do on their own. There were exalted notions of Indian nationalism, Pan-Arabism and the like. Ethnicity hid, draped in the colors of modem nationalism, hoping to keep the ancestors – and the troubles – at bay. But the delusions would not last. What was India? The India of its secular founders – or the ‘Hindu Raj’ of the militant fundamentalists? What exactly did the compact communities of Iraq – the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shia – have in common? The masks have fallen, the tribes have stepped to the fore.11Humanitarian interventions to save the Third World people from themselves isthen presented as the motif of numerous military and economic interventions bythe ‘international community’ from Serbia to Somalia. These interventions are notonly begged for by our political leaders themselves but also justified by our intel-lectuals. Statements like the one quoted above are presented as matter of fact, notrequiring any further proof. The second big onslaught has been to make the ideology of human rights, andits related offshoots such as rule of law, good governance, poverty alleviation etc.,all-pervasive. Again, human rights are of course not presented as an ideology butas an immortal, all time truth. Its unquestioning pervasiveness and acceptanceamong our own intellectuals is remarkable. When I wrote my The Concept ofHuman Rights in Africa12 arguing that it was an ideology of domination and thatwe needed to reconceptualise it and turn it on its head to make it an ideology ofresistance, it was simply ignored and brushed aside as demagogic. There is not much time to go into the analysis of human rights as an ideologyexcept to point out that it has, at least in the short run and in this part of the world,been pretty effective in displacing grand social theories and vision of humanemancipation. Human rights discourse has succeeded in marginalising the concreteanalyses of society. Yet, human rights ideology is the ideology of the status quo,not change. Documentation of human rights abuses, although important in its ownright, by itself does not help us to understand the social and political relations inour society. It is not surprising that given the absence of political economy contextand theoretical framework, much of our writings on human rights, rule of law,constitutions etc. uncritically reiterate or assume neo-liberal precepts. Humanrights is not a theoretical tool of understanding social and political relations. Atbest, it can only be a means of exposing a form of oppression and, therefore,perhaps, an ideology of resistance. If not carefully handled, it cannot even servethat purpose. The third target of imperial ideological onslaught has been the organisationalexpression of people’s struggles. Traditional and historically well-tested forms oforganisation like parties, trade unions and mass movements are placed on the same10 Furedi, op.cit., passim.11 Quoted in Furedi, op. cit., p. 102.12 Issa G. Shivji, The Concept of Human Rights in Africa, (CODESRIA, Dakar, 1989).
  • 94. 94 Briefingsfooting as non-governmental organisations, NGOs. As a matter of fact, it is thevarious human rights NGOs which occupy the centre stage because they are bestfunded by the donor community and whose importance is blown out of all propor-tion to their real capacity for change. The very concept of NGO has drained the people of the organisational expres-sion of their struggles. NGOs are supposed to be non-political, non-partisan andnon-membership, formed by activists, usually from outside the social group thatthey are advocating for, without any constituency, accountable only to themselvesand the funder. Their function, as they see it themselves, is awareness raising andadvocacy in which the people themselves are passive, ignorant subjects or victims,incapable of struggling for their rights. Under the demagogic precept of ‘action notwords’, even well-intentioned individuals in NGOs willy-nilly end up supportingthe status quo because they have no theoretical tools or ideological stand to guidethem. As part of the process of de-legitimising Third World states, which are dailydecried as corrupt and inefficient, donor funds are channelled to NGOs. NGOs areencouraged to think of themselves as development partners equally with the stateand ‘international community’, not as pressure groups exposing the misdeeds oftheir states and imperialism, which is what they are in the West. In many ways,NGOs have provided both the state and the ‘international community’ a convenientalibi from shouldering and accounting for their own responsibility. The so-calledNGO activity has diverted the energy of the people from demanding structuralreforms to attending rights awareness seminars and workshops. The demonization of Third World nationalism, the propagandising of humanrights and the boosting of thousands of NGOs as the expression of civil society hassimultaneously done several things. One, it has denigrated the ideologies andvisions of liberation. Second, it has de-legitimised African states and turned theminto little more than ‘veranda boys’ of the ‘international community’. Thirdly, ithas taken away the right of the people of these countries to wage their own strug-gles, and thereby generate their own organisations and mass movements. Fourthly,it has reduced the oppressed masses and exploited classes from a revolutionaryagency to supplicants for aid, classified as the most poor and vulnerable qualifiedto receive handouts from poverty alleviation funds. Fifthly, it has robbed themasses of its organic intellectuals and thinkers. Our Universities have been trans-formed from being sites of knowledge to corporations busy advertising their wareson the market, the chief among them being our consultants with PhDs. To sum up the intellectual discourse and concepts of the 60s and 70s with thatof the current one, let me juxtapose the two. At that time, the young radical intel-lectual committed to the cause of the Wretched of the Earth saw the world dividedinto three worlds. The Third World was undoubtedly the oppressed and exploitedwhile the First World was undoubtedly the home of oppressor states. He or shedebated on the social and political character of the Second World meanwhilesharpening his theoretical tools to understand the world so as to change it. TheThird World had within it colonial and neo-colonial countries and oppressednations and nationalities whose liberation from the coloniser or the imperial neo-coloniser was on the historical agenda. Imperialism was explained, with Lenin andNkrumah, as a stage in the development of worldwide capitalism headed by the
  • 95. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 95North and living and sustaining itself by the draining of surplus from the South.Within these countries you had classes; comprador classes siding with imperialismand exploited and oppressed classes and peoples and patriotic groups objectivelypoised as the agency of liberation. The task of the radical intellectual was to under-stand the system of enslavement and build and organise the forces of revolutionagainst imperialism and capitalism so as to build new democratic and socialistsocieties which would answer to the needs and aspirations of the masses. Ourradical intellectual believed that social change and transformation does not comeas a manna from a messiah but is the result of the struggle of the people in whichthey constitute themselves as people to regain their humanity. He or she did notmake a distinction between political and civil, between non-governmental andgovernmental but rather preached and practised the dictum that, ‘Politics is theconcentrated form of economics’ and that ‘the state is the table of contents’ of civilsociety and class struggles. Today, the world is presented as a global village which is being inexorably‘villagised’ by the forces of globalisation. It consists of the international com-munity and others. The composition of the international community is flexible butrogue-states are definitely not part of it. No one, we are told, has control over theprocesses of globalisation because it is controlled by the invisible hand of themarket, which incidentally, is a very competent distributor of resources. We, in theThird World, do not have much of a choice in this globalised world. Our leaderstell us that we either adapt to globalisation or perish. The globalisation experts tellus, and our political leaders repeat it parrot-like, that globalisation offers oppor-tunities and challenges. To be able to make use of these opportunities, among otherthings, we need to behave ourselves; enforce the civilisation values of freedom,individualism, good governance, and human rights. We must of course put in placean enabling environment to attract development funds by making available at nocost our state, sovereignty, land, labour, minerals, water and air and space toinvestors. For this, we need appropriate sectoral policies and the internationalcommunity would always consider our applications for funds to hire consultants todraft such policies for us. All this sounds like a caricature and double-speak of the most blatant kind. Weall know that there is no community of interest in the international community; thatglobalisation is just another name for imperialism; that the global village embodiesin it global pillage; that all cards are staked on one side in stake-holders work-shops; that good governance is another name for legitimising economically des-potic system for, governance is not a question of morality but a contest of power.Yet, it is amazing how often this farce is re-enacted and the most we can allowourselves is to make a few sarcastic remarks, which is good entertainment, whilebusiness continues as usual.To conclude: it needs hardly to be said that we are in the trough of a world revolu-tion but I do not believe that all is lost. The forces of progress may have beendefeated but certainly not destroyed. Wherever there is oppression, there is boundto be resistance. There is a silver lining, and we are already witnessing it: Seattle,Prague, Gothenburg, Genoa are dress rehearsals. Before South Africa’s liberation,Babu used to say, half-seriously, that within Tanzania, Zanzibar is the centre of the
  • 96. 96 BriefingsAfrican revolution; within East Africa, it is Tanzania; and within Africa it is SouthAfrica. If he were alive today, he would perhaps have reassessed as to where thecentre of gravity of the revolution lies. He would have been a little disappointedthat Zanzibar is not quite central, but he would have been certainly heartened bythe fact that there has been Genoa and Gothenburg and would have certainlyapplauded the fact that we are able to hold an international conference on thisCampus, and in this Lecture Theatre to which he, and many of us, have a sentimen-tal attachment. He would have certainly advised his young comrades not to be-come cynical. He would have reminded them that democracy is more important torevolutionaries than to the bourgeoisie.
  • 97. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 97 LA CRISE IVOIRIENNE : ELEMENTS POUR SITUER SES ORIGINES ET SES DIMENSIONS SOUS-REGIONALES1 Par Honorable Professeur Abdoulaye Bathily English summaryThe present military crisis in Côte d’Ivoire is the outcome of a lengthy fermenta-tion process. Both the army and the security forces lost over the years, their na-tional and republican characteristics. The economic crisis which began at the endof the 1980s put an end to the ‘Ivorian miracle’. In Côte d’Ivoire as well as else-where in Africa, the economic and social impact of the Structural AdjustmentProgram, led to a sharp decrease in the standard of living of the mass of the people.The drop in the price of cocoa (of which Côte d’Ivoire is one of the world’s lead-ing producers) and coffee, the disintegration of the industrial network as a result ofthe privatisation and wild liberalisation policies, also worsened the unemploymentand poverty situation. The economic and social slump served as a fertile ground forthe outbreak of ethnic fundamentalism and xenophobia, some symptoms of whichcould already be detected in the last years of President Felix Houphouet Boigny’sregime. At that time, his political skills made him keep the tensions under controlwithin reasonable limits. The complications brought about by the concept of‘Ivorianism’, introduced by President Henrie Konan Bedie, and all its underlyinglegislation, seem to be the cause of the various cracks in the political and socialnetwork. These cracks have no doubt had a corroding effect on individuals and thesociety at large. Both short and long-term political solutions, anchored on anawareness of the country’s difficult history, are needed to arrest the situation andforestall a potential humanitarian disaster in the sub-region. ______________________Le 19 septembre 2002, une nouvelle mutinerie a éclaté en Côte d’Ivoire.Son ampleur dépasse celle de tous les troubles que ce pays a connu, depuis sonindépendance en août 1960. Depuis bientôt deux mois, le pays est coupé en deux tant du point de vue géo-graphique que politique et culturel. La rébellion occupe près de 40% du territoirenational. Le corps politique et social se trouve profondément divisé. La fractureaffecte les fondements ethnique et religieux de la nation. La mutinerie, du 19 septembre, apparaît à tous les observateurs avertis del’évolution de la Côte d’Ivoire comme l’aboutissement d’une accumulation de1 Cette note représente la mise en forme d’une présentation orale faite à la demande de la plénière pour introduirele débat de la session extraordinaire sur la Côte d’Ivoire.
