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Critical Reflections On Wiredu’s Consensual Democracy

Tayo Raymond Ezekiel Eegunlusi


This paper argues that Kwasi Wiredu’s consensual democracy is an inadequate alternative to liberal democracy in contemporary Africa because it neglects the beliefs in supernatural realities underpinning governance and political decisions in traditional societies on the continent. The paper holds that as evident in their worldviews and activities, traditional Africans do not depersonalise entities or segregate physical realities from spiritual ones. Deploying historical and conceptual analyses, the paper contends that, essentially, the deficiency of Wiredu’s argument lies in his declining to acknowledge the roles oaths and covenants play in the sustenance of Africa’s traditional governance systems. The paper thus holds that Wiredu’s discountenancing of the role of beliefs in supernatural realities in African societies generally may have resulted in this gap in his understanding of indigenous African political thought and practice.

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eISSN: 2076-7714
print ISSN: 0251-043X