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Democracy and People Power in Africa: still searching for the ‘political kingdom’


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Globalization, Trade and Regional Integration | Taylor and Francis

This article analyses current trends in the struggle for democracy in Africa, including the role of social movements. Such movements found early expression in the anti-colonial movement, while recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are reminiscent of the second liberation struggles of two decades earlier. The article undertakes a critical evaluation of emerging democratic forces in Africa, arguing that such a review is vital to the analysis of the trends in the struggles for people power, and explores strategies for avoiding the pitfalls that undermined earlier waves of democratisation in the continent, particularly that of the 1990s when initial euphoria led to uncritical acceptance of movements that were later found to be opportunistic and undemocratic. The article concludes by examining the conditions under which an ‘emanicipatory’ African national democratic project—defined by an increase in people's participation in authoritative resource allocation—can be initiated and sustained in the face of a deepening crisis of the current neoliberal world order.


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