  • 98. 98 Briefingsphénomènes dont ce pays a été le théâtre au cours de cette dernière décennie. Ceque l’on observe sur la scène ivoirienne n’est pas une surprise ou ‘un coup detonnerre dans un ciel serein’’. La crise militaire n’est rien d’autre qu’une des dimensions de la crise généraleque vit la Côte d’Ivoire. Sans entrer dans les détails ou porter des jugements devaleur sur le discours et le comportement des divers acteurs, on peut tenter desituer l’histoire de cette crise et ses conséquences sous-régionales.Origines de la CriseA.1. Sur le plan militaireLa mutinerie, du 19 septembre, a été précédée par plusieurs soulèvements militai-res dont les plus importants sont :- La révolte des hommes de troupe en 1990. Ils sortent des casernes, occupent larue et l’aéroport d’Abidjan pour exiger d’être engagés au terme de leur service« volontaire » de 18 mois.Il avait fallu la négociation directe avec le Président Felix H. BOIGNY pour qu’ilsréintègrent les casernes.- La Garde Présidentielle, elle aussi, se révolte en 1992, l’autorité politique a dû,encore une fois, lâcher du lest pour qu’elle accepte de regagner les rangs. Lesdernières années du régime du Président Houphouet BOIGNY ont été marquéespar l’affaiblissement de l’armée, la déliquescence de son organisation et de sonmoral.Ses qualités professionnelles se sont érodées sous l’effet de la rupture intervenueentre l’encadrement supérieur (officiers) et les autres corps (sous officiers et hom-mes de troupe) avec en toile de fond des tensions ethniques et régionales.Cette armée de près de 9000 hommes (en l’an 2000), rongée par le virus del’indiscipline, n’inspirait que méfiance au pouvoir politique. Celui-ci pour lacontrer a renforcé la gendarmerie. Avec ses effectifs en constante augmentation (7000 hommes en l’an 2000), lagendarmerie a bénéficié de toutes les faveurs (équipement, conditions de service).Elle recrute sur la base d’une sélection rigoureuse fondée en grande partie surl’appartenance ethnique. Sous le régime du Président Henri Konan BEDIE,l’écrasante majorité des gendarmes étaient d’ethnie Akan ou assimilé (ethnie desPrésidents H. BOIGNY et BEDIE). Le développement de la gendarmerie, véritable« garde prétorienne » a accentué les frustrations dans l’armée et élargi le fosséentre cette dernière et le pouvoir.- En décembre 1999 : les soldats revenus du contingent de maintien de la paix enCentre Afrique descendent dans la rue pour exiger le paiement de leurs primes.Très vite, ce mouvement revendicatif se transforme en mouvement insurrectionnel.Les mutins vont chercher le Général Robert GUEI, ancien chef d’Etat major sous
  • 99. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 99Houphouet BOIGNY, limogé par le Président BEDIE, et le mettent à la tête del’insurrection victorieuse.- Aussitôt qu’il s’installe au pouvoir, le Général-Président se brouille avec ceux quil’ont porté au pouvoir. Il s’emploie à restructurer l’armée en limogeant les autresofficiers Généraux de la région Nord qui étaient portés avec lui à la tête du mou-vement (Général Abdoulaye COULIBALY et Général Lansana PALENFO). Deplus, il s’en prend au noyau dirigeant de la troupe insurgée dont certains membressont emprisonnés ou liquidés physiquement. D’autres n’ont pu lui échapper qu’enprenant le large avec armes et bagages (Sergent Ibrahim COULIBAY dit IB …).- Le Général GUEI recrute des centaines de miliciens parmi ses fidèles tirés pour laplupart de sa région d’origine (Man, à la frontière avec le Libéria). Il modifie de lamême manière la composition ethnique de la gendarmerie avec des éléments quilui sont favorables et en recrutant des ressortissants de sa région.- Dans le même temps, il se constitue une garde personnelle de plusieurs dizainesd’hommes stationnés pour la plupart dans son village natal (Guessesso) et encadréspar certains éléments recrutés dans les factions libériennes. C’est avec cette forcede frappe, les Zinzins, qu’il engage l’épreuve de l’élection présidentielle de dé-cembre 2000.- Après l’échec du Général GUEI, le nouveau Président Laurent GBAGBO héritede ce conglomérat de forces armées qu’il va s’employer lui aussi à restructurer auprofit de son nouveau pouvoir. Il fait remplacer le chef d’Etat major, le GénéralDIABAKHATE, un officier du Nord, par le Colonel Mathias DOUE, un officier del’Ouest, sa région. Certains groupes redoutant des représailles se fondent dans lanature avec armes et bagages tandis que d’autres restent dans les casernes dans uneposition d’expectative. Des purges sont opérées dans l’armée et la gendarmerie.Quelques 500 parmi les recrues au service du Général GUEI et qui étaient payéesavec un salaire mensuel de 50.000 F CFA espéraient être maintenues dans l’arméeavec un contrat d’engament ainsi que le leur aurait promis leur parrain (le GénéralGUEI) et le nouveau pouvoir. Malheureusement, le gouvernement, contraint par« les impératifs de la masse salariale de la fonction publique » en a décidé autre-ment pour le projet de budget 2003. Il a été retenu de démobiliser les Zinzins et deles redéployer dans des projets d’auto-emploi dans le civil. Cela équivalait poureux à un lâchage pur et simple.L’annonce de la démobilisation de ces Zinzins a été le facteur déclenchant de lamutinerie du 19 septembre. Ces soldats en passe d’être démobilisés ont pu facile-ment rallier à leur cause leurs camarades dans les casernes et ceux en rupture deban depuis 1999. Ces ralliements s’expliquent par le fait que le PrésidentGBAGBO, comme ses prédécesseurs, s’était engagé dans le recrutement parallèleet des promotions d’éléments qui lui sont favorables sur des bases politiques et/ouethniques. De plus, aux yeux des mutins, il n’a rien fait ou pas assez fait pourredresser les injustices accumulées par ses prédécesseurs dans le fonctionnementde l’institution militaire et de sécurité. L’assassinat, apparemment prémédité, du
  • 100. 100 BriefingsGénéral Robert GUEI, dès les premières heures de la mutinerie, que beaucoupd’observateurs attribuent aux forces loyalistes pressées de se débarrasser d’unindividu encombrant pour le régime, a provoqué la défection des fidèles de cedernier au sein de l’armée et des forces de sécurité. Il n’est dés lors pas étonnant devoir ces ‘‘guéistes’’ se rallier aux mutins de Bouaké. En somme, on peut dire que la crise militaire actuelle en Côte d’Ivoire est leproduit d’une longue fermentation. L’armée et les forces de sécurité ont perdu, aufil des ans, leur caractère national et républicain. Les fissures multiples dans lachaîne de commandement à tous les niveaux expliquent les difficultés des loyalis-tes à conduire l’initiative sur le terrain. N’eût été l’interposition des troupes fran-çaises, la situation aurait été intenable pour le pouvoir en place.A.2. La Crise Politique et SocialeLe déclin de l’armée et des forces de sécurité ivoiriennes n’obéit pas uniquement àla logique des évènements internes à ces institutions. L’environnement politique, social et économique en constitue le facteur dé-terminant. Il suffit de rappeler, à cet égard, des faits qui sont au demeurant mieuxconnus par le grand public.- La crise économique, depuis la fin des années 1980, a mis fin au « miracle ivoi-rien ». En Côte d’Ivoire, comme ailleurs en Afrique, le programme d’ajustementstructurel par ses effets économiques et sociaux a conduit à la baisse effrénée duniveau de vie de toutes les couches de la population. La chute des prix du cacao,(la Côte d’Ivoire, premier producteur mondial) du café, la désindustrialisationconsécutive aux politiques de privatisation et de libéralisation sauvages ont accen-tué le chômage et la pauvreté. Le marasme économique et social a constitué leterreau fertile pour l’intégrisme identitaire et la xénophobie dont les symptômesétaient visibles dès les dernières années du régime du Président F. H. BOIGNY.L’habileté politique de ce dernier a pu contenir les tensions dans des limites rai-sonnables.- La crise politique engendrée par la succession de Houphouet BOIGNY, dans desconditions controversées où se sont affrontés Henri Konan BEDIE et AlassaneWATARA, va contribuer à aggraver les tensions dans le pays. Dès qu’il accède aupouvoir, le Président Bédié s’efforce de se donner une légitimité en lançant lafameuse doctrine de l’Ivoirité.Destinée au départ à justifier l’élimination de son principal adversaire de la courseà la présidence, M. WATARA, l’Ivoirité va se muer au fil des ans en doctrined’exclusion ou en tous cas perçue comme telle par des franges de plus en plusnombreuses de la population ivoirienne, singulièrement les originaires des territoi-res voisins et ceux de la région Nord de la Côte d’Ivoire. En 1995 les tensions politiques provoquées par le refus d’accepter la candida-ture de M. WATARA entraînent le boycott actif des principaux partis del’opposition aux élections présidentielles. Le pouvoir procède à l’emprisonnement
  • 101. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 101de plusieurs militants de ces partis (FPI de Laurent GBAGBO et RDR de AlassaneWATARA, alliés dans le Front Républicain). Depuis lors, les tensions politiques n’ont cessé de monter dans le pays. La ré-pression frappe durement le RDR, le parti de M. WATARA, lequel est contraint des’exiler en France. En octobre-décembre 1999, la plupart des dirigeants du RDRsont mis sous les verrous. La mutinerie de décembre 1999 était intervenue dans cecontexte ou des militaires de tous grades soupçonnés de parenté ou de sympathieavec des militants du RDR étaient victimes de tracasseries permanentes. Ainsi quenous l’avons montré ailleurs, les crises militaires n’apparaissent jamais ex nihilo.Elles sont toujours soit provoquées soit accélérées par le contexte socio-politiquedu moment. Elles sont un indicateur sous une forme ou une autre du déficit degouvernance dans les pays d’Afrique.2 Dans les campagnes ivoiriennes, au même moment, la situation n’était pasplus apaisée. En 1998, une loi sur la propriété foncière autorise l’expropriation detous les « étrangers ». Des dizaines de milliers de burkinabés furent dépouillés deleurs propriétés (événements de Dabou). A cet égard, il faut rappeler que la Côte d’Ivoire a une histoire singulière quiexplique la présence massive de ressortissants de territoires voisins. Dans l’empire colonial français, la Côte d’Ivoire était sélectionnée comme unecolonie de plantation qui devait être « mise en valeur » par la main d’œuvre trans-férée de force des territoires voisins alors plus peuplés. Depuis le début du XXème siècle des milliers de migrants ont été forcés de ve-nir travailler sur les plantations de Côte d’Ivoire. Même après la fin du travail forcéen 1946, ce mouvement migratoire s’est poursuivi jusqu’à l’indépendance et après,sous l’impulsion des planteurs locaux qui avaient besoin de maintenir cette maind’œuvre à bon marché. Les impératifs de l’exploitation coloniale ont fait que les limites de la coloniede la Côte d’Ivoire ont changé fréquemment. Elles n’ont été fixées avec celle de laHaute Volta, (Burkina Faso), du Mali (ancien Soudan français) et du Niger qu’en1947. Houphouet BOIGNY a été élu en 1945, député au parlement français au titred’un territoire de la Côte d’Ivoire qui comprenait alors, l’actuelle Côte d’Ivoire etle Burkina Faso d’aujourd’hui. La politique coloniale de peuplement de la Côte d’Ivoire explique donc le ca-ractère plus cosmopolite de sa population par rapport à celle des autres territoiresde l’Afrique de l’Ouest. Les originaires de certains pays de la sous-région qui se trouvent en Côted’Ivoire y sont implantés pour la plupart, depuis deux, trois générations, voire plus.Tout en gardant leur nom patronymique et les coutumes de leurs ascendants, ils negardent que des liens très lâches avec leur contrée d’origine.L’ivoirité et la loi sur la propriété foncière sont ressenties comme des armesd’exclusion qui s’abattent sur les immigrés de vieille souche comme ceux deprovenance plus récente.2 Cf. E. Huchful & A. Bathily, edit, The Military and Militarism in Africa, (Dakar, CODESRIA, 1989).
  • 102. 102 Briefings La constitution, adoptée en 2000, qui exige que tout candidat à l’élection pré-sidentielle doive être de père et mère ivoiriens est encore perçue comme une dis-crimination de plus. En effet, on peut se poser légitimement la question de savoir de quelle Côted’Ivoire s’agit-il? Celle d’après 1947 ou celle d’après l’indépendance ? De quand date la nationalité ivoirienne ? Au terme de cette constitution aucundes enfants du Président H. BOIGNY ne peut être candidat à la présidence en Côted’Ivoire. En effet leur mère est d’origine Sénégalaise ! Enfin, la nouvelle loi sur l’identification nationale (2001) qui fait obligation àchaque demandeur de carte nationale d’identité de prouver son ivoirité à partird’un village de la Côte d’Ivoire constitue aux yeux de beaucoup d’éléments de lapopulation une autre mesure de « Ségrégation ». Tout cet arsenal juridique semble s’appliquer non seulement à ceux qu’on ap-pelle « les étrangers » mais de plus en plus et par extension aux ethenies ressortis-sants de la région Nord du pays et dont l’histoire culturelle s’apparente à celle decertains pays voisins (Malinké, Jula, Sénufo). En effet, les frontières coloniales dela Côte d’Ivoire comme celles des autres pays africains ont séparé des peuplesnaguère unis dans la même aventure historique. Ainsi, le royaume de Kong, fondé par les ancêtres de M. Alassane WATARA,s’étendait du XVIIème siècle à la conquête coloniale sur un territoire que se partagela Côte d’Ivoire, le Mali et le Burkina Faso d’aujourd’hui tout comme le Nigeria,le Tchad et le Niger se partagent le territoire occupé par les anciens royaumes duKanem et du Borno ou comme l’ancien état de l’Adamawa qui s’est retrouvédivisé entre le Cameroun et le Nigeria, etc… Les frustrations nées de l’ivoirité et des lois qui l’organisent sont à la base desmultiples fractures du corps social et politique. Elles exercent un effet corrosif surles individus et la société. Les forces armées et de sécurité en tant que partiesintégrantes de la nation ne peuvent échapper à cette dynamique de désintégrationdont la Côte d’Ivoire est victime. En attendant que les négociations de Lomé aboutissent, il faut l’espérer, àl’arrêt de cette logique suicidaire impulsée par les évènements, les conséquencesimmédiates sont de plus en plus évidentes pour la Côte d’Ivoire et la sous-régiondans son ensemble.Consequences Nationales et Regionales de la CriseNotre Parlement et les autres institutions de la Communauté à l’instar des diffé-rents exécutifs nationaux ont un impérieux devoir de solidarité à l’égard de la Côted’Ivoire. Avec les exemples du Libéria et de la Sierra Léone, l’on sait comment une cri-se nationale peut se transformer en crise sous-régionale voire internationale. Par son poids économique et financier, la Côte d’Ivoire occupe la deuxièmeplace après le Nigeria dans notre sous-région. Elle représente 40 % du PIB despays de l’UEMOA. Elle entretient des relations d’échanges importants avec cha-que pays de la sous-région. Le port d’Abidjan est le principal centre de transit desimportations et des exportations des pays enclavés comme le Mali, le Burkina et leNiger.
  • 103. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 103 La crise actuelle bloque le port d’Abidjan, le chemin de fer reliant cette ville àOuagadougou et le transport terrestre des hommes et des marchandises. L’aéroport d’Abidjan vit au ralenti depuis le couvre feu et la situationd’insécurité générale dans le pays. La Bourse Régionale des Valeurs d’Abidjansubit elle aussi les contrecoups de cette situation. La récolte et l’évacuation du Cacao, celle du Café, du Coton et d’autres pro-duits agricoles sont dans l’incertitude. Les implications sur la monnaie CFA et lesrevenus des états sont analysés sur un ton pessimiste par les observateurs. Toute la vie économique et sociale de la sous-région s’en ressent avec déjà lahausse des prix de plusieurs denrées qui frappe durement les populations des paysenclavées que nous représentons ici dans le Parlement de la Communauté. A cela s’ajoutent les violations des droits humains, attestées par des assassi-nats, les spoliations, les destructions des bidonvilles à Abidjan et les mouvementsmassifs de population aux frontières de la Côte d’Ivoire et des pays voisins. Si rienn’est fait pour arrêter cette situation, notre sous-région s’acheminerait vers unecatastrophe humanitaire comme cela s’annonce au Burkina Faso qui pour lesraisons évoquées plus haut subit le plus durement les effets de la crise ivoirienne.A terme c’est toute l’économie sous-régionale qui va subir une régression jamaisconnue auparavant. La reprise des hostilités entraînerait la Côte d’Ivoire et la sous-région dans unconflit général aux conséquences incalculables pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest et mêmetout le continent eu égard aux préparatifs militaires en cours avec de nouveauxacteurs qui ne manqueraient pas d’entrer en scène pour donner au conflit un carac-tère régional et international (recrutement de mercenaires). A coté d’un tel conflit, la guerre du Libéria ressemblerait à un jeu d’enfants !ConclusionC’est dire enfin que la crise de la Côte d’Ivoire requiert un traitement diligent de lapart de tous les acteurs et dans un esprit de responsabilité. Il est évident que lasituation ne sera pas simple. La profondeur de la crise appelle une issue qui prenden compte les multiples dimensions que nous avons évoqués plus haut. A notreavis cet issue doit être politique. Seule une solution négociée peut sauver la Côted’Ivoire d’une conflagration aux conséquences incalculables pour ce pays et lasous-région. La complexité de la tâche, loin de pousser au renoncement, doit être l’occasionpour les leaders de la Côte d’Ivoire, toutes tendances confondues, et ceux del’Afrique de l’Ouest, de faire la preuve qu’ils ont une vision qui transcende lespetits intérêts du moment pour s’élever au niveau des intérêts supérieurs des peu-ples de notre sous-région et de l’Afrique entière.
