Democratization in Late Twentieth-Century Africa: Coping with Uncertainty

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Few would disagree that since 1990 Sub-Saharan Africa has undergone a process of political transformation. Where one-party systems once stood, multi-parties are now dominant; where heads of state once ruled autocratically, open elections have emerged. In this study, both African and non-African scholars take a critical look at the evolution and contradictions of democratization in seven African nations: Malawi, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, and Gabon, each at a different stage in the democratization process.

Some of these countries historically have not received much attention in North America. For example, little is known about Malawi, and Gabon has escaped notice outside the Francophone world. While other works have focused primarily upon the role that institutions have played in the democratization process, this study looks at individual leaders. Some of the authors were themselves participants in the reform movements in their home countries, and they examine the role that the military and the church played in the process. This volume also includes a discussion of why democratization has stagnated or been reversed in some nations.

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Editorial Reviews

Scholars compare and contrast seven African cases of transition from unipartyism to multipartyism. They situate political events and elections in late-20th-century Africa in the larger context of democratization, and explore internal and external factors critical to the success of democratization efforts. Countries discussed include Malawi, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Tanzania. Most contributors are African-born scholars and prodemocracy activists. Three were involved in the struggle for political change in their countries. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

JEAN-GERMAIN GROS is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Administration and a Center for International Studies Fellow at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is the author of numerous articles on public administration and Africa.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Understanding Democratization 1
2 Democratization in Malawi: Its Roots and Prospects 21
3 Cameroon: A Flawed Transition to Democracy 41
4 Nigeria: Militarization and Perpetual Transition 59
5 Democracy, State-Building, and "Nations" in Ethiopia: 1974-95 77
6 Leadership and Democratization: The Case of Tanzania 97
7 Elections and Democratic Transition in Ghana: 1991-96 113
8 The Irony of Wealth: Democratization in Gabon 129
Bibliography 147
Index 157
About the Contributors 163
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