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Will It Be Possible for more African Nations to Transition to Democracy - Essay Example

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As many authoritarian regimes face challenges in the African continent today, a fundamental question remains as to whether more African countries will be able to transit to democracy. …
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Will It Be Possible for more African Nations to Transition to Democracy
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"Will It Be Possible for more African Nations to Transition to Democracy"

Download file to see previous pages Not all African nations lack democracy; however, most of the African nations have demonstrated poor or lack of democracy. These can be seen through personal dictatorships, one-party systems and military regimes. This paper will examine the barriers to democratic transition in African countries. Secondly, the paper will explore how African countries can overcome these difficulties. Lastly, the paper will focus on South Africa as a country that has moved towards democratic transition. Will it be possible for more African nations to transition to democracy? Why it is incredibly difficult for African nations to democratic transition According to Riley (1991), African nations can adopt democracy as most western countries such as the United States have adopted. However, the transition to democracy is incredibly a difficult task, which requires many changes in hindrances to democratic transition. There are several policies that need to be adopted by most African nations in order to enhance their chances for a democratic transition. South Africa is one of the African nations that have demonstrated a successful democratic transition through overcoming the barriers of such a transition. There are several barriers that prevent the African nations from having a successful democratic transition. First, there has been the lack of democratic culture in many African nations. There is an African culture that allows a single chief who cannot be challenged throughout the history of African leadership. Such a tradition has passed across generations and is a barrier to democratic transition (Bates, 1995). In addition, in many African nations, the sense of a democratic majority is expressed by a single party system and a need for unity among ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups. Such an idea leads to conflicts among various tribes and cultures. The other barrier to successful democratic transition includes the underdeveloped economies in many African nations. Democracy is expensive since it requires the establishment of institutions that deal with problems such as corruption, poor governance, and dictatorship. The institutions of democratic government and civil society are weak in many countries; this makes the transition to democracy a substantial challenge. Being underdeveloped, most of the African countries cannot support the establishment of democratic institutions (Bates, 1995). Riley (1991) asserts that unstable societies can be regarded as a barrier to democratic transition in many African nations, which has resulted from wars and violence. Some African countries such as Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, and Rwanda have experienced tribal or civil wars. For a successful democratic transition, there must be a stable society that focuses on the development. The effects of wars tend to be tremendous both economically and socially. Economic and social inequalities tend to undermine one’s capacity to participate in public discourses that may lead to significant changes in life. The violation of human rights in many African countries also hinders the transition to governance. In these countries, human rights are not given a priority; there are many cases of child abuse, rape, killings and even slavery and other human rights violations (Nzongola-Ntalaja & Lee, 1997). In such a state, it is almost impossible to have a successful transition to democracy. Poor education system in many African countries is also a barrier to democratic transition. In countries where there is democracy, such as United States, education systems aim at producing scholars who are capable of criticizing the lack of democracy. Poor education results to low earning and low standards of living. Consequently, income inequality may undermine democratic instit ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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