  • 104. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 105-135. © CDD 2003 Book ReviewsPoverty Reduction: What Role for the State in Today’s Globalized Economy?edited by Francis Wilson, Nazneen Kanji and Einar Braathen. London & NewYork: Zed Books, 2001. £16.95 paperback. ISBN: 1-85649-953-7.What this book essays to accomplish is the possibility of drawing ‘insights fromspecific realities which can be generalised to provide a deeper understandingacross a wide range of countries’ (p.1) on the dynamics of what I will like todescribe as the State-Poverty Interface, with particular reference to Africa. Doubt-less, several works preceding this have attempted from different and differingperspectives to engage with the African predicament whose emblematic evidenceis the pervasive, pervading and crushing poverty on the continent. What is remark-able about this edited volume is that it brings refreshing and even intellectuallyradical perspectives to bear on the analysis of poverty, interrogating that domain inAfrica that is squarely responsible for this abiding phenomenon – the state. Given the fact that this interface (State-poverty) is linked to citizenship, manyof the chapters underscore, though some indirectly, the fact that poverty exists incontradistinction to citizenship – in spite of attempts to drain civil society of theconcept of citizenship and the political, social, economic and cultural rights ofcitizens and groups (p. 13). The introduction to the chapters (‘Poverty, Power, and the State’) raises thecrucial questions that are confronted in the succeeding chapters. Two of such relateto the incorporation of citizenship in poverty reduction programmes and how bestto locate power in the context of organizing for poverty eradication. Power be-comes instrumental even in the conception – and subsequently, programme ofaction against poverty – of poverty as Blandine Destremau’s chapter (8) emphas-ises. This power is multidimensional, manifesting in the Bretton Woods institu-tions’ now-admittedly failed structural adjustment programme on the continent,supra-national organisations like the UN, EU and the NGOs that cover the faces ofsuch institutions by pretending to be part of ‘civil society’, the local ruling eliteand the fundamental structural problems that are folded into the post-colonialenterprise by the preceding colonial arrangement. The undesirable separation ofeconomic and social policies is deplored here, while the editors emphasize theimportance of the social consequences of economic policies and the fact that, at theend of the day, ‘economic growth’ is not an end in itself but a means of achievingthe well being of citizens (p. 4). Archie Majefe’s rigorous and searing ‘Conceptual and Philosophical Predis-position’ searches into the nature and dynamics of the African predicament in thecontext of the question raised in the introduction about whether the African state isa facilitator of or impediment to development and poverty reduction on the conti-nent. The chapter raises the core question of social agency and change: Who willdo it? (p. 23) While noting the inherent incapacity of the African state and theabsence of a patriotic and re-productive national bourgeoisie, Majefe still goes
  • 105. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 105ahead to recommend a joint solution between the ‘socially disadvantaged peopleand their representatives or governments’ which will result in investment in the‘under-capitalized majority’ through the use of their (disadvantaged people) onlyform of wealth – labour. This solution becomes a conundrum as the Big Problem,the African state/ government/ ruling elite, is (are) again expected to facilitate aprocess that – if it is taken to its logical conclusion – would eventually lead to thedemise of the state as presently constituted in the continent. Kenneth Good runs through the tradition of democracy from classical Athensto the American Liberal variant which has, according to him – and this is largelytrue – distorted the transcendental goals of democratic life by tolerating ‘povertyand severe inequalities because of its symbiosis with laissez-faire, winner-takes-allcapitalism and its diminution of citizenship’ (p. 47). Participatory democracy,opposed by the ruling elite, produces opposite results, given the fact that it ‘up-holds broad egalitarian ideals’. Hartley Dean makes the direct linkage betweenpoverty and citizenship analysing both the ‘ameliorative’ and ‘transformative’perspectives on citizenship, and arguing that the solution to poverty would includethe moral repertoires inherent in popular discourse translated to ‘authentic forms ofpolitical discourse’ (p. 70). Perez-Bustilo uses Mahmood Mamdani’s seminalwork, Citizen and Subject, to engage with a comparative perspective on the Afri-can and Latin American conditions of poverty induced by the politics of differenceand the instrumentality of governments and ruling parties (in single party states) inthe transformation of colonial mobilizing organs into organs of coercion. Brigitte Schultz in ‘Poverty and Development in the Age of Globalization:The Role of Foreign Aid’, argues that while ‘foreign aid’ (which she constructs aspart of the new ‘Orwellian-speak’ of international finance capitalism) has noprospect of alleviating poverty, it contributes to the ‘vicious circle that has trapped’most post-colonial states (p. 106). Nazneen Kanji examines the role of the WorldBank and the State in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi and concludes that theWorld Bank did not encourage or support the governments in these countries inreconciling poverty reduction programmes to the social, economic, political andcultural realities of their societies. Blandine Destremau’s narrative of the interface of ‘Poverty, Discourse andState Power’ in Morocco concludes that discourses are central to the way povertyis imagined and therefore ‘managed’ in the specific case – and also beyond theMoroccan case – even though these discourses ultimately raise challenges on theform of integration and citizenship that are to be adopted in specific locales (pp.157-160). The other chapters look into other specific cases Southern Africa includ-ing ‘Poverty and Democratization’ and social assistance scheme in Botswana, pro-poor governance in Mozambique, poverty reduction, women’s budget initiativeand urban poverty in post-Apartheid South Africa. The editors of this book must be commended for bringing together such a richarray of articles which deeply enrich our understanding of the dynamics of pov-erty, particularly in terms how the African state, with the collusion of internationalfinance institutions and fabricated local circumstances, has become the biggestfacilitator of the conditions of poverty even while remaining a major site to reversethe recalcitrant and speedy match of poverty all over the continent. This bookspeaks to the fundamental task of urgent and multi-faceted action, even while it
  • 106. 106 Book reviewsfails in the end, to provide a comprehensive path to how the African state caneither be reformed or transformed, since, as the chapters show poignantly, the issueof poverty on the continent is, at the base, the issue of the nature and character ofthe African state.Wale Adebanwi, Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, NigeriaThe Dynamics of Resource Tenure in West Africa, edited by Camilla Toulmin,Phillipe Lavigne Delville, Samba Traoré. London: James Currey; Athens, OH:Ohio University Press, 2002. £15.95 paperback. ISBN: 0-85255-419-2.Resource tenure might at first seem like a subject of marginal importance andspecialist interest, but as the crisis in Zimbabwe has shown us, access to land andproductive resources are among the most central and complex issues in develop-ment in Africa. In West Africa, the inequalities and conflicts created are less dramatic in scalethan those in the ex-settler states of Southern Africa, but they are more widespread,as is evident not just from the cases studied in this volume, but also from thedisputes and violence over settlement and land-use rights which recur frequentlyacross the region. This volume will be a useful resource to anyone working onsuch issues in West Africa today. The contributions included here are case studies of a wide range of situations,and of ‘resources’ defined broadly, discussing not only land, but also renewableand non-renewable sources of subsistence and wealth-creation. For instance, bothKojo Amanor and Samuel Egbe discuss the tensions between those exploitingtimber and minerals, and those holding customary rights to cultivation plots andgathered forest products such as Kola nut and Raffia in the forests of Ghana andCameroon. Contributors – for the most part academics and development practitioners –present cases where rights to resource exploitation and access are hotly contested:sometimes along familiar lines, such as settled farmers versus migrant pastoralists,as Traoré documents in Wolof – Peuhl disagreements in Senegal. But conflictsbetween a much wider range of parties are also documented: entrepreneuriallandowners, state-planned development schemes, illicit cultivators and loggers,fishermen, hunters, and conservationists seeking to reserve areas from humanexploitation all have very different ideas about resource use which cannot easily bereconciled. And even those who use the land in the same way can be in conflict,for instance small subsistence farmers belonging to different communal and ethnicgroups in dispute over territory. Though some of these tensions have deep historical roots in West Africa, theyhave been inflamed by the increasing pressures on land caused by the combinationof population growth and the failure of fifty years of development strategies toprovide other economic opportunities for West Africa’s citizens. These pressuresare in turn intensified by the trend of alienation of lands to powerful or wealthyindividual interests. Boureima Alpha Gado mentions the increasing transfer oflands in Boboye, Niger, to civil servants who wish to invest their salaries in landpurchases. Traoré notes also that small farmers and pastoralists are dispossessed by
  • 107. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 107entrepreneurial Mouride marabouts who accumulate fertile land and water rights,and who use their political standing as leaders of faith communities to influencethe decisions of land-rights awarding bodies in their own favour. Whether throughopen and legal purchase or illicit transfer as patronage gifts, it is clear that moreand more resource rights are being transferred from communal hands to privateindividuals. Such processes have an environmental significance: not only does the pressureon land produce a constant threat to extend cultivation, grazing and other activitiesinto previously untouched areas, existing farmlands are more intensively exploited,the result often being increased rates of soil exhaustion and erosion, therefore ever-smaller yields: a law of diminishing returns for the small farmers and pastoralists. The whole picture is further complicated by the tendency of the state to be aninterested party, rather than a neutral mediator, in resource-based conflicts ofinterest. This tendency ranges from the central Government’s disposition to favourmore visibly ‘productive’ cultivators over pastoralists in Senegal, to the clearlycompromised neutrality of Ghanaian chiefs who enjoy the right to award lucrativelogging and mining contracts to private interests, in violation of the customaryrights to forest products of their own subjects (see chapter by Amanor). It becomes clear from many of these chapters that the customary or traditionalresource-tenure arrangements in place in many situations across the region are nolonger able to cope with the pressures and conflicts of today’s conditions. Andeven in areas where they continue to function fairly effectively, today’s societymay find them no longer suitable. This seems to be the case in North-West Cam-eroon, where J. A. Mope Simo criticises the gender discrimination embedded intraditional land allocation practices, in which women cannot be recognised aslandholders in their own right. Thus this book serves as food for thought: Is West Africa moving unavoidablytowards a future of individually-held rights to resources and the accumulation ofprivate holdings, at the expense of the communal tradition and the dispossession ofthe less powerful in society? The whole issue ties into the ongoing debate aboutdevelopment and inequality. A historical comparison highlights what is at stake:the several Enclosure Acts of sixteenth to nineteenth century England createdlarge, commercially competitive landholdings, which kick-started a profitableexport economy and produced ample food for the growing cities – two thingswhich many African states desperately need. But this was achieved at the price ofthe creation of a small class of very wealthy individuals, and the dispossession of avast amount of peasant farmers who had no choice but to become low-paid urbanlabour or starve. Does Africa want this kind of future? The strong communal ethicof most African countries and the vein of real anger tapped by Mugabe’s landredistribution suggest that a process of development based on resource accumula-tion and exploitation by the few will be a highly contested one.Olly Owen, graduate student, African Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies(SOAS), University of London, UK
  • 108. 108 Book reviewsBrothers at War: Making Sense of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, by TekesteNegash and Kjetil Tronvoll. Oxford: James Currey; Athens, OH: Ohio UniversityPress, 2000. xii + 179 pp. £12.95 paperback. ISBN: 0-85255-854-6.The Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict of 1998-2000 was a complex war in an under-studiedregion of Africa. Two poor countries, emerging out of 30 years of civil war, re-mobilized their populations and drained their foreign currency reserves – withestimated military expenditures of $300 million a year for each. Domestically,they struggled to feed and house internally-displaced communities and deportees.The total number of deaths may have been as high as 100,000. The basic issue atstake in the war was the actual placement of Italian colonial era boundaries be-tween Ethiopia and Eritrea. At heart, however, the war was about the political andeconomic viability of the two states. Competing nationalisms also fuelled the bitterstruggle between two former allies. Such a conflict needs an accessible introduc-tion, with a clear analysis of the causes and impacts. The book under review suc-ceeds partially in meeting these needs. While it is not fair to judge current publications by authors’ earlier work, aca-demic and political reputations inevitably colour the judgement of both readers andreviewers. This is certainly the case with the current text, received in Eritrea withsome doubt about the authors’ suitability for the task. Negash, in particular, isperceived by Eritreans as an Ethiopian nationalist. This judgement seems to bebased on his political opinions, as well as his earlier books on Eritrean colonialism,which have been critiqued vehemently as presenting ‘an Ethiopian view’ of Eri-trean nationalism (see for instance Richard Reid’s review in the Journal of AfricanHistory). While Tronvoll has less ideological baggage, his anthropological workhas questioned the effectiveness of official Eritrean nationalism in peripheralregions, as well as being sceptical about the level of ‘choice’ in the Eritrean inde-pendence referendum. Yet Brothers at War is not a white-wash, nor is it an apolo-gia for Ethiopian aggression, although the analysis remains coloured, and at timesweakened, by their presumptions. These weaknesses are compounded by some questionable editorial decisionsand the difficulties of publishing an account of the war even before it had ended.First impressions of the book do suggest that an ‘Ethiopianist’ agenda had domi-nated. Opposite page 1 of the text, there is a map described as depicting Eritreaand Ethiopia. Yet, even the most naïve reader should notice a discrepancy betweenthe caption and what is actually depicted. The map shows Ethiopia, labelled in alarge font, and with a white background. Surrounding it, in a darker shade, andlabelled in a smaller type-face, are Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and … Eritrea. Thus,the casual reader might think that this is a book about only Ethiopia, rather thanone that focuses equally on Eritrea and Ethiopia, much less about the conflictbetween the two states. Other decisions also weaken the book’s efforts at neutrality. Given the sensi-tivity of the topic, readers not familiar with the local press would have benefitedfrom information regarding the place of publication of various periodicals. Theauthors’ tendency to cite Ethiopian periodicals (Aser, Tobia, the Recorder) assources of information regarding the Eritrean economic and political situation is
  • 109. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 109also unfortunate. While such sources may be the only ones available, their nationalorigin should have been identified. Other weaknesses include their decision to devote only 2 pages to the ex-tremely complex issue of the historical development of the boundary betweenEritrea and Ethiopia. The Border Commission report, released at The Hague inApril 2002, particularly reveals the limitations of Negash and Tronvoll’s account.The border conflict brought out clearly the conflicting conceptions of how bordersshould be determined. Negash and Tronvoll emphasise apparent Italian changes tothe borders, and suggest that ‘it is uncertain how cognizant Eritrea is of the ambi-guity of these treaties and of the role of uti possidetis or actual possession’ (23). Incontrast, both Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to abide by the decision of ‘a neutralBoundary Commission … with a mandate to delimit and demarcate the colonialtreaty border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902 and 1908) and ap-plicable international law.’ (EEBC, Decision Regarding Delimitation of the Bor-der, The Hague 2002, p. 1). In practice, the commission considered the actualmaps and treaties, activity on the ground by both parties, and diplomatic exchangesbetween the parties (25). The border delimitation is not helped by the confusionsurrounding river names on poorly-defined colonial-era maps, and because certainareas – nominally Eritrean – had been administered first by the TPLF and after1991 by the Ethiopian state. None of these contested issues which comprise thedecision, nor the depositions made by the competing parties, are considered by theauthors. As this suggests, with the release of the border delimitation commission re-port, and the on-going attempts to physically demarcate the border, the studyinevitably appears dated. Their analysis of the outbreak of the conflict holds upreasonably well, but their discussion of the actual border issues would benefit fromrevisiting and consideration of the commission’s decisions. The possibility ofaccess to the depositions of the two countries, would also strengthen their attemptsto interpret the two positions. Despite these limitations, the book does on the whole provide a useful intro-duction to the issues surrounding the border war. In fact, the substantive text itselfoccupies only 101 pages; the remaining third of the volume being numerous ap-pendices, comprising significant governmental documents concerning the war andattempts to resolve it. While some of these can be downloaded from the Internet,others are doubtless less easy to acquire. As such, the text does usefully bringtogether a wide range of material: internet sourced materials, periodicals, gov-ernment propaganda, and interviews with Eritreans and Ethiopians, all of whichare useful for those with little background knowledge of the conflict. Yet even thisaspect of the text has limitations. A peculiarity of the war has been the level ofjargon and jingoism. Eritrea and Ethiopia have thrown verbal missiles at eachother, and the various stages of battle are referred to by the ‘cognoscenti’ as thethird offensive etc. Some interpretation of the significance of terms of disparage-ment like ‘weyane’ (the TPLF-led government) and ‘shaebia’ (The EPLF-ledgovernment) and an explanation or simplified chronology of the different ‘offen-sives’ and ‘invasions’ would have been helpful. As it is, the book does not ad-equately prepare novices to the Eritrea-Ethiopian discourse to disentangle therhetoric still dominating the Internet and governmental statements.
