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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Beyond elite politics of democracy in Africa
Author:Wamba-dia-Wamba, E.ISNI
Periodical:Quest: An International African Journal of Philosophy
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic term:Africa
Political leadership
Abstract:The content of democratization is determined by the dominant mode of politics. The hitherto dominant mode of politics in Africa, which is now in crisis, has been centred on seizure of State power and distribution of State positions and has not been about the transformation of the State in favour of the people's social and political emancipation. The transition towards democracy in the 1990s must be redefined in terms of a change from a mode of politics in crisis towards a new mode of politics. In this article, the author focuses on political processes (of the people), rather than on the political system (of the State); on democratization, that is, on the people's treatment of differences among themselves in society, rather than on democracy as a form of State, in an attempt to define the main lines of a possible emancipative/progressive mode of politics through which democratization can be given a new meaning. Such a progressive politics has militants, and a multiplicity of political sites (the result of the development of political issues by the people) and processes, and recalls African traditions of the palaver ('ntungasani') and the fireplace assembly ('mbongi', 'baraza'). Short of such a new mode of politics, capable of responsibilizing the large masses of people independently of the State (repressive or paternalist/populist) problematic, Africa will be headed towards a prolonged crisis. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French (p. 28). (Reactions appear in subsequent issues of 'Quest'.)