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POL: 156 AFRICAN POLITICAL SYSTEMS II Unit One: The African State: Its precolonial and colonial inheritance. • The pre-colonial inheritance • The colonial inheritance • State and civil society. The Pre-colonial Inheritance • Lines of continuity from pre-colonial Africa to post colonial Africa. • What in Africa’s past still influences politics in Africa today? 1.Non-hegemonic states: ( State systems and Stateless systems). Non-hegemonic states Common Features: a)No Permanent, precisely delineated boundaries. b)Free movement of people (voting with the feet). c)Pre-colonial African governments broadcast power only over a limited range. The Pre-colonial Inheritance • Lineage. This relates to the idea of ‘kinship’, the idea of the extended family. A lineage kinship group can theoretically trace its past back to the same ancestor, and these bonds of origin bind communities together. The Colonial Inheritance • The Berlin Conference of 1884–85 and the partition of Africa. • African territories that were not affected were the empire of Ethiopia and the territory of Liberia. The Colonial Inheritance • France - North, West and Central Africa; • Britain - West, East, Central and Southern Africa; • Portugal - the territories of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau; • King Léopold of Belgium - the Congo; The Colonial Inheritance • Italy – Libya, Eritrea and part of Somalia; • Spain - north Morocco, the Spanish Sahara and Spanish Guinea; • Germany - south-west and the east Africa, the Cameroons and Togoland. The Colonial Inheritance • Duration of colonialism in Africa - 1880s or 1890s through to the 1960s. • The influences of colonialism on modern African states. • the incorporation of Africa into the international modern state structure; • the imposition of arbitrary boundaries; The Colonial Inheritance Influences of colonialism on modern African states. • the reinforcement of the non-hegemonic state; • the weak link between state and civil society; • the promotion of an African state elite; • the building of specialist export economies; • and the absence of strong political institutions. The Incorporation of Africa into The International Modern State Structure • Integration of Africa into the international state system. • States are associations/communities that establish sovereign jurisdiction within defined territorial boarders and exercise authority through a set of permanent institutions (governmental institutions) (Heywood, 2007:91). The state therefore encompasses the various institutions of government, as well as the courts. The Incorporation of Africa into The International Modern State Structure • States are the main political communities of the world. The main elements of the state are: a) Population (the people who constitute the citizens of the state). b) Government. The set of permanent institutions of the state through which political authority is exercised. The Incorporation of Africa into The International Modern State Structure • Sovereignty. The exclusive legal authority of a government over its population and territory independent of external authorities. • Territory. The geographical territory which houses the people of the relevant state. Arbitrary Boundaries • The boundaries of modern African states were imposed. The state boundaries do not match existing precolonial political, social or economic divisions. They are ‘arbitrary’ in the sense that they reﬂected the short-term strategic and economic interests of the imperial powers. Reinforcing the Non-hegemonic State • In many of the colonised regions of Africa the intension was to exploit the resources rather than establishing states. There were however pretensions of building modern states in South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Kenya, South West Africa and Algeria. • There was thus no desire to invest resources to ensure the state could project its authority into every corner of the new colonies. Instead, they only concentrated on economically productive or strategically important regions. • There was no wholesale economic or political development plan for the colonies. • The actual penetrative capacity of the colonial state was relatively weak. • The post colonial state has inherited this phenomenon. Weak links between state and civil society • Independent Africa inherited weak links between state and society. • Colonial political authority was gained on the continent through conquest, and political institutions imposed. • Coercion acted as a substitute for legitimacy. Weak links between state and civil society • The state, in this sense, never rested on a social contract between government and people. Weak links between state and civil society • Functions of government. The maintenance of law and order, balancing budgets and overseeing the extraction of raw materials for export, rather than the provision of public services for citizens. • At independence the states inherited these imported institutions of government of the colonial state, the new leaders behaved like the colonial authorities. • Africans were simply left out of any representative relationship between government and people. Consequently, trust and shared political values never developed between the rulers and the ruled. State institutions never sought or gained the respect of the people. • A successful interaction between the state and society in post-colonial Africa was never developed. The provision of public services for citizens continues to be a major challenge as government officials privately appropriate public resources. The Formation of State Elites. • Initially, colonial administrators relied on traditional