Towards Stable Polity in Africa: From the Myth to the Reality of Democracy

  • A B Ekanola
  • D L Imbua


The paper takes a critical look at the prevalent idea in contemporary society that democracy is the best form of government that can guarantee respect for human rights and dignity, as well as foster social stability, peace and development. This view has gained such a wide acceptance that the prospect of social development in the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America is tied to the extent to which they are able to democratize their political structures in addition to other structural adjustments in the economic arena. While we agree that democracy has a number of good features and promises, we contend that democracy, and especially the liberal variant, which has gained much prominence in the contemporary era, does not really provide a sufficient guarantee for the equality and liberty of rights of citizens, especially in Africa. Neither does it, contrary to general assumptions, necessarily guarantee social development through the promotion of the interest of the public. Thus, the paper encourages a constructive criticism of liberal democracy in order to either improve upon it or identify a more credible alternative.

SOPHIA: An African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 9 (1) 2006: pp. 6-13

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eISSN: 1119-443X