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OBSTACLES TO AFRICAN INTELLECTUALS IN PUBLIC POLICY MAKING

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Obstacles to the African Intellectual in public policy making include limited access, limited space, external influence, limited choice, philosopher kings, incomprehensive ideologies, and national goal versus self-aggrandizement.

OBSTACLES TO AFRICAN INTELLECTUALS IN PUBLIC POLICY MAKING

  1. 1. AFRICAN INTELLECTUALS IN PUBLIC POLICYMAKING Compiled by: TANKO AHMED fwc Senior Fellow (Security & Strategic Studies) NIPSS, Kuru – Jos, NIGERIA
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION
  3. 3. Obstacles to the African Intellectual Limited Access; Limited Space; External Influence; Limited Choice; Philosopher Kings; Incomprehensive Ideologies; and National Goals V. Self-aggrandizement
  4. 4. What are Intellectuals? Intellectuals are defined by what they do as they always sought to explain the context and matrix of any situation within which they are inserted, to its members, to itself, with a view to preserving the status quo, or overthrowing same, modifying or completely destroying it. - Olufemi Taiwo (2004)
  5. 5. Who are Intellectuals? Intellectuals form a body of people who are charged with, who profess to, or are expected to perform the task of explaining the society to itself, to its members, constructing the metaphors and myths that constitute the complex of significations that enable us to claim a shared destiny or common membership of a polity; of alerting the society to the shortcomings of the ways of being human to which it may have become wedded; of providing the justificatory or at least legitimating ideologies for their polity’s patterns of governance; of leading their society in formulating new ways of being human.
  6. 6. The Role of Intellectuals The problems that intellectuals are called upon to help their society solve include those exigencies that are fundamental purpose of government; and to help meet them is a principal reason for inviting intellectuals to associate themselves with government, especially in the policy making process.
  7. 7. African Intellectuals in Policymaking Process Mkandawire (2000) provides a number of explanations as to why African intellectuals played a limited role in the policy process during the post-independence era, and especially as governments became more repressive:
  8. 8. Limited Access The repressive politics that became the norm simply left no room for intellectuals to occupy public space.
  9. 9. Limited Space Many spaces that were open (at least theoretically) to intellectuals elsewhere were erased, infested or occupied, sometimes physically, so that neither “ivory towers” nor “Olympian detachment” nor “self-imposed” marginalization were meaningful options.
  10. 10. External Influence In addition, most spaces over which we could exercise our autonomy were funded by outsiders who also sought to delimit our intellectual spheres.
  11. 11. Limited Choice Such were the constraints that in most cases the choice was between exile, sullen self-effacement and invisibility, or sycophantic and fawning adulation of power. There were, of course, those who heroically gave themselves the option of standing up and fighting—who ended up in jail or dead.
  12. 12. Philosopher Kings The repressive politics was further fuelled by the penchant of African leaders to assume the role of Philosopher Kings and to reduce intellectual work to the incantation of the thought of the leader ‘ignorant leader’.
  13. 13. Incomprehensive Ideologies In many cases most of the ideological schemes propounded by African leaders were highly idiosyncratic and often so incoherent as to be beyond the comprehension of the propagators themselves – and what more of the ‘blind followers’.
  14. 14. National Goal Vs. Self-Aggrandizement Adhesion to them was not only difficult but also hazardous to those sycophants who diligently sought to follow the leader through infinite twists and turns as the leader sought to bridge the cavernous gap between the rhetoric of national goals and reality of predatory self-aggrandizement.
  15. 15. Further Readings: • Mkandawire, T. (2000), ‘Non-organic Intellectuals and Learning in Policy-making Africa’. Stockholm: Development Co-operation EGDI Publication. • Taiwo, Olufemi (2004), ‘Of Intellectuals, Politics and Public Policy-Making in Nigeria’. West African Review http://www.westafricareview.com .
  • richyacdc

    Sep. 8, 2014

Obstacles to the African Intellectual in public policy making include limited access, limited space, external influence, limited choice, philosopher kings, incomprehensive ideologies, and national goal versus self-aggrandizement.

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