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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Democracy' in Africa - interpretations of priorities
Author:Poluha, EvaISNI
Year:1995
Periodical:African Anthropology (ISSN 1024-0969)
Volume:2
Issue:1
Period:March
Pages:17-44
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Ethiopia
Sweden
Northeast Africa
Subjects:patronage
corruption
democracy
Politics and Government
politics
Power (Social sciences)
Traditional culture
ethnicity
Accountability
Abstract:This article discusses the relationship between the Northern concept of democracy, particularly as it has evolved in Sweden, and Southern cultural experiences, as represented by the case of Ethiopia. The model of democracy that the North wants countries in the South to adopt emphasizes equality, a plural political system, an independent legal system, and a market economy. However, Ethiopian peasants' notions of good governance seem to revolve around the benevolent patron, and the patron-client relationship emerges at all levels. The relationship between the peasants and the State has been characterized by repression, exploitation and corruption, and the prevention of corruption is one of the priorities stated by Ethiopian peasants. One way to achieve this, they propose, would be to institute procedures whereby all documents and agreements are made public. The author, who lived in Ethiopia from just prior to the revolution (1973) until the early 1980s and has paid semiannual visits to the country since that time, concludes that interventions regarding democracy in Africa should build on local cultural models instead of imposed foreign models. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.
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