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Constitutionalism, Governance and Democracy in Africa

Kelechi A. Kalu


The problems of governance and political instability in African states are intractably rooted in the people’s view of their roles within the political system, their relationship to the state and the various contradictions between traditional and modern social, economic and cultural institutions. The partition of the continent into various states without regard to existing cultural, social, religious or national affinities of the various ethnic groups facilitated Europe’s exploitative project in the continent. This stifled pre-existing processes of selection (read: election) of leaders in various African communities and continues to stifle efforts at national development in the larger, contemporary state system. Consequently, rather than solve the problems of ethnic-based conflicts, the imposed state system in Africa continues to impede efforts at national integration in many states, but especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the consolidation of various ethnic groups into state structures similar to European states’ was aimed at improving labor and resource exploitation of the continent. The African states and their various institutional structures therefore enhanced the role of the imperial states in the international system without advancing the concepts of democratic governance and economic development in Africa.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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