A 2023 Choice Reviews Outstanding Academic Title
Africa beyond Liberal Democracy: In Search of Context-Relevant Models of Democracy for the Twenty-First Century explores possible future trajectories of democratization on the continent. At the dawn of political independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s, many countries in Africa set out with liberal democratic constitutions. However, these were quickly dismantled by civilian regimes that turned their countries into one-party autocracies, or by military coups that set aside the constitutions altogether. The 1990s saw an attempt at reverting to competitive multi-party politics through the so-called second-generation constitutions, but these are again being dismantled by civilian autocracies and military juntas.
In this collection, edited by Reginald M. J. Oduor, African and Africanist scholars examine the view that what has failed in Africa is liberal democracy rather than democracy as such, because liberal democracy arose in an individualist socio-political Western context that is significantly different from the communalist milieu of African societies.
The contributors, from a variety of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, andbased in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, India, Sweden, and Finland, present a range of perspectives on possible directions for context-relevant models of democracy in the various countries of Africa in the twenty-first century.
Dr. Reginald M.J. Oduor is senior lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Nairobi.
1. African Political Ideology and Practice in the Era of Globalisation: Can a Return to African Humanistic Socialism Combat Afro-libertarianism?
Sirkku K. Hellsten
2. Promoting Indigenous Values to Facilitate the Emergence of Suitable Forms of Democracy
3. Colonialism and the Challenge of Western-style Democracy in Africa
4. The Snares of Liberal Democracy: Lessons from Electioneering in the Democratic Republic of Congo
5. Democracy as Falsehood: Seek but Do not Expect to Find
6. Gender-Sensitive Followership in Africa: The Case of Uganda
Robinah S. Nakabo
7. Co-operative Collegial Democracy: An African Context-relevant Governance Model
8. The Traditional Roots of Democratic Verbal Discipline: Insights from the Akan
Emmanuel Ifeanyi Ani
9. An Appeal for a Communitarian Model of Democracy
10. Elements of an Indigenous African Model of Democracy
Joseph Situma, Kisemei Mutisya and Christine Buluma
11. Democracy and the Right of the Minority in Africa
Moses Oludare Aderibigbe
12. Critical Reflections on the Quest for a Monolithic Democratic Alternative to Liberal Democracy for Africa
Tayo Raymond Ezekiel Eegunlusi
13. Groundswell: An Unavoidable Democracy, with Special Reference to the Acholi of Uganda
14. In Defence of Ethnically-based Federations in Post-Colonial African States, with Special Reference to Kenya
Reginald M.J. Oduor
This is an important book, both challenging and humble, that never loses its sight on an incredibly important question for the continent: How applicable is liberal democracy for Africa?.... Perhaps more impressively, the edited volume is equally dedicated to three parts: one fully justifying the Africa Beyond Liberal Democracy Project; one offering critiques of the project—something rarely done in works today, unfortunately; and one examining a host of diverse, individual proposals for context-relevant African models of democracy. Consequently, the volume sets the table completely and humbly seeks to offer real answers to deep philosophical questions. This is no standard “woke” piece of scholarship that simply wants to blame all of contemporary Africa’s problems on historical colonialism and neocolonialism. Rather, it accurately shows how this historical legacy still matters while not bowing to a rigid path for moving forward. As such, it is a welcome addition to the literature. Highly recommended. Undergraduates through faculty; professionals; general readers.
1/31/23, Choice: This book was included in a roundup of top community college titles.