  • 110. 110 Book reviews More positively, the text does present both the Eritrean and the Ethiopian po-sitions on several issues. The opening chapters of the text describe the complicatedhistory of Eritrean and Ethiopian relations during the colonial period, as well as thesometimes conflictual relations between the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front(EPLF), and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), during the struggleagainst the Ethiopian Derg. The authors choose not to give a categorical determination of the causes of theconflict. Instead, they hint vaguely that a ‘powerful motive’ might have been ‘thequest for a final delimitation of the borders and hence the strengthening of Eritreanidentity.’ (30). Although they express scepticism about the economic roots of theconflict, they nonetheless commit a chapter to discussing them, which provides auseful account of the economic and political changes in the two countries afterEritrea’s independence. One puzzle that they fail to examine is why the Eritreanauthorities mobilised the entire militarily-trained population (an estimated 50,000former national service youth, not including the army) at the end of April 1998,several weeks before the first armed conflict. These youth, who were putativelymobilised as part of a month-long development campaign, were then transferreddirectly to the fronts, and remained there for the duration of the conflict. Domestic events in both Eritrea and Ethiopia have also overtaken their analy-sis. In their discussion, the domestic political impact of the war is mostly withreference to Ethiopia. But since 2000, both the Eritrean and Ethiopian regimesfaced domestic opposition and criticism, deriving at least in part from the experi-ences of the war. Particularly in Eritrea, where the mobilised army occupied amuch higher proportion of its smaller population, the fall-out from the war tooklonger in coming, but may prove to have a deeper impact on the political system. Although some of the domestic incidents remain unclear, the authors provide aparticularly good account of the failure of international diplomacy – and of therelative lack of international resources and attention given to these negotiations,compared with European conflicts. They concur with many other analysts that theUS attempts at brokering ceasefire under the Clinton administration were amateur-ish. Unfortunately, they reproduce a standard account found elsewhere in theliterature: that the administration’s decision to send ‘Ms’ Susan Rice at the head ofthe US delegation signified the scant importance they attached to the conflict. Thefact that Dr Rice – Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs – was the mostsenior member of the administration responsible for the subcontinent eludes theirnotice. One suspects that the two sides would have preferred an eminence grise –and preferably a male one – to assuage their egos. One of the strengths of their analysis is found in their emphasis, albeit littlediscussed, on the incompatible and irreconcilable differences in the parallel stateformation processes of Eritrea and Ethiopia. As they note, the Ethiopian ethnicfederalism coupled with the overlap in various population groups threatens Eri-trea’s unitary and nationalist approach. Although both scholars’ previous work hasbeen sceptical about the strength of Eritrean nationalism, they avoid discussing itin detail here. Their apparent unease with talk of new identities means that they donot draw on contemporary thinking about the dynamics of culture and citizenshipin post-colonial Africa. The Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict bears some similarities toMahmood Mamdani’s recent analyses of Southern and Central Africa, and the
  • 111. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 111impact of colonialism and colonial borders on political identities. In her analysis ofthe conflict, Ruth Iyob, the Eritrean political scientist, draws on Mamdani’s argu-ments in extending her analysis of the Eritrean liberation struggle to the post-1991order. Her argument is that similar reasons underlie both the recent border conflict,and the 30 year Eritrean struggle for independence: Ethiopia’s desire to maintainitself as a regional hegemonic power. But she also emphasises that diasporic states,like Rwanda, Israel, and Eritrea, tend to have offensive foreign policies. Iyob takes Eritrea’s nationalism seriously, and therefore thinks carefully abouthow the diasporic existence of exiles, not to mention 30 years in the trenches,affected political identities among returnees to Eritrea, and the implications of thisfor political decision-makers. In contrast, Negash and Tronvoll emphasize insteadthat ‘Tigrinya in Eritrea and Tigreans in Ethiopia still share a common identity’(p.10) and ‘that the government in Eritrea has yet to succeed in creating a newbasis of identity to supplant that which already exists among the Tigrinya/Tigreanswho straddle Eritrea and Ethiopia’ (p. 11). While experiences elsewhere in Africa certainly counsel caution in treatingstate-led nationalism as monolithic or popular, Negash and Tronvoll go furtherthan necessary in demonstrating scepticism for such claims, although they doacknowledge the impact of Italian colonialism in Eritrea. Iyob’s point is that it isnot just Italian colonialism that shaped Eritrean identity, but also the experience ofEthiopian domination, the conflict against both the Haile Selassie and Derg re-gimes, and the return of former exiles, which Negash and Tronvoll portray as theEritrean government view. At a level this difference of interpretation is at the heartof both bitter conflicts between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and Eritrean and Ethiopianacademics. Indeed, Negash and Tronvoll’s description of the conflict as ‘a warbetween brothers’ (p. 169) would itself be denied by many Eritrean academics,who see Eritrea as encompassing more than simply the border-straddling andpolitically dominant Tigrinya speaking groups on which they focus. Overall, this text reveals the difficulties of rushing into print, especially onsensitive topics. A more balanced account, emphasising the on-going domesticfall-out of the conflict, and incorporating analysis of the Border Commissionruling, would have had more weight and long-term significance.Sara Rich Dorman, University of Asmara, EritreaBetween the Sea and the Lagoon: An Eco-social History of the Anlo of South-eastern Ghana c.1850 to Recent Times, by Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong.Oxford: James Currey; Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2002. £16.95 paper-back. ISBN: 0-85255-777-9.This is a history of the struggle of the Anlo people to carve a living space forthemselves against the increasingly tempestuous encroachment of their land by thelagoon and the sea. This heroic daily struggle between the Anlos and the powerfulforces of nature is because a third of their lands has been occupied by the Keta,Angaw, and Avu lagoons. However, the space occupied by the lagoon keepsexpanding as these lagoons are often aided by the sea in eroding large swathes ofAnlo land. Between the Sea and the Lagoon explains and emphasizes the dynamic
  • 112. 112 Book reviewsand symbiotic relationship between the people and their environment. The authorguides the reader through a very revealing and insightful narration of the uniquesocio-economic environment within which the Anlos find themselves. Notwith-standing the precarious advances by these water bodies, the people of Anlo whooriginally were farmers have managed to develop and adapt a unique lifestyle totheir environment. This well researched book which chronicles the history of the Anlos is dividedinto eight chapters. There are several important themes that Akyeampong’s workthrows up. Firstly, it recounts the historical processes by which the Anlos becamethe people of the sea and how they developed their small land area into a veryuseful commercial zone based on slave-trading, and eventually as a conduit wherevaluable goods like slaves, liquor, gunpowder etc, could be smuggled easily toother countries such as Togo (then a German colony) as a response by traders ofthe Gold Coast to escape the exorbitant tax rates imposed on them by the Britishcolonial masters. Eventually, the arrival of Europeans resulted in the establishmentof trading outposts and castles in Anloland. This resulted into a thriving markettown with traders coming from as far afield as Nigeria to participate in the marketdays. The book also stresses the importance of the Anlo coastal areas which alsothrived as a unique harbours (surf ports) where goods could be easily off loadedfrom foreign ships on to the mainland and vice versa. However, the unstableecology of Anloland made living in the area a daily struggle. Akyeampong notesthe significant contribution of the main water bodies in the Anlo ecology to theproduction of salt and Fishing (first in the lagoon and then the sea.). But he alsoclarifies the negative impact that continued coastal erosion had on the propertiesand wealth of the Anlo people. Due to the ceaseless onslaught of lagoon flooding and sea erosion, the Anloswent to the colonial government for help. But the colonial government did not seethe merits in building an expensive sea defence project for the Anlos who had novaluable natural resources as compared to the other parts of the country. In despe-ration, the people turned to their traditional religion, then to Christianity but bothapparently failed to restore or prevent the continued erosion. In trying to explainthe unabated rise in the destruction of properties by the sea and lagoon, the authornoted that the Anlos linked the construction of the artificial deep-water harbours ofTakoradi and Tema and the construction of the hydro-electric dams on the Voltariver to the intensity of the erosion on the Anlo coasts as well as the decline in fishstocks in both the lagoon and the sea. This is quite interesting as the people tried tovalidate this claim by comparing the high water marks of the area after the con-struction of the harbours and the dam to the period before the construction. Fromthe analysis in the book, one observes a clear linkage between the two. The book adopts the qualitative method of research with a lot of in-depth in-terviews with prominent Anlos, which reveal deep insights into the eco-socialenvironment. Besides the numerous interviews conducted by the author, the bookalso contains some new and useful information such as those concerning the in-digenous belief system of the Anlos which explains that knowledge of the landswest to the Volta was of little importance to both the colonial and post-colonialgovernments.
  • 113. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 113 Akyeampong’s reason for choosing to study the Anlo was mainly because ofits unique environment and culture, which is very much unlike rain-forested areaslike Ashanti. A variety of other themes are discussed in the book. These include adjustmentto an aquatic environment, overlapping trade networks, the advent of sea-fishing,modernity and socio-environmental change, intensive agricultural techniques,harbours and dams amongst others. According to Akyeampong, the Anlos viewtheir relationship with nature as a symbiotic one that is constantly changing. Whilethe Anlos initially believed that they had moved into a harsh environment withinfertile soil, irregular rainfall, and frequent droughts, they eventually overcamethese adversities by developing and adopting technologies that facilitated theintensive exploitation of the environment. Ironically, it was when these adversitieshad been overcome that a new set of potentially more damaging challenges arose,namely the threat on two fronts from lagoon flooding and sea erosion. While the book may have been thoroughly researched, there is, however, a cu-rious omission. This concerns the issue of what form of socialisation processesexisted during the mid 19th century at the time of colonial invasion. I believe that itis basically through this socialisation process that the form and structure of thetraditional Anlo economy could be easily appreciated. This aspect of socialisationis also important because it is what distinguishes an adult from a child and alsodetermines the role of an individual in the whole society. Socialisation is definedas the process through which an individual learns the ways and rules of a society orgroup; the process of development or change that a person experiences as a conse-quence of social influence. The issue of socialisation is thus important as thebeneficial effects of the white man’s educational system is seen as one of the majorways which helped to change some aspects of Anlo social life. Also, it is important to know which traditional socialisation processes existedbefore the coming of the colonial master and the gradual introduction of the educa-tional system of the white man. The other minor omission relates to social relationships, that is, the mutual in-volvement of persons belonging to a social collectivity. Apart from discussingethnic tensions arising from marriages between Anlo and foreigners, the authorneglected the issue of internal Anlo marriages or divorces and their impact on theeconomy and land tenure. These omissions notwithstanding, the book is of a very high scholarly calibre.The author has managed to achieve his set objectives by carefully arranging theeco-social developments of the Anlo people into an exciting narration.Patrick Dela Cofie, African Security Dialogue & Research, Accra, GhanaNkrumah and the Chiefs: The Politics of Chieftaincy in Ghana 1951-60, byRichard Rathbone. Oxford: James Currey; Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press,2000. £14.95 paperback. ISBN: 0-85255-770-1.The title of this book, Nkrumah and the Chiefs – The Politics of Chieftaincy inGhana 1951-60, is appropriate as it captures the difficult relationship betweenKwame Nkrumah and the institution of chieftaincy in Ghana. Similar to numerous
  • 114. 114 Book reviewsother texts about Kwame Nkrumah, this book is really about the nexus between‘new’ and ‘old’ power correlations; in this case, the struggle for power betweenKwame Nkrumah’s Convention Peoples Party (CPP) and the oligarchic traditionalChiefs. In fact this is not just another adulatory piece, so brace yourself becauseRathbone does not seek to glorify Nkrumah but rather to untangle Nkrumah’srelationship with chiefs and chieftaincy as an institution in Ghana, and the relation-ship portrayed is one of Nkrumah’s more tenuous struggles with the traditionalelite concerning who controlled the rural masses and ultimately access to power. Inthe end, chiefs ended up not only becoming fearful, but also mere puppets dancingto whatever tune was played by the CPP government. In unravelling this complexrelationship, Rathbone recreates and chronologically establishes the importantevents occurring in this relationship. The book is divided into 12 chapters. The picture on the front-page shows aparamount chief bowing with a smile and welcoming Nkrumah. Besides, Nkrumahhas a raised sword which seems to suggest that he was ordaining the chief. This isquite significant as the whole book is concerned with elevating loyal chiefs and de-stooling the disloyal ones. Rathbone’s book explains the multiple post-independence dynamics that havecontributed to the present status of chieftaincy in Ghana. The book begins with aconceptual question: Are chiefs in Ghana what they ought to be, have been, ac-claimed to be, or supposed to be? The author takes a historical approach to unravelling Nkrumah’s complex re-lationship with chiefs in which Nkrumah was perceived as a bully ready to applyboth legal and unlawful means to humiliate and obliterate both his perceived andreal opponents. And in this case the only perceived opponents of Kwame Nkrumahwere the chiefs who dabbled in politics and often supported political groups seenas opponents of the CPP. Chapter two starts with the very important role of the chief in the colonial pe-riod and move by the colonial authorities to institute the Native Authorities Ordi-nance Act in 1944. This Act led to the Native Courts Ordinance of 1944 whichreduced the power of the chiefs in their courts. The chapter explains in detail thestruggle of the chiefs to regain their authority and jurisdiction whilst as usual theelite and the colonialists tried to reduce their status. It is important to note thatbefore the CPP came into prominence, the political elites of the time had chiefs astheir main opponents, and according to the author, they ‘resented the dominance ofchiefs in the colonial councils of state and had done so for decades.’ Chapter three discusses the Local Government Ordinance of August 1951 andits consequences. The creation of this Ordinance was instigated by both the chiefsand the CPP which had six of the eleven seats. While the chiefs hoped that with thepassage of the ordinance they could gain greater control and national power tomanoeuvre and protect their interests, the CPP felt the ordinance was necessary sothat they could reduce the power of the chiefs towards whom they had deep-seatedhostility. In the long run the CPP won. One particular revelation from this chapter is the fact that the CPP felt thatsome British expatriate officers were supporting the chiefs. Thus the CPP African-ised the District Commissioners institution by filling those positions with theirsupporters who reported to a CPP minister. By this act, each district had two
  • 115. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 115leaders – the CPP appointee and the chief of an area. But the question of powerremained. This question led to the de-stoolment of many chiefs who felt that theirlegitimate customary and traditional right to rule was above the CPP and ordinarypolitics. Thus, with the powers of the African District Commissioners and thecontrol of the local Authorities, the CPP easily gained more support in areas wherethere were problems with chieftaincy (p. 39). In chapter four where the author describes ‘the erosion of chiefly jurisdiction’,he explains how Sir Arku Korsah, was appointed in 1950, to head a committee tolook into how best to improve the Native Courts system. Because these Courtswere unregulated by the government, they became ineffective and quite oftencorrupt. Thus, when the Arku Korsah Committee came up with reform proposals,the CPP appointed their own men to help run the court system and also therebyclear it of their opponents. As Rathbone states ‘the removal of chiefs from courtsundermined them by denying them a formal role in conciliation and the mainte-nance of the ethical basis of customary law’ (p. 58). But this argument from Rath-bone is problematic in two senses. First, is the implicit assumption that chiefs asindividuals and chieftaincy as an institution necessarily played conciliatory roles inGhanaian society. There is more than enough evidence in the book to dispel thisassumption. Second, is the conjecture that once again chiefs played more than anephemeral ethical role in upholding customary law. More often than not, chiefswere themselves perpetrators of acts that were directly contradictory to and contra-vened customary law. Chapter five explains how states like Akyem Abuakwa and Ashanti sufferedbecause they were seen as the back bone and support for the National LiberationMovement (NLM), opponents of the CPP in the 1954 elections. This chaptershows how chiefs struggled to gain recognition in governance as independencewas at hand and the country was being reformed. The chiefs wanted some form ofgreater participation and made representations on the matter to the government ofwhich Kwame Nkrumah was the Prime Minister. However, Nkrumah’s gov-ernment did everything it could to prevent the chiefs from achieving their aim,leading the author to conclude that, ‘that (the CPP government) wished to controlchieftaincy is beyond doubt.’. This chapter discusses the 1954 election where states using their support forthe CPP tried to defect from certain paramountcies. A perfect example of this issuewas the case of the Dormaa state versus the Ashanti paramountcy. Interestinglytoo, the chapter explains how some chiefs had to change their minds to suit eitherthe NLM or the CPP. It was bad judgment for those who chose the NLM, for theconsequence was de-stoolment. In the rest of the book, the author deals with the NLM and how it polarisedAshanti and Brong Ahafo regions. It also talks about how Akyem Abuakwa suf-fered from the lack of development funds and also how politics destroyed localgovernment. Nkrumah not only gained independence for Ghana but also absolutepolitical powers which he used to crush the chiefs by elevating the position ofregional commissioners to that of a ministerial role. In other words, they weremore powerful than the chiefs of the region. Rathbone also tries to show that despite Kwame Nkrumah’s many achieve-ments, especially his fight against colonialism, one of the darkest aspects of his
