Civil Society And Democaracy In Africa Lecture Notes
Civil Society and Democaracy in Africa
Lecture by Prof. Jerry Gana
Civil Society and Democracy are beneficial and necessary for each other to be successful.
Q: How to translate democracy into development? The links are not automatic.
Q: How to make sure democracy benefits the people?
Contested notion of ”nation state” in Africa (=”alien state”), European imposed borders
often truncated traditional kingdoms and empires, led to some failed states.
Necessity of the dev of civil soc to counteract traditional tensions
Nation Building in Africa
1. Idealistic Nationalist leaders – struggle against colonialism, create new independent
nation state, often highly educated. This lead to POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE, although
some succumbed to ideas of power and authority (personal, pervasive, lifetime)
based on ”African chief” concept = BIG MAN. ”African leaders need to learn to raise
new leaders”. Leaders ”democratically” elected for life hampers dev of dem.
2. Mid 1960s – era of military govts, often oppressive and authoritarian.
3. New age of democracy – civil demonstrations, change in world order, change from
1989-1998 ”saw the greatest expansion of freedom in human history”, led to change in
many countries, but dem is often based on unstable or weak pillars.
NEED: ”Growth of CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY” goes hand in hand w dev of civil soc. For
”ordinary” people basic issues are most imp: ”bread and butter”. Democracy is starting to
deliver benefits/dev: Ghana, Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zim (b4), S.A., Nigeria...
1. Political parties
2. Electoral system
3. Sys of checks and balances: separation of powers
4. Vibrant civil soc
5. Free and ind media
6. Effective control over military and armed forces
Necessary for functioning DEM
1. Right of people to have free and effective choice – politicians need to respect an
2. Right to free association
3. Right to freedom of expression
4. Right to the rule of law
5. Transparency, due process, accountability
Pillars of DEM
1. Strong, effective, accountable Parlia
2. Civil soc – network of civil soc orgs needed
3. Free and fair elections
4. Properly functioning markets: providing goods and services
Role of good governance in DEV
Failures in dem can be traced to failures in leadership.
NEED qual leadership:
• Respect integrity
• Honour – honesty, speak truth
• Capacity to deliver
• Mobilise people
• Vision – must lead
• Legitimate authority (rigged elections lead to lack of legitimacy)
1. Create productive national economies for dev, and provision of goods and services
2. Promotion of good governance.
3. Humane, peaceful and just society.
• Basic infrastructure
• Invest in people: ed, health, security
• Dynamic capital investment
Democracy should not SUSTAIN people
Create wealth from below
Development (work) in the West has lost the ”human” touch, too impersonal