This project sets out to examine the causes of the failure of the state in sub-Saharan Africa. Since the introduction of democracy in the sub-continent in the early 1990’s, the process has been a slow and cumbersome, casting doubts on the possibility of instituting genuine democracy on the sub-continent. The political crisis gave room for autocrats who were the fomenters of the problem to eternalize themselves in power in the name of avoiding further conflicts or problems. They have advanced a whole range of different problems as the cause of this crisis where as the problem lies in the absence of a democratic culture or the proper understanding of it.
In the words of the great Africanist, the late Professor Ake Claude, the sub-continents problems is but one of leadership crisis. As this dawns on us at a moment when democratic regimes are a necessity in the new global context, how do we solve the problems which have stalled the institution this much cherished democracy? The answer the thesis states lies in the institutionalization of democracy.
The quest for good governments in Africa has been a high priority item on the agenda of African and world politicians for well over half a century. The African continent for several decades now has been replete with ills such as low living standards, a stagnant economy, and high rates of unemployment, poverty, low infrastructural development, a violent political environment, dictatorships, ethnic clashes and above all a general disregard of the fundamental rights of the people. It still grapples with these political uncertainties, economic adversities, and social inequalities today (Chazan, 1999). There is thus a need to device the best means possible by which the state can be organized and empowered so that it deals adequately with these problems.
Democracy’s ability to organize society, ensuring the respect of the rights and liberties of the people, pressing for accountable leadership, ensuring effective participation, a transparent economy and a just and equitable social order, in essence ensuring the socio-economic and political prosperity of a nation, which in summary are Africa’s biggest problems, makes it the best possible solution to the problems Africa faces today. As a result, the quest for democracy in Africa has been seen as vital if Africa has to set up a harmonized community that will develop and catch up with the demands of the ever globalizing world.
The story of instituting democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa has been a long drawn one, with many highs and lows; several events have made it seem very probable and promising, but also there have been on the other hand other very challenging events which have questioned the possibility of democracy’s survival. As a result, several debates have ensued amongst Africanist, who have focused on a large part on the prospects of democracy on the continent, some arguing that it is doomed to fail and other optimist who believe that a genuine democratic system can and will emerge in sub-Saharan Africa.
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