  • 116. 116 Book reviewsregime was that he tried to destroy the rich Ghanaian chieftaincy culture. Althoughhe was able to de-stool several chiefs including the great Okyehene, Nkrumahcould not change the chieftaincy system forever. He was only successful for awhile. The celebration of the silver jubilee of the Otumfuo the Ashantihene in1995 demonstrated this fact. In concluding the book, the author brings out some significant excesses ofNkrumah’s government and comments extensively on the effects of these acts onordinary Ghanaians. These included the Preventive Detention Order and the depor-tation of other nationals. Thus, he tries to demonstrate the fact that it was theauthoritarian dimension of Nkrumah’s rule that to a large extent led to his over-throw.Emmanuel Kwesi Aning, African Security Dialogue & Research, Accra, GhanaThe Issue of Political Ethnicity in Africa, edited by E. Ike Udogu. Aldershot:Ashgate, 2001. 224pp. £39.95 hardback. ISBN: 0-7546-1556-1.This collection of eight articles edited by E Ike Udogu takes a fresh new look atthe question of ethnicity in Africa from a number of theoretical and empiricalperspectives. Written by African scholars mainly based in North American univer-sities (with the exception of A.B. Zack-Williams), it challenges some receivedwisdoms about ethnicity or ‘tribalism’ as it is commonly known in Africa andsuggests that only through context specific understandings of the significance andsalience of ethnicity, will it be possible to develop political systems which accom-modate or contain it effectively whilst minimising its potential corrosive effects.Although there is general consensus around this point, there is a debate amongstthe contributors about what to do about ethnicity; whether on the one hand to giveit political legitimacy through creating space for federal political arrangements orethnic political parties, or whether on the other hand to de-emphasise politicalethnicity and condemn it as a scourge on the democratic political process. Thevolume is divided into three sections; the first provides the analytical foundation ofthe collection and synthesises a selected number of theoretical texts on ethnicityusing them to shed light on the African problematic. The second includes threecase studies on Nigeria, Kenya and Sierra Leone, which look particularly at howethnic politics have evolved in the context of state decay and political incumbency.The third explores how to transform the architecture of political deliberation inorder to reduce or mitigate conflicts along ethnic lines. What marks this collection out is its successful attempt on the one hand tocome to grips with and challenge the basic premises of most Africanist theoreticalliterature on ethnicity and on the other to dare to suggest that ethnicity ought to bere-thought and taken seriously as a foundation for a reorganisation of the relation-ship between African states and their citizens. Both Udogu in chapter 2, ‘Ethnicityand Theory in African Politics,’ and Peyi Soyinka-Airewele in chapter 9, ‘WesternDiscourse and the Socio Political Pathology of Ethnicity in Contemporary Africa,’argue that we urgently need to move beyond deliberations over the origins ofethnicity, whether it is constructed, based on primordial loyalties or the result of
  • 117. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 117manipulations from above, towards an interrogation of how and why ethnicitybecomes mobilisable as a political force. This means looking more closely at thematerial and social contexts within which this takes place. Citing Schermerhorn,Udogu emphasises the importance of ethnic consciousness: ‘a necessary accom-paniment is some consciousness of kind among members of the group.’ Soyinka-Airewele echoes Udogu’s observations arguing that although there is still muchdebate over the origins of ethnic consciousness: ‘there is some consensus thatethnicity involves a form of common consciousness and social organisation, whichmay be derived from primordial or utilitarian characterizations refined over timeand according to specific historical circumstances. Such a collective consciousnessmay be harnessed to provide a framework for debate or action within or outside thegroup’. In very much the same vein as Claude Ake in The Feasibility of Democ-racy in Africa, who has also extensively influenced the contributions of Ihonvbereand Vaughan in this collection, Soyinka-Airewele goes on to argue that what weneed to recognise and seek to understand is the weight and import of ethnic identi-ties in peoples daily lives. Poverty, argues J. Ihonvbere in chapter 4, ‘The Sate and Ethnicity in Africa,’is a root cause of the salience of ethnicity, which has become a mobilisable forcein a context in which the state has desisted from its developmental agenda, and isunable to provide a rallying point for the emergence or sustenance of a nationalidentity. Ethnic associations although often subject to elite ‘capture’, he argues, arebetter able to cater for their member’s interests than the state, which is experiencedby most people as a a form of violence. The paradoxical situation in which thestate is ‘irrelevant’ on the one hand and on the other actively participates in thecrafting of the ideology of ethnicity which structures people’s political affiliationsposes some conceptual and analytical problems. This paradox is highlighted by F.Walfula Okuma in the Kenya case study in chapter 6, ‘Ethnic Politics and theDecay of the state in Kenya.’ Okuma is more reticent about celebrating the meritsof ethno-nationalism. He argues with respect to Kenya and very much in a con-structivist vein, that political ethnicity is a product of the colonial and post colonialgovernmentality of divide and rule, resurrected by Jomo Kenyatta and institution-alised into a form of state craft by President Daniel Arap Moi. ‘Moi’s survivalstrategy has been to ethnicize Kenyan politics. By playing the ethnic card he hasbalkanized the state to his convenience.’ This, notwithstanding his resolute andpublic condemnation of ‘tribalism’ as the enemy of the Kenyan nation, as is any-one perceived to be a critic of the Moi regime. For this reason the author disagreeswith John Boye Ejobowah in chapter 8, ‘The Limits and Possibilities of Conflict-Reduction Strategies in Africa’s Polyethnic,’ that forms of federalism, ethnicparties and constitutional reform which encourage cross-party i.e. cross ethniccollaboration, could be a means of resolving ethnic conflicts. Okuma sets no storeby federalism or majimboism as it is known in Kenya, as a way out of ethnic zero-sum politics. He argues that because ethnic units themselves have been nurturedand constructed as a strategy for maintaining corrupt regimes, they can hardly pavethe way forward as institutionalised units across which to do business. Instead hepresents a wish list of changes which include ridding Kenyan politics of morallycorrupt politicians who have promoted ethnicity, democratising the state, redraw-ing administrative and political boundaries to reflect ‘fairness and equity’, consti-
  • 118. 118 Book reviewstutional changes to curb the misuse of power and resources and retraining stateadministrators, and encouraging Kenyans to embrace new political values, such asequity, justice, democracy and constitutionalism (Okuma 2001:122). He doesn’thowever suggest how this might be done, i.e. how Kenya is supposed to get fromwhere it is now, to the ideal world which he describes. Whilst Ihonvbere’s account, presented as it is in abstract general terms, doesnot quite manage to square the circle between ethnic constituency as a ‘true’ andworthy unit of socio-political reconstruction and ethnic constituency as the productof a corrupt and cynical state, Vaughan’s analysis, based on a concrete case studyof the ethnic politics in the south of Nigeria in chapter 5, ‘The Ethnic Dimensionsof Nigeria’s Post-Annulment Crisis: Case Studies from the South,’ provides somesalutary insights. He argues that the recent upsurge in ethno-nationalist movementsamongst the numerically strong ethnic groups, notably the Igbo and Yoruba whodo not necessarily have a grass roots following, is as much about already privi-leged elites within ethnically privileged groups seeking to secure access to power.However the ethno-nationalist movements of the oil producing areas of the NigerDelta differ in terms of their grass roots mobilisation and the way in which theychallenge the elites within their own communities, who are perceived to havebenefited from years of oil exploration and production. Ethnicity in the oil produc-ing areas represents something quite different Vaughan argues: ‘The struggle ofthe minorities of the oil-producing regions goes beyond the simple constitutionaland electoral questions that had hitherto consumed the attention of the ethno-regional leadership... [B]ecause of their profound structural disadvantage in thegeo-political configuration of power, combined with their strategic location in theoil producing areas, Niger Delta minorities pose a difficult challenge to the state.’He suggests that ‘communal groups may emerge as agents of grassroots resistanceto repressive regimes, even as the state faces rapid decay’. His point is then thatone cannot generalise about what ethnicity represents or does not; one has to go toseek out empirical evidence to substantiate broader claims, which must also alwaysbe contextualised. Whether indeed the ethno-nationalist struggles of the oil produc-ing minorities represent a new type of ethnic politics can only be determined aftermore in depth case studies which analyse the linkages between grass roots organi-sations and the leadership structures of the ethno nationalist movements in ques-tion. The sudden interest in Niger Delta politics which has emerged since theOgoni uprisings of the early 1990s, after decades of academic neglect, may explainwhy what may have been evolving over time, appears ‘suddenly’ as a new and adifferent form of ethnic politics from what obtains in the rest of Nigeria. Suchclaims need to be empirically tested. The collection provides important suggestions for avenues of reflection abouthow we might begin to re-think ethnicity in Africa. The reasons for the tensionsbetween the different perspectives of the contributors are lucidly explained by PeyiSoyinka-Airewele – incidentally the only woman contributor – who along withOlufemi Vaughan deserve joint prize for the most thought provoking article in thecollection. Soyinka-Airewele argues that part of the problem is the ‘double-consciousness’ of African intellectuals and elites in general, who have been so‘damaged’ by the negative representations of ‘tribalism’ in the West, that they arewont to see anything ethnic as backward and primitive. She suggests that until we
  • 119. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 119can begin to rethink the way in which we understand ethnic community, and divestourselves of the shame which we associate with it, we will not be able to identifythe fundamental causes of Africa’s woes, which she concedes may be exacerbatedby the mobilisation of ethnic identities, but which are not fundamentally caused bythem. In spite of the emerging recognition of the importance of ethnicity in restruc-turing political realities in post-cold war Europe, Africa’s global image is still oneof tribe and tribalism, with all its associated negative connotations. This contrast issharply brought out by the results of a piece of computer aided discourse analysisof media reporting of the conflict in Rwanda and the conflict in Bosnia / formerYugoslavia throughout 1995, to which she refers. It notes a significantly higherincidence of the use of the words tribe, orgy and massacre with respect to Rwandawhere 800,000 people were killed as compared to the former Yugoslavia, where200,000 were killed. In the latter case words like ‘killing’ and ‘ethnic’ tended to beused. This is in spite of ‘the widely reported use of rape and mass killing as acharacteristic weapon of war.’ She echoes the call of fellow contributors in advo-cating a new role of the state as manager, arbiter and guarantor of rights and par-ticipation of individuals and groups, but if and only if the reconstructed statemodel is based on a reconstruction of ethnicity, an acceptance of its presence, anda celebration of multi-ethnicity particularly in the educational system. ‘[O]ne ofthe many tasks facing African governments is that of finding new structures ofrepresentation, appropriate and vibrant, that are cognizant of the ethnic calculus.’ It seems that in spite of the fears of violence which an open debate on eth-nicity in Africa might arouse and the risk which Udogu cautions against of bring-ing ethnic ‘embers to the fore’ any discussion of how to reconfigure the relation-ship between state and citizen and how to institutionalise democracy, would bemeaningless without one.Kathryn Nwajiaku, Nuffield College, Oxford University, UKSouth Africa: Limits to Change: The Political Economy of Transition, by HeinMarais. London: Zed Books, 2001. £16.95 paperback. ISBN: 1-85649-967-7.The second edition of Hein Marais’ South Africa: Limits to Change: The PoliticalEconomy of Transition, could not have come at a better time. The course of thedevelopment of the political transition is well under way. The undeniable nature ofthe neo-liberal stance of the South African state appears before us. The conse-quences of the imposition of neo-liberalism, in all its spheres, have a soberingeffect on us all. The forces of neo-liberalism manifest themselves in the fiercewaves of anti neo-liberal civic struggles that are daily replicated throughout thecountry. Anti neo-liberal struggles appear in various forms: struggles againstwater, electricity, and sewerage services privatisation, among others. They havealso soberingly appeared in the struggles of landless people evicted and arrested ona daily basis. The attendant consequence of the imposition of neo-liberal policies isthe blood-drenched state terror, where the ANC-led Government has mounteddevastating repressive measures against countless civic leaders. Harold Wolpe’scaution that we should realise ‘(…) the significance of diversity and discontinuity
  • 120. 120 Book reviewswithin a process of continuity,’1 cannot be heeded at a more appropriate time thanthis. Marais’ volume is one of the pioneers in the post-apartheid South African po-litical economic literature that critically unpacks and attempts to understand thetransition in a Marxist structural-functionalist perspective. His analysis boldlymoves away (not ignoring them though) from premising the analysis of the transi-tion from the traditional perspective of examining the impact of institutions,movements, parties, significant historical events and personalities. Marais substan-tiates his preferred analytical perspective: Some readers might feel that, in attempt-ing to broaden this inquiry beyond the confines of political drama, it errs in theopposite direction – by laying undue stress on the economic. One hopes that suchjudgements would take into account the extent to which the South African struggleitself became defined by a political reductionism that collapsed the political econ-omy of privilege and deprivation into the form of the apartheid state. Generatedwas an instrumentalist conception of state, one that regarded it as a site of concen-trated power that, once captured, would become the central agent of transforma-tion. He then argues that instead of transforming the state after seizing, the ANCfound itself assimilated into it. The ANC managed to transform the state in ‘(…)stunted and ambiguous ways.’ He then further explains that: ‘That alone, however,does not explain the apparently foreshortened horizons of change that now con-found that movement. For in capitalist society, the circuits through which powerand privilege are reproduced course not only through the state but also throughcivil society, which is dominated by the formations of capital. This requires anexpansive understanding of the transitions and the developments that presaged it.’(p. 2). Marais’ book comes also at a crucial time in the intellectual evolution ofSouth African political economic literature. There is now a move away from ananalysis based on the treatment of South Africa as miraculous creature of transi-tion, to a refreshing understanding of it as another country whose regimes changedhands when the world was already in the deep throes of a globalised economicsystem. Neville Alexander reverberates this analysis when he points out that it is(…) precisely because of this apparent exceptionalism that it is necessary to scruti-nise the claim that in South Africa there is a real chance to break the chains ofThird World penury. Are we dealing with a miracle or a mirage? (…) in SouthAfrica after the abolition of apartheid as a system of laws and social, political andeconomic institutions and practices based on ‘race’, we are in fact dealing with avery ordinary country, one which has come very late to the table of the comity ofnations.2 Marais’ analysis commences with his attempt to trace the historical originsand evolution of the adoption of liberalism by the Congress-led mass democraticmovement. He points out that the Freedom Charter ‘pointed to a new order whereliberal democratic rights could be combined with a welfarist socio-economic1 Wolpe, H. Race, Class and the Apartheid State, (UNESCO; James Curry Ltd., London & OAU, Addis Ababa,1988), p. 8.2 Alexander, N. An Ordinary Country: Issues in the Transformation from Apartheid to Democracy in SouthAfrica, (University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, 2002), p. 1.