leaders to be the intermediaries of imperialism. • Later they used the services of the emerging educated Africans. • These individuals also gained their position from their proximity to state power. Access to an education (usually from a mission school) brought access to the state. The Economic Inheritance • Monocrop economies. • Potential problems: • Disadvantage in the international economy • Underdevelopment of human resources • Lack of public services • Economies over-reliant on primary sector • Over-reliance on exports • Bias towards European, not local or regional, markets • Colonial states had been highly bureaucratic and authoritarian. They never sought legitimacy from their subjects; they were highly interventionist; they had few pretensions about representing the views of their subjects; and they ruled through domination, supported by coercion. • The post colonial state inherited this character of the colonial state. Weak Political Institutions • Potential problems: • Fragile liberal democratic institutions without historical moorings • Return to colonial-style authoritarian and bureaucratic state State and Civil Society • The State is defined as “a political association that establishes sovereign jurisdiction within defined territorial borders, and exercises authority through a set of permanent institutions” (Heywood, 2007:87). • The post colonial African state was faced with several challenges. • The main ones were to achieve economic and political development after independence. • Other Constraints. 1) The challenge of nation-building. The unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run. The use of the power of the state to construct or structure a national identity. • Other Constraints. 2) Irredentism. A political principle or policy directed toward the incorporation of “irredentas” within the boundaries of their historically or ethnically related political unit. 3) The Need to Diversify the Economies to address the associated challenges. These include the following: • Monocrop insecurity. • Creating wealth for the state. • Civil Society • The realm of organised social life or voluntary associations that operate outside of the direct control of the state. The state and its institutions operate in political society while organised social life or voluntary associations operate in civil society. • They function to protect the interest of their members. • Render state institutions accountable to society in general. • Maintain society’s inﬂuence over state policies. • Challenges faced by Civil Society in post independent Africa. • Domination by the state. • The End UNIT 2 African Politics at the Crossroads? •Neo-patrimonialism, Clientelism •Personal rule, the centralization of the African state. •Tyranny in Africa: Repression of Freedom of Speech, The looting of Africa. Legitimacy of the Post African State. •Legitimacy can be deﬁned as “a psychological relationship between the governed and their governors, which engenders a belief that the state’s leaders and institutions have a right to exercise political authority over a society” (Thomson, 2010:109110). Legitimacy of the Post African State •Max Weber’s three pure sources of legitimacy: •traditional, •charismatic and •legal-rational authority Legitimacy of the Post African State •Max Weber defines the state as “that human community which (successfully) claims the monopoly of legitimate physical violence within a given territory” and again as Legitimacy of the Post African State •“a relationship of rule (or dominion) by men over men, one that rests on the use of legitimate (that is considered to be legitimate) violence (Brown 2000: 147). Legitimacy of the Post African State •He then adds that “those who are ruled must obey the authority claimed by those who rule at any given time” (Brown 2000: 147). Legitimacy of the Post African State • Weber emphasizes that the authority of the state rests on what he calls “three notions of legitimacy and their inner justifications” (Brown 2000:147). These therefore constitute the three sources of state legitimacy. Legitimacy of the Post African State • They are 1) the traditional authority – the long established customary practices which have been certified by habituation and so have assumed a taken-forgranted fashion; Legitimacy of the Post African State 2) the charismatic authority – the exceptional personal qualities of the leader, and 3) the legal-rational authority the validity of clearly and legally defined set of rules (institutions)(Brown, op. cit) Legitimacy of the Post African State •Weber thus emphasizes that political authority necessarily rests on the consent of the people, a relationship which renders the “human community” (the state) legitimate. Legitimacy of the Post African State •State authority in post-colonial Africa was supposed to be supported by legitimacy based on legal-rational government. •Legal-rational government, in this respect, is government based on a social contract. Citizens obey the state because state institutions have been speciﬁcally constituted to serve their interests. •Governments rule on the citizen’s behalf, formulating, executing and enforcing laws designed to advance the collective good. • Yet legal-rational institutions did not prosper in Africa after independence. Liberal democracy was soon abandoned. At ﬁrst glance, the continent’s political institutions, such as parliaments and executives, may seem familiar, •but a closer examination reveals these institutions to be very different from those found in the West. Example the United Kingdom, the USA, France and Germany. • The Post Colonial State in Africa failed to establish legal-rational bonds between itself and their citizens. • The