Democratic Renewal in Africa: Trends and Discourses by S. Adejumobi

By S. Adejumobi

Because the Eighties, democratic struggles have prompted constitutional reforms, elections, and other kinds of political growth. This entire quantity deals clean views on Africa's democratic renewal and should open up discussion at the developments and trajectory of Africa's democratic destiny.

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The shape of the state and its relationship to social groups were called into question in various contexts (Villalon and Huxtable, 1998). It was therefore imperative that under democratization, “issues of leadership, civic culture and trust have to be re-negotiated between the state and the citizens” (Norberg and Obi, 2007: 7). Has this renegotiation taken place? Has a new social contract emerged through the process of democratization? An enduring democratic system must necessarily be rooted in the psychology of the majority of the population.

Has this renegotiation taken place? Has a new social contract emerged through the process of democratization? An enduring democratic system must necessarily be rooted in the psychology of the majority of the population. Or is it the case that Africa is experiencing the “democracy of alienation” (Ake, 1993: 244)? Assessing Trends in African Democratization M 37 Elections The final question deals with the meaning of elections in democratizing Africa. Authoritarian one-party states had differing degrees of electoral credibility, some allowing limited, controlled competition, particularly for parliamentary seats, while others merely engaged in electoral charades which returned 99 percent of the votes in favor of the incumbent president.

Elections have created a new engagement between the state and people, in which the revolution in information technology, among others, has aided citizen activism and mobilization, and intensified the social organization of nonstate forces in advancing the democratic cause in Africa. The constitutive and regulative rules of elections are being gradually redefined, and a staunch defense of the integrity of elections, driven largely from “below” is increasingly taking root. The chapter therefore argues that (1) the genealogy of elections in Africa is rooted in the dialectical relationship between state and society, in which the latter made vociferous political claims on the former as part of the wider demands for political freedom and self-determination; (2) recent elections in Africa provide the space not only for political contestations by political parties and the political elite, but also a platform for social actors and forces to reengage the state and push for reforms, both at the electoral and broader governance levels, through various means; (3) The f laws associated with elections in Africa have provoked social reactions from the citizenry and different social forces, and coalesced civil society organizations around election-based issues aimed at reconstituting the rules of the electoral game; and (4) implicit in the process of electoral change being agitated for from below is the strong requirement for political accountability, which can, in the long run, reshape the way of conducting politics in Africa.

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