  • 121. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 121system.’3 Marais errs in that he fails to understand or emphasise that the liberaldiscourse within the ANC-led mass democratic movement was implanted duringthe defiance campaigns of the 1950s, led mainly by the ANC Youth League. Thedefiance campaigns necessitated the involvement of progressive anti-apartheidIndian and Coloured movements. These movements were more pre-occupied withtrade and franchise rights than with national liberation. As a result, the ANC andits Youth League (which was gaining prominence in the 1950s within the ANC)had to accommodate the language of civil and individual rights. The legacy of thisis one of the hurdles the state is negotiating with in its endeavour to attain ‘demo-cratic transformation’, rather than mere ‘democratic transition’.4 As Jeremy Seek-ings pointed out, ‘Former ANC Youth Leaguers faced a situation where allianceswith Coloured and Indian South Africans required strategies and discourses thatretained much less appeal among Africans at that time.’5 One of the defining characteristics of a mass popular liberating movementturned neo-liberal regime is its consequent alienation from the same masses itrepresented. Marais traces the alienation of the ANC leadership from the blackmasses from the early 1970s, with the advent of the armed struggle. Even JoeSlovo, the former MK (ANC military wing) Chief of Staff, noted that there was‘(…) an attitude both within the organisation and amongst the people that the fateof the struggle depended on the sophisticated actions of a professional elite. Theimportance of the masses was theoretically appreciated, but in practice mass politi-cal work was minimal.’6 That encouraged the ANC to set up underground cellstructures, and to forge close ties with Black Consciousness leaders. However,Marais underestimates the overwhelming support and influence that the ANC hadgained from the black masses throughout its then sixty-something years of exist-ence. Although the core of the ANC leadership was either in exile, or at RobbenIsland and some other jails, its presence was still solidly visible. This was clearlyapparent during the decisive UDF-led civic unrest of the 1980s in the black town-ships. It was apparent mainly in the political culture of the 1980s mobilisation.Seekings attested to this, pointing out that: Popular protest drew on the politicaltraditions of the past – but not, for the most part, on the same traditions as the UDFnor from the UDF itself. The symbolism of resistance was that of the exiled ANC;the UDF was sometimes incorporated as a symbolism in this, but as a subordinatesymbol. Thus songs exhorted the ANC, not the UDF; chants praised the armedstruggle, not non-violent strategies; and the flags draped over the coffins at politi-cal rallies were in the colours of the ANC, not the UDF. Indeed, on the streets fewpeople identified themselves as, first and foremost, UDF supporters or members.7 Perhaps the elite leadership style of the ANC explains some factors during thetransition which account for the state’s rightward movement. Marais informs usthat in November 1993, the ANC entered into a secret $850 million loan agree-3 H. Marais, South Africa: Limits to Change, (2001), p. 24.4 Saul, J.S. ‘Cry the Beloved Country: The Post-Apartheid Denouement’, in, S. Jacobs & R. Calland (eds.) ThaboMbeki’s World: The Politics and Ideology of the South African President, (University of Natal Press, Pieter-maritzburg, 2002), p. 32.5 J. Seekings, The UDF: A History of the United Democratic Front in South Africa, 1983-1991, (David PhilipPubl., Cape Town & James Curry, London, 2002), p. 7.6 Davidson et al (1977), p. 193, cited in H. Marais (2001) op. cit., p. 28.7 J. Seekings, UDF: A History of the United Democratic Front in South Africa, 1983 – 1991, (2002), p. 23.
  • 122. 122 Book reviewsment with the IMF in order to help the incumbent government cover its balance ofpayments difficulties. The neo-liberal GEAR (Growth, Employment and Redistri-bution) macro-economic policy was prepared and delivered in a non-consultativemanner even within the National Executive Committee of the ANC. Marais nar-rates that: After being drawn up in ‘somewhat secretive conditions’,8 GEAR wasreleased after perfunctory ‘briefings’ of a few top-ranking ANC, SACP andCOSATU figures. The ‘COSATU and SACP leaders, according to one participant,were shown only the section headings.’9 ‘I confess even the ANC learnt of GEARfar too late – when it was almost complete’, Mandela would later admit.10 Marais’ analysis of the political economy of South Africa’s transition can onlyelicit a grand applause. He analyses the transition from a historical materialisticperspective, though not ignoring the significance of political action. At the end ofit all, we cannot but sorrowfully agree with Anglo-American’s Clem Sunter’sstatement that, ‘Negotiation works. Rhetoric is dropped, reality prevails and in theend the companies concerned go on producing the minerals, goods and services.’11Buntu Siwisa, D.Phil. Politics, St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, UKTed Leggett, Rainbow Vice: The Drugs and Sex Industries in the New SouthAfrica. Cape Town: David Phillip; London & New York: Zed Books, 2001.£13.95 paperback. ISBN: 1-84277-135-3.What makes Ted Leggett’s book so unique is that it gives a gripping account of thedrug and sex trade in post-apartheid South Africa. This book is undoubtedly avaluable contributory text to the literature on this topic. Rainbow Vice recountsethnographic narratives of the drug and sex industries in post-apartheid SouthAfrica as expressed by those involved in the industries. The book is not only foracademic purposes but is also heavily underpinned by a policy objective. Leggettopenly and unapologetically states that he wishes to use his findings to contributetowards understanding the drug and sex trade. The joy of this book is that it pro-vides fascinating real life accounts of two industries, which are both so difficult toaccess in a country like South Africa. The opening chapter titled ‘The Nature of Vice’ creates the conceptual frame-work for the book. Leggett presents the debates regarding vice in South Africa. Heargues strongly that South Africa’s vice situation is uniquely articulated. This hejustifies by suggesting that vice problems reflect the distortions introduced by theapartheid state and are most often regionally and ethnically based. Based upon thishypothesis, the book is structured accordingly. It explains the dominance of threecategories of drugs according to their ethnically based histories. It also traces thechanges in drug patterns with the internationalisation of the South African drug8 Gelb, (1999) p. 16.9 Glenn Adler & Eddie Webster, Trade Unions and Democratization in South Africa, 1985-1997, (PalgraveMacmillan, London & New York, NY, 1999), p. 16.10 H. Marais (2001) op. cit., p. 162.11 Ibid, p. 123.
  • 123. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 123economy. Chapters three, four and five deal specifically with the drugs that dominatein a South African context. Of these, chapter three speaks to what has traditionally been viewed as an Afri-can drug – ‘cannabis’. Leggett argues that cannabis has always been a readily avail-able and relatively harmless drug in South Africa. The danger it presents to SouthAfrica now though, lies not in its physical effects, but in the fact that it is the currencythrough which other dangerous drugs are being exported to South Africa at reducedrates. Chapter four titled ‘White Pipe Gangsterism’ tells of a uniquely South Africandrug called ‘mandrax’. During the apartheid era, given the largely impermeableborders and economic sanctions, it was the only substitute for hard drugs in thecountry. It is heavily associated with the gangster culture, primarily because it wasbased in ‘coloured areas’ in South Africa. Leggett recounts its historical interconnec-tion with the apartheid state, and traces its role in drug and gangster warfare, arguingthat it underpins many of the drug wars in ‘coloured’ areas. What is particularlyfascinating in this chapter is the oral history accounts of the emergence of the prisongangs called the numbers gangs, such as the 26’s and 28’s, which are still notorious inSouth African prisons. Chapter five, ‘Ravers and Club Drugs’, presents an overview of drugs associatedwith the white population. This chapter is taxing because it explains in exhaustivetechnical detail the chemical constitution and effects of these drugs. What makes thechapter interesting and relevant is the way it explains how, unlike cannabis andmandrax, club drugs have only surfaced in the last decade with internationalising ofthe drug trade in South Africa. The majority of these drugs emanate from outside thecountry and have only recently become problematic. The second part of the book on the sex trade is distinctly more interesting be-cause it is here that the depth of Leggett’s ethnographic work is revealed by hisaccessing the worlds of sex workers and drug dealers, users and traders. Furthermore,his work focuses on the Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town – all notori-ously dangerous cities. Whilst there has been academic work undertaken on the drugtrade, very little has been done on the combined drug and sex trade in inner cityneighbourhoods. This lack of available research is attributable to the fact that thephenomenon is manifestly post-apartheid. The crux of the book, and what Leggettrefers to as the most serious challenge in the prevailing criminal economy, is theconcept of the sleazy hotel syndrome. Based on his ethnographic research in Johan-nesburg and Durban, Leggett explains how residential hotels in inner city neighbour-hoods house the convergence of the drugs and sex worlds. The introduction of crackcocaine and heroin through Nigerian drug syndicates has meant the onset of a rela-tionship between sex workers and drug dealers in a way not seen before. The implica-tions of this relationship according to Leggett have severe social problems. It wouldappear as if Leggett uses this convergence as the justification for the joint analysis ofthe drug and sex trade in South Africa in this book. I am not entirely convinced aboutthis as the justification for conflation of these two worlds, because the conflux isfairly specific in focus. One of the aims of this book is to assist law enforcement agencies in the fightagainst the criminal economy. To this end, chapters eight and nine deal directly withthe policy implications of the research. Further, Leggett maintains firmly throughout
  • 124. 124 Book reviewsthe book that dealing with these issues requires an in-depth understanding of socialdynamics. So whilst on the one hand it gives a depressing account of the troubledlives of many inner city residents in the fight for survival, Leggett also successfullyprovides preliminary insights into underground worlds. The blending of the underground worlds, insights into social dynamics and pol-icy recommendations means that this must certainly be seen as a book of great im-portance. One of its shortcomings is that it lacks a tight analytical framework. Thismight perhaps be the consequence of the newness of this field. The book is highlyrecommended to anyone interested in the criminal economy and its operations anddangers in a South African context. It is journalistically written and therefore widelyaccessible. For readers without an express interest in South Africa, Leggett has pro-vided a contribution to urban literature and literature exploring the nature of Africancities in the twenty first century.Kirsten Harrison, Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics andPolitical Science, London, UKGhana’s Adjustment Experience: the Paradox of Reform, by Eboe Hutchful.Oxford: James Currey, 2002. 248pp., Index. £16.95 paperback. ISBN 0-85255-166-5.The discouraging events in both Zimbabwe and Côte d’Ivoire in recent timesprovide a stark contrast to Ghana’s successful political transition to an hopefullystable plural democracy. This transition will need to be underpinned with a pro-gressive economy if it is to endure. Therefore, understanding the adjustment ex-perience of Ghana assumes great significance both from the point of view ofanticipating weaknesses in order to take action that minimises the risk of similarinstability and from that of ensuring that the benefits of the lessons of its successare available for others. It is evident to all with a modicum of knowledge of Ghanathat the Rawlings period in power heralded a most remarkable turnaround in itsearly years from the impoverished Ghana that it inherited to the stabilised econ-omy of the end of the 1980’s. It is also evident that the stabilization achieved hasnot been secure enough to support both successful political liberalisation andstructural adjustment through the 1990’s. However, behind that simple picture liesubtle complexities of the Ghanaian psyche that evolved during the independenceperiod and interacted with the particularly personal nature of the Rawlings regime. Hutchful has distilled his many years of studying Ghana into a well-structured,carefully paced account of Ghana’s adjustment experience. The two hundred andfifty densely packed pages unravel the complexities and paradoxes of the Ghanaianexperience with great care and skill. The study is presented in a very logical for-mat, setting out the growing crisis in the period from Nkrumah’s independencegovernment through to Rawlings’ usurpation of power from Hilla Limann at theend of 1981. It then goes on to provide a thoroughly researched exposé of theconstruction of the Rawlings regimes’ successful stabilization period and thesubsequent but less successful attempt to establish political pluralism and eco-nomic adjustment concurrently.