political leaders that emerged at independence centralised political activity. • Power was removed from civil society and peripheral institutions of the state, and kept instead within the core political executive, often with just one individual being dominant. •For example Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyata of Kenya, and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. Centralisation of the African State •Representative, accountable and efﬁcient government usually requires political power to be distributed across society. No one area should become hegemonic. Political power in such states are thus distributed as follows: 1) Among the arms of government which then act as checks and balances upon one another. The idea that power be made to check power and ambition counter ambition. •Such a ‘separation of powers’ deters a dangerous accumulation and concentration of authority within a single area of government. 2) Power should also be dispersed between the state and civil society. State institutions should not come to monopolise the political process. •Political parties must be able to compete freely and fairly for control over the state, and interest groups (or civil society organizations) should be able to inﬂuence the making of public policy. •The generation of political pluralism in a state. •Achieved through the ability of the politics and institutions of a state to successfully disperse power between the state and society. •Accountability to the citizens along two lines – vertical and horizontal lines. •Horizontal accountability: achieved through the existence of effective institutions of checks and balances among the arms of government. •Vertical accountability: achieved through regular and periodic democratic elections. •The diffusion of political power thus occur among these three elements of society - the state, civil society and the electorate as a whole. •The achievement of this institutional arrangements ensures that effective representation and accountability become guaranteed. Characteristics of a Centralised State •Limited dispersal of political power. •Concentration of political power normally in the executive arm of the government. • The subordination of ‘peripheral’ state institutions to the core executive •The absence (or insignificance) of opposition political parties. • The one party state phenomenon. •Elites’ tight control of the official state party. •Control of civil society organizations and their leaders. •State domination and control of economic activities. The One Party State Phenomenon. • One party states in post independent Africa. It was presented as a most desirable political method for the young African state. • Justifications for the introduction of one party regimes. ( A political regime is a system of rule/government or a political method). • Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana: multiparty system was socially divisive. • Houphouët-Boigny of La Côte d’Ivoire: no opposition actually existed. • Sekou Touré of Guinea: the country’s socialist ideology demanded it. • Julius Nyerere of Tanzania: he considered it the most appropriate way to build democracy in Tanzania. • General Reasons. • National unity: • One-party system had organic links in African traditional political system. • Imperatives of economic development. The performance of One Party State in Africa • Justiﬁcations offered have not been conﬁrmed by results. • Common Flaws: •The one party system reduced links between the state and civil society. •Political and bureaucratic elites abused their position within the state due to the monopoly they enjoyed. •The military was dragged into politics • The single parties rarely became central institutions of policy-making and debate in post-colonial Africa. The political executive usurped all these powers. • Political corruption. This took the form of political patronage as the leaders used state resources to win political support. The Subordination of ‘Peripheral’ State Institutions to The Political Executive •African executives retained a monopoly over political decisionmaking within their societies. •The judiciary became an appendage to the political executive. Politicians and bureaucrats felt disinclined to obey the constitution if their private interests were threatened. Personal Rule •Independent African states inherited legal-rational institutions and the challenge of generating legitimacy for these states. •A situation where the political leadership, elites and the general public abide by clearly deﬁned laws and practices, (as established in the constitution of the states, written or not) and the entire governing process gains predictability. •In short, institutional norms take precedence over personal whims, and this is where legitimacy is generated. •There is also a clear distinction between private and public roles within a legal rational system of government. Public interest is distinctively differentiated private interest. •The reality in Post Colonial Africa. 1.The rule of law is not always guaranteed. • (The rule of law refers to the principle that law should rule. This is in the sense that the law establishes the framework within which all conduct or behaviour conform, applying equally to all the members of society be they private citizens or government officials). 2. Abuse of public office by public officials. •Political power is concentrated in the personal authority of one individual ruler. This is the phenomenon of personal rule. •Neopatrimonialism: A political system in which legal-rational rules operate side by side with patrimonial norms. •The Characteristics of Personal Rule. Clientelism • ‘a relation of exchange between unequals’.