Democracy,Development and Self-Determination:Revisiting the African Nationalist Project in the Aftermath of the ‘Arab Spring’
【摘要】：There seems to be a curious historical parallel between how events and processes unfolded in the era of decolonisation and what later transpired in the early 90s when the continent was allegedly gripped by a democratisation fever that forced dictators and autocrats alike to conduct free and fair elections and reconnect with the electorate. If the struggle against colonial rule dubbed national liberation was anchored on a mythical revolution of rising expectations; the so-called struggle for second independence christened democratisation was designed by default to restore hope in the nation-state and enframe the proverbial market forces as the engine of growth and development that would guarantee democracy. Yet it soon transpired that the undue emphasis on the procedural aspect of democracy-periodic elections, institution building, governance capacity, civil and political freedom et al- sidelined the real stuff of politics as a lived quotidian experience for millions of Africans. It is therefore not surprising that both moments began to unravel exactly two decades after they were installed. If military coups /dictatorships, mass rigging of elections, and the installation of presidents for life were the key indicators that heralded the collapse of the immediate post-independence dispensation;incessant communal strife, rag-tag rebel movements, a militant ideology of marginalisation from diverse social groups, the do or die battle between 'settlers' and 'indigenes', and the neo-liberal world view of the IFI's and the UN constitute the major challenges in the contemporary struggle for democracy, development and self-determination. How do we make sense of these daunting challenges in the context of globalisation and the mass movement of peoples? How democratic is a system of governance which excludes the majority of its citizenry-women, youth and the urban poor-from participating in the business of governance? What are the current and future implications for democratic practice in Africa if citizens are denied the enjoyment of their basic rights to housing, education, health, and a living wage? What would it mean for democracy and social citizenship when 80% of Africans will live in cities, which is about twenty odd years away? What are the multiple implications for democracy and development in the context of a neo-imperial architecture designed by NATO but masquerading as a UN project? This paper raises key issues around the contemporary realisation of the African nationalist project-democracy, development and self-determination-two decades after the struggle for the second independence and in the aftermath of the so-called 'Arab spring' by focusing on centrality of the state and its possible reconstitution as the major driving force in societal stability and political transformation.