  • 125. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 125 I found the book to be a finely balanced record of events and a convincingtreatise. There are minor issues that I would like to contest however. For example,I suspect that Ishmael Yamson would be disappointed to read of himself cast as a‘key business supporter of the [Rawlings] regime’. He is an ardent and tirelesscampaigner for the economic well-being of Ghana and was willing to work withthe Rawlings regime to that end. However, when he felt it right, he was not afraidto confront the regime, even to the extent of marching into an army camp in theearly days of the putsch to recover looted stock. Whilst the core of the book is primarily a study of the period following Rawl-ings’ ascendancy to power it provides a cogent and convincing exposition of thepre-Rawlings period and the issues that arose. Many traits of the Ghanaian psychewere embedded in this period – Hutchful describes a ‘fiscal coalition’, rather likeGoran Hyden’s ‘economy of affection’, that trapped the various regimes in a‘fiscal paradigm’ whereby they could not side-step a perceived obligation to pro-vide social welfare and active state involvement in capital mobilisation. Likewisethe chauvinistic symbolism bestowed upon the cedi was such that governmentsfaced collapse if they attempted to correct the gross overvaluation that had ac-crued. The careful presentation of the years preceding Rawlings is an importantstrength of the book in its exposition of the challenges and complications thePNDC faced when introducing the dramatic change of the early stabilization years.The intricate nature of the working relationship between the PNDC and the inter-national financial institutions is teased out. How the revolutionary rhetoric squaredwith the orthodox economic plans and how this interacted with the delicate butvital issues of trust and confidence are addressed with skill. The role of the IMF and the World Bank has been germane to what has hap-pened in Ghana over the past twenty years in particular – both for good and forbad. Their generous support in the early years compensated for a lack of bilateralsupport and provided the resources necessary to fund the stabilization programme.However, there were policies imposed by the IFI’s, particularly during the adjust-ment phase, that compounded the difficulties faced by the country. Whether thesewere a result of a lack of knowledge or experience on the part of the IFIs, a lack ofconfidence in the views or abilities of the Ghanaians, or a question of misjudgingcircumstances, the results sometimes were adverse for Ghana. An example is thecomplete misreading in early IFI policies of the lack of capacity of developingAfrican nations such as Ghana to deliver an innate supply-side response to thecrude market stimulation initiatives of their programmes. Hutchful endeavours toportray a measured balance for the impact of such issues within the many otherinfluences during this time. Where the book appears to be particularly strong is in getting behind thescenes of the PNDC during its first fifteen years. An important insight to thePNDC is to understand how narrow and, in many ways, informal the decision-making core of the government was. How this made it relatively easy for them tocope in spite of de-institutionalisation during the early years but, equally, made itdifficult for them to manage the very different demands of the adjustment phase,which required a more broadly based congregation of civil society, is exploredwith empathy. Hutchful has used his wide-ranging and important contacts to good
  • 126. 126 Book reviewseffect in portraying a style and a nature of government as practised by Rawlingsand his colleagues which was both their strength and their weakness. Understandably, the period since the mid-1990s is not as confidently or asfully portrayed as the earlier periods that appear to have benefited from moreconsidered study and I finished the book looking forward to Hutchful’s next analy-sis once he has been able to reflect on the period leading up to the recent of changeof government and the impact of the new government. However, the consequencesof the lack of a strong institutional capacity and the weak regulatory framework areexplored well, particularly in relation to the resurgence of a ‘patrimonial’ face forthe regime with the ascendancy of Obed Asamoah and Nana Agyeman Rawlingsin the mid-1990s. I recall conversations at the time with the representatives of theIFIs who, rather resignedly, put policy slippages down to a ‘democracy premium’.But Hutchful gives an insight into how difficult it is to walk the fine line betweenwhat is acceptable for political progress and what is not, in that it risks undermin-ing political stability through retarding economic progress. Although one concernnow is how well John Kuffour and the NPP government will be able to insulatethemselves from vested interests given that they are more beholden to their elec-torate, it is encouraging to see that Ghana is offering itself as one of the first count-ries to be judged under the African Peer Review Mechanism of NEPAD. WhilstNEPAD has much to prove, it may be that the evident desire for self- restraint ofthe NPP government bodes well for Ghana.Mike Bristow, former Managing Director, Barclays Bank of Ghana (MSc., AfricanPolitics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK)The Challenges of Economic and institutional Reforms in Africa, by GeorgeSaitoti. Aldershot; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002. 372 pp. £49.95 hardback.ISBN: 0-75461-988-5.George Saitoti’s Challenges of Economic and Institutional Reforms in Africa is aunique work on the problems of social development in Africa. Its exceptionalityarises from the fact that the author’s observations draw from his own experiencesin the last two decades as a Cabinet Minister and Vice-President of the Republic ofKenya as well as from his interactions with a number of international organisationslike the Bretton Woods institutions and the African-Caribbean-Pacific Council ofMinisters that work closely with developing countries. Like other works by politicians and policy makers – Yoweri Museveni’s Sow-ing the Mustard Seed and What is Africa’s Problem? being prominent offerings ofthis kind – Saitoti’s book draws from the author’s experiences in politics and thevarious speeches he has made that touch on the issues covered. However, The Challenges of Economic and Institutional Reforms in Africa,presupposes – and rightly so – that the quality of Africa’s institutions is a principaldeterminant of its economic performance. As such, Saitoti’s offering may well bethe first ‘African’ contribution to a new genre of works that seeks to explain howpolitical institutions can help promote prosperity, but from a perspective not neces-sarily driven by the self-interest of the politician.
  • 127. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 127 The book can thus be said to draw from the broadening intellectual traditionthat started seeking alternatives to the ‘institutional fetishism’ and ‘structuralfetishism’ embodied in the economic liberalism of the ‘Washington Consensus’and its institutional prescriptions that set limits on the ability of African politiciansand policy makers to imagine and change society in the continent. In the late1990s, economic difficulties began to undermine the credibility of this ‘Washing-ton Consensus’. Starting in East Asia, economic instability spread to South Asia,Russia, Latin America, and Africa, creating the opportunity for a new discussion ofeconomic development policy. Scholars like Amartya Sen, Roberto MangabeiraUnger, Arthur MacEwan, Mancur Olson, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Hilton L.Root, amongst others, have spearheaded this new search for alternatives. From a close reading of the book however, it is obvious that the challengesthat Saitoti examines are discussed within the old intellectual tradition of moderni-sation theory that is essentially Western in both origin and conception and thatsupports the fundamental idea that the ‘Third World’ remains opposed to a ‘West-ern Civilization’ in an essentially American approach to world historical develop-ment. These challenges are well expressed in thirteen chapters embracing themessuch as ‘Markets, Macroeconomic Strategies for Accelerated Growth’, ‘The WarAgainst Poverty in Africa’, ‘The Challenge of HIV/AIDS’, ‘Investing in People’,‘The Role of Foreign Aid in Development’, ‘Privatisation of State-Owned Enter-prises’, and ‘Improving Africa’s Global Competitiveness’. Saitoti’s introductory chapter admirably summarises the content of the book.Chapter two examines the transition from the statist economy of the immediatepost-independence years to the market economy introduced in the 1980s and1990s. Saitoti argues that though markets are superior to government in allocatingresources, Africa needs strong governments that can institutionalise market re-forms and participate actively in the economy by complementing markets. Inchapter three Saitoti discusses macroeconomic strategies for achieving acceleratedeconomic growth. Crucially, he points out: ‘To a large extent, macroeconomicinstability is associated with government policies that result in large domestic debtand deliberate creation of money to meet government expenditure.’ Amongst thekey strategies he considers important for governments to implement in order toachieve a state of macroeconomic stability are good fiscal, monetary, and invest-ment policies. These two chapters set the tone for much of the rest of the book: thechallenges of implementing economic and institutional reforms within the ambit ofthe ‘Washington Consensus’. The book also examines Africa’s post-independence development experience,notes its successes and failures, and provides suggestions for policy reforms to dealwith the challenges posed by a plethora of seemingly intractable problems andchallenges that the continent continues to face. In contrast, works in the broaden-ing intellectual tradition that seeks alternatives to the ‘Washington Consensus’actively examine the link between political institutions and policy success, thusshowing how institutional choice can influence economic growth. For instance, Saitoti argues, with a touch of the rhetorical, that the primarychallenge facing policy makers in Africa in the twenty-first century is reducing thelevel and severity of poverty: a complex task that involves various forms of bothinstitutional and economic reforms that, it should be appreciated, take a consider-
  • 128. 128 Book reviewsable length of time to bear fruit. In contrast, Bruce de Mesquita and Hilton L. Root,two other scholars engaged in the search for alternatives, assert emphatically:‘Today, the key to economic success or failure – indeed, to a broad array of policysuccesses or failures – lies within the political institutions of sovereign states.Political arrangements create incentives for political leaders to foster growth or tosteal their nations’ prospects for prosperity. How to govern for prosperity is likelyto be the most important policy puzzle of the twenty-first century.’ In a way, then, this is the major limitation of Saitoti’s offering: it stops shortof providing suggestions for policy reforms whilst the intellectual tradition ofwhich it would make an integral part shows how these suggestions can best beimplemented. Such an approach is encumbered by the institutional and structural fetishismsthat stymie the practical imagination of institutional alternatives that would enableus to recognise transformative opportunities and to act on them. We thereforeremain crippled in our capacity to prosecute the cause of democratic experiment-alism by the poverty of our institutional ideas, especially our ideas about the alter-native institutional forms of representative democracy, the market economy, and afree civil society – all necessary prerequisites in facing up to the challenges ofeconomic and institutional reforms in Africa. The content of the book, moreover, relegates the crucial facet of the requisiteinstitutional reforms to the eleventh of a fifteen-chapter book. Saitoti notes: ‘It isimportant to caution that institutional and political reforms are difficult and desta-bilising and should be implemented cautiously.’ Though he avers that the devel-opment of institutions like a free press, a participatory civil society and publicwatchdog organisations that can guard against the abuse of power, reinforcechecks and balances, and enhance effective delivery of public goods and servicesis critical for democratic governance, he limits his focus on reforms relating toelections, corruption, and decentralisation. He notes: ‘The principal reason behindthe reluctance to engage in or undertake reforms is the fact that reforms entailpolitical costs and can evolve into a major political liability. … The main chal-lenge faced in reforming African countries can therefore be said to be political riskaversion (i.e., the desire of incumbent politicians to avoid the political costs ofsuch institutional reforms).’ (His emphasis) (pp. 269-70). This limitation in the focus of the book is perhaps its biggest weakness. Politi-cal and institutional reforms are crucial to any attempt at addressing the challengesof economic and institutional reforms in Africa. As Roberto Mangabeira Ungerputs it in Democracy Realized, ‘[Such a] programmatically empty and de-energised politics fails to solve the practical problems for whose sake it renouncedlarger ambitions. It slides into drift and impotence because it allows itself to de-generate into short-term and episodic factional deals, struck against a backgroundof institutions and assumptions that remain unchallenged and even unseen.’ Lacking in a concrete program for political action, the assertion that K.Y.Amoako, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa makes inhis foreword to the book is thus well placed: ‘This book is a welcome addition tothe literature on economic development because it affirms that there is now a clearunderstanding among African policymakers at the highest level of the challengesthat must be addressed for Africa to attain her economic goals.’ He concludes:
  • 129. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 129‘Professor Saitoti’s vision and priorities are consistent with the consensus [on whatAfrica needs to do in the twenty-first century so that our development goals can berealized and thereby turn our optimism into reality.]. The bigger challenge isimplementation. Africa needs to move from vision to action.’ Nonetheless, Saitoti concludes the book by observing – and rightly so – thatthe policy prescriptions dictated by the ‘Washington Consensus’ have failed toproduce the expected results for various reasons, including financial constraintsthat hindered the implementation of many of these policies. More specifically, henotes: ‘In many parts of the continent, however, lack of appropriate institutionalenvironments led to the exclusion of certain stakeholder groups from participatingfully in both design and implementation of policies.’ (p. 352). He thus emphasisesthat it is critical that the policy process in the continent be inclusive, participatory,and people-driven. It is only then that the resulting policies can deal effectivelywith the problems that currently plague the continent. Concluding, as Saitoti does, that government plays an essential role in aug-menting markets leaves us with a further challenge. Even if we can think moreclearly about what it is that market-augmenting government does, how is it thatyou get more of it? In some respects, as Mancur Olson observed in Power andProsperity, another of those books in the genre of works that seek to explain howpolitical institutions can help promote prosperity, understanding the ways in whichreforms can take place is the bigger and more important challenge that lies mainlyahead. This, then, is the contribution that Saitoti’s offering makes to our knowledgeof the subject: the most difficult challenge still lies ahead.Oloya Aliker Tebere, Balliol College, University of Oxford, UKGlobalization and Emerging Trends in African States’ Foreign Policy-MakingProcess: A Comparative Perspective of Southern Africa, edited by KorwaGombe Adar and Rok Ajulu. Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Limited,2002. 357 pp. £45.00 hardback. ISBN 0-7546-1822-6.This edited volume of sixteen chapters seeks to place the foreign policies of South-ern African states within the context of the changes in the complexity and dynam-ics of world politics in the post-Cold War era. The discussions are situated in theseemingly unstoppable gale of economic globalisation sweeping across the globe,an emerging trend which, according to the editors, further complicates or com-pounds the marginalisation of Africa in the scheme of world politics. Within thiscontext therefore, the book provides illumination for the diverse foreign policies ofeleven of the states that make up the Southern Africa sub-region while also makingintelligible the foreign policy making processes of the countries in the light ofcurrent and emerging realities of world politics. The book is divided into two main sections. The first section of thirteen chap-ters is devoted to country case studies, with South Africa alone, no doubt becauseof the longevity of its history as an independent state, its apartheid antecedents andits strategic economic and political importance in the sub-region, having twochapters devoted to the analysis of its foreign policy. While the first one of the
  • 130. 130 Book reviewschapters examines South Africa’s foreign policy in the immediate period after theend of apartheid, the second one provides a valuable insight into how the post-apartheid nation is coping with the demands of a globalising world after Mandela.The introductory chapter written by the editors, Korwa G. Adar and Rok Ajulu,sets the general tone of the book by providing the theoretical and conceptual basisfor the discussions that follow. The editors contend that globalisation, in all itscurrent manifestations, even though unstoppable, is inimical to the interests of thealready severely marginalized less developed countries which are unable to catchup with its processes. Globalisation, in their view, has merely rekindled and inten-sified old conflicts and contests over national resources, hence vicious intra-statewars in several states like Liberia, Sierra Leone, DR Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi.It is therefore within the realities of globalisation and its attendant marginalisationof Africa that the shifting focus of the foreign policies and foreign policy makingprocesses in Southern Africa can be understood. One major fall-out of this realityis the fact that African states and their leaders are no longer the sole determinantsof the contents and focus of their foreign policies but have had to surrender aspectsof their sovereignty to multinational corporations, NGOs, trade lobbies, etc. Thiswhittling down of their powers have been necessitated by forces sometimes exter-nal to them. The second section of the book, consisting of three chapters, deals with re-gionalism and foreign policy in Southern Africa, and the relationship of the sub-region with Britain and the United States. Reading through the book, one readily comes to the conclusion that, notwith-standing the peculiarities of each country, certain identifiable common factorsserve as major foreign policy determinants for all the states. These include thehistory and domestic circumstances of each country; the imperatives of nationalsurvival within a hitherto hostile neighbourhood where apartheid South Africawas, for decades, the neighbourhood bully; other national security concerns; theimperatives of economic development i.e., the desire to break out of the stiflingpoverty and underdevelopment bequeathed by colonial rule, and to escape from theclutches of South Africa’s economic domination. All the countries, with the soleexception of the island country of Mauritius, suffered severely from South Africa’sapartheid policies. But even the apartheid country itself was not immune to re-gional hostility, encircled as it was by largely antagonistic independent Africanstates brimming with hatred for apartheid. Other factors include economic region-alism through the instrumentality of the Southern African Development Com-munity (SADC); economic globalisation, and the World Trade Organisation and itstrade liberalisation regimes. Major global political changes such as the collapse ofthe USSR, the demise of communism, and the dismantling of apartheid in SouthAfrica, are contemporary determinants of both the focus and content of foreignpolicy in the sub-region. The Southern African environment has undergone con-siderable alteration in the post-apartheid era, with the removal of threats to thestability of regimes, regionalism and the new focus on economic cooperation fordevelopment. Foreign policies can also be classified according to regime types. The revolu-tionary states (Angola, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe) tended to pursue foreignpolicies that had strong communist or Marxist-Leninist ideological contents,
  • 131. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 131especially in the early days of independence. That was understandable judging bythe manner of their independence. They also tended towards authoritarian, single-party form of government with strong leaders hardened by years of revolutionaryarmed struggles, who also headed both party and government and thus have con-siderable personal influence in shaping the direction of domestic and foreignpolicies. Not only were these countries important battlegrounds in the Cold Warcontests but they also suffered considerable disruption and destabilisation in thehands of apartheid South Africa. But even apartheid South Africa itself sharedmany of the characteristics of this group (except the radical Marxist-Leninistideology) because of the long years of anti-apartheid armed struggle. Angola andMozambique especially also had to cope with the vicissitudes of internal destabili-sation through South Africa’s sponsorship of UNITA and RENAMO rebels re-spectively. The democratic or semi-democratic states (South Africa, Botswana,and Namibia) and the monarchies (Swaziland, Lesotho) which were also client-states of South Africa, have retained their fundamental pro-Western and capitalistorientations. But curiously, all the states seem to exhibit a common characteristic in termsof their foreign policy making processes and actors. Foreign policy is often centredaround strong presidents or prime ministers or monarchs. This is not unconnectedwith the relative newness of most of the states in the world system as well as theunderdevelopment of the institutions of the state for public policy making, or thefact that they have been consciously enfeebled by the ruling elites, especially in theone-party states, to give leaders a free rein over policy making. Angola, Mozam-bique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe belong in this category. South Africa is probablythe exception, with developed and strong institutional mechanisms for policymaking, although the locus of decision has been diversified in the post-apartheidera. Zambia has democratised its foreign policy making process since 1991. Na-mibia is trying to cope with its relative newness as an independent state and tryingto catch up with the others. Other arms of the state, such as the ministries of for-eign affairs, trade and commerce, and the parliaments, where they exist, whichused to play only minimal or secondary roles in foreign policy making have nowbeen given more prominence because of the need to refocus. Each of the country case studies provides copious background information,historical and colonial antecedents, which help to contextualise their foreign poli-cies and even to comprehend the contemporary shift in their focus in line withpost-Cold War global realities. They also contain detailed analyses of the publicpolicy making institutions and structures, and the relationships of the differentarms and agencies of government, political parties, civil society and NGOs asactors in the foreign policy making arena. Perhaps another common feature is theperceived need to refocus their external policies in line with the inescapable de-mands of economic globalisation. Realising the inevitability of this global eco-nomic movement, African states are making strenuous efforts to reposition them-selves, restructure their economies and, of course, their foreign policies to adapt tothe new reality. Radical ideology is no longer a popular factor in foreign relationsin the same way that apartheid has gone out of style. The strong emphasis is nowon attracting foreign direct investment for domestic development as well as oneconomic cooperation at the sub-regional level to overcome the factors that have
  • 132. 132 Book reviewslimited their prosperity in the past, with a view to escaping the adverse effects ofmarginalisation. The book is well researched, informative and written in user-friendly prosethat recommends it to all categories of readers from first-year undergraduates tojournalists, commentators and professors. It is a worthy addition to existing litera-ture on the contemporary foreign policies of African states.W. Alade Fawole, Department of International Relations, Obafemi AwolowoUniversity, Ile-Ife, NigeriaMichael O. Anda, International Relations in Contemporary Africa. (Lanham,MD: University Press of America, 2000). 299 pages; $47.50 paperback. ISBN: 0-8133-3613-9.This is not a book about international relations theory. Neither is it about contem-porary Africa. Nor is it about all of (or even most of) the continent. In this way,the title of Anda’s book may be seen by some as misleading. That said, the ques-tion that remains to be answered is, ‘what is the book about?’ In the first instance,it is about West Africa, and in particular, countries of the Economic Community ofWest African States (ECOWAS). Secondly, most of the work deals with WestAfrican international political history in the post-colonial era, up to the late 1980s.In fact, the average date of publication of the sources used is 1973; of the morethan 200 references in the bibliography, only one was published in the 1990s.Finally, there is little of what is generally regarded as ‘International Relations’ init. Of course, there is a theoretical portion to the volume, although much of it isunstated. It views the events of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s through a decidedlyneo-liberal lens, owing much to the perspectives of Nye, Keohane and others.Taken as a whole, the book is an example of regional foreign policy analysis and itis difficult not to characterise it as an example of what Nye called ‘internationalregionalism’12. Now, these observations are not meant to detract from the book itself, but ra-ther to situate Anda’s work more precisely than his title might. Nonetheless, theweakness of the book extends beyond the cover, in two critical ways: it fails to liveup to its own claims and it lacks precision and structure. In Anda’s conclusion, he claims to have been tracing ‘the structure of interac-tions’ in the region, which is characterised as ‘one of activity in the 1970s fadingto passivity in the 1980s/1990s’ (p. 235). This claim, however, is never fully borneout due to the glaring omission of any examination of the region or its actors in the1990s. Nigerian activity in ECOMOG, for example, is given only fleeting treat-ment. In fact, the entire concluding chapter, far too parsimonious at a meagre ninepages, falls short of either summarising the work or synthesising the precedingarguments and making recommendations. The claims that it does make are for themost part obvious and superficial, with little new data to support them. An exam-12 Taken from the title of his 1968 editted book of the same name. (Nye, Joseph, Jr., ed. International Region-alism. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1968)
  • 133. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 133ple of this can be seen in a passage on page 244, which states: ‘This study il-lustrates that the traditional assumptions about power, size, development andexpected foreign policy behaviour may not be inappropriate for analyses of thesmaller and less developed states of the global system.’ The anaemia of such claims is made all the more evident when compared withthe opening line of the volume: ‘Three themes of Third World politics, decolonisa-tion, conflict resolution, and economic development, constitute the irreducible coreof African international relations’ (p. 1). These themes do form a core, but hide, ifthey exist in any meaningful form at all, within this book. Anda would have donewell to follow these themes and focus his scholarly energies on uncovering them,demonstrating how they relate to the ECOWAS case. As mentioned above, the book rests within a certain theoretical tradition, thatof neo-liberalism. Anda, while not explicitly stating this, claims that his book hasapplication outside of its specific geographic location owing to ‘certain universalassumptions about the nature of man’ (p. 42). Furthermore, his list of propositions(pp. 55-59), which deal with the relation between such things as economics, mod-ernity, military strength, and the interactions between states, seem to be derivativesof a classic neo-liberal worldview. Neither these claims nor the perspective is welldiscussed, and any study claiming to call within the field of International Relationsthese days can be expected to engage more thoughtfully with its own epistemo-logical anchorages than we find in this case. While Anda does lay out a conceptual framework, listing independent andintervening and dependent variables (p. 50) he freely deviates from this structure,neither following it through the book, nor referring to it again in his conclusion.Furthermore, concepts such as power, for instance, used in the schema are poorlyand ambiguously defined, with no discussion as to their origins or relative merits. But is there a baby within the bath water of International Relations in Con-temporary Africa? Fortunately there is and it lies in the fact that the book maps thediplomatic relations among the states of West Africa, leading up to and followingtheir independence. Its discussions of the developments of the late 1950s and early1960s, which revolve around issues of unity, nationalism, and regionalism (chap-ters 3 and 4) are strong and helpful. Anda does a solid job of highlighting thecontours and dynamics of the region, drawing on earlier secondary sources; thesechapters are the best in the entire volume. The subject of African International Relations is an important one, andECOWAS is a fascinating study in a wide array of theoretical and empirical con-texts. By neglecting the events of the turbulent 1990s, failing to adopt a convincingstructure, and not drawing (and supporting) stronger conclusions, Anda’s contribu-tion to this field – measured by this book, at any rate – is, sadly, mediocre.Christopher Ankersen is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Civil Society, LondonSchool of Economics and Political Science.
  • 134. 134 Book reviews
  • 135. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 137-138. © CDD 2003 Books available for review Readers are encouraged to request for copies of these books for review or review articles in subsequent editions of the journal.Aka, E. 2000. Regional Disparities in Nigerias Development: Lessons and Chal- lenges for the 21st Century. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Benedek, W., E.M. Kisaakye & G. Oberleitner, (eds.) 2002. Human Rights of Women: International Instruments and African Experiences. London: Zed Books.Bingen, R.J., D. Robinson & J.M. Staatz (eds.) 2000. Democracy and Development in Mali. Chicago, MI: Michigan State University Press.Chafer, T. 2002. The End of Empire in French West Africa: Frances Successful Decolonization? Oxford; New York: Berg Publishers.Dibie, R. (ed.) 2001. The Politics and Policies of Sub-Saharan Africa. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Domatob, J.K. 1998. Contemporary Issues in Sub-Saharan African Political and Economic Development. University Press of America, Lanham, MD.Hirsch, J.L. 2000. Sierra Leone: Diamonds and the Struggle for Democracy. International Peace Academy Occasional Paper Series. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.Iheduru, O. M. (ed.) 2001. Contending Issues in African Development: Advances, Challenges, and the Future. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.James, W., D.L. Donham, E. Kurimoto & A. Triulzi 2002. Remapping Ethiopia: Socialism and After. Oxford: James Currey; Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.Johnson, D.H. 2003. The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars. Oxford: James Cur- rey; Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Kalu, K. 2000. Economic Development and Nigerian Foreign Policy. Studies in African Economic and Social Development, vol. 14. Lewiston, NY and Cere- digion, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press.Kaplan, A. 2002. Development Practitioners and Social Process: Artists of the Invisible. London; Sterling, VA: Pluto Press.Lind, J. & K. Sturman 2002. Scarcity and Surfeit: The Ecology of Africa’s Con- flicts. Pretoria: The Institute for Security Studies (ISS).MacLean, S.J., Quadir, F. & T.M. Shaw (eds.) 2001. Crisis of Governance in Asia and Africa. Ashgate, Aldershot.Mbaku, J.M. 1999. Preparing Africa for the Twenty-First Century: Strategies for Peaceful Coexistence and Sustainable Development. Series: Contemporary Perspectives on Developing Societies. Aldershot: Aldershot; Burlington, VT. ISBN: 0-7546-1085-3.Mbembe, A. 2001. On the Postcolony. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.N’Diaye, B. 2001. The Challenge of Institutionalizing Civilian Control: Botswana, Ivory Coast, and Kenya in Comparative Perspective. Lanham, MD; Oxford: Lexington Books.
  • 136. 136 Books for reviewOjo, B.A. (ed.) 2001. Problems and Prospects of Sustaining Democracy in Nige- ria: Voices of a Generation. Huntington, NY: Nova Science Publishers.Ojo, B.A. (ed.) 2001. Problems and Prospects of Sustaining Democracy in Nige- ria: Voices of a Generation. Nova Science Publishers, Huntington, NY.Olukotun, A. 2002. State Repression, Crisis of Democratization and Media Resist- ance in Nigeria (1988-1999). Ibadan: College Press.Oshun, O. 2002. The Open Grave: NADECO and the Struggle for Democracy. London: Josel Publishers.Oyen, E. et al. (eds.) 2002. Best Practices in Poverty Reduction: An Analytical Framework. International Studies in Poverty Research. Zed Books, London.Parfitt, T. 2002. The End of Development?: Modernity, Post-Modernity and Devel- opment. Pluto Press, London.Rotimi, K. 2001. The Police in a Federal State: The Nigerian Experience. Ibadan: College Press.Sandbrook, R. 2000. Closing the Circle: Democratization and Development in Africa. London: Zed Books.Schulz, M., F. Soderbaum & J. Ojendal 2001. Regionalization in a Globalizing World. London: Zed Books.Webster, N. & Engberg-Pedersen, L. (eds.) 2002. In the Name of the Poor: Con- testing Political Space for Poverty Reduction. London: Zed Books.
  • 137. Democracy & Development – Journal of West African Affairs 137 Subscriptions Annual subscription for corporate bodies: £75 for UK; €124 for EU; $112 for other countries (special rates apply for Africa); and for individuals: £30 for UK; €52 for EU; $48 for other countries. Single copy rate for corporate bodies: £40 for UK; €67 for EU; $59 for other countries; and for individuals: £17 for UK; €30 for EU; $27 for other countries. Cheques should be made payable to Centre of Democracy & Development--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subscription orders can be emailed to with journal subscription as the subject or by filling in the following Subscription form Please fill in the following subscription form and return to: Centre of Democracy & Development, Unit 6 Canonbury Yard, 190A New North Road, London N1 7BJ, UK; Fax: +44 (0)20 7288 8672or: 2 Olabode Close, Ilupeju Estate, P.O. Box 15700, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria, Fax: +234 (0)1 493 4420Name: ______________________________________________________Organisation: ______________________________________________________Address: ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________City: ______________________ Zip (Post) code: _______________Country: ______________________________________________________ I have enclosed a cheque in the amount of _____________ made payable toCentre for Democracy & Development Tick box to receive more information about CDDMy email address is: ________________________________________________
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