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Lecture 5

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Wilson Prichard

Political Organization and Nation Building After Independence 10/9/2013 6:09:00 AM  Layout and the logic of the argument in the introduction; systematic  Understand history, why they made the decisions based on their particular historical context – revisionist history o Historical complexity of colonialism to independence  Independence comes, countries doing pretty well until the 1970s – after on, the economic growth shrinks – 1990s growth starts again  Autocratic rule; military rules – 1990s return to the democracy  Crisis – Degree of Recovery  Great hopes at independence era quickly disappeared amid political decline o Plethora of Labels: Prebendal, Neo-Patrimonial, Personal Rule, Overdeveloped, Soft, Vampire, Venal, Lame Leviathan, Predatory etc.  Revisionist history is one of relentless failure, sometimes with Cultural/Racial Undertones o The crisis sets in by the 1970s o Rulers who came to power were simply power-hungry, incompetent o Repudiate the simple preconception; political/economic decisions reflect rational responses to the incredibly difficult environments  However still leading to crisis  Failures were real, but political and economic developments were initially often rational responses to constraints and historical legacies  Why did states adopt the political systems they did? How and why did this lead to growing centralization, corruption and conflict? 1. The Setting at Independence 2. Fragmentation and the Transition to Independence 3. Key Political Trends After Independence 4. The Seeds of Crisis  Rapid transition to independence strengthened colonial legacy: o States without nations  Arbitrary borders, unrelated to challenge of building national identities  Colonial state not interested nation-building, and sought to constrain political participation and integration  Indirect rule: promotion of ethnic over national consciousness  Paucity of institutions for promoting political integration (autonomous organizations of civil society such as unions, human rights groups, political parties etc.) – no rich civil society cutting across the diversity and building a national identity o A legacy of autocracy  Colonial state based on coercion and control, not representation and accountability  Indirect rule introduced decentralized despotism and the absence of the rule of law  Not just a question of established traditions of autocracy, but of the weakness/absence of institutions to ensure participation and inclusion  Both at the national/local level o Weak and limited states  State had limited reach in the periphery, limited ability to penetrate society  Weak infrastructure, few services  Weak institutions of local government  Indirect rule and politics of collaboration  Reliance on informal arrangements/bargains with individuals rather than formal institutions/rules to sustain state power  Bargains with the local power holders; ensure social stability and mobilizations of the labor o States w/o external constraints  Historically, external threats have been important to strengthening national identities and building stronger states  This impetus has not existed in Sub-Saharan Africa, making it easier for ruling elites to become predatory and fail to invest in their states o Economic Weakness and Vulnerability  Externally oriented economies heavily reliant ton one or two exports  Extremely vulnerable, pressure for transformation  Most countries relying on one crop; extremely vulnerable to the world economy  NO trade between countries in the same continent  The historic exclusion of Africans from economic opportunities meant that the state emerged as the focus of opportunity and economic strategies  What were the key challenges/negative legacies confronting African states at independence?  Whey has contemporary scholarship on African often failed to consider this context in assessing outcomes?  Independence governments faced enormous expectations: o Generate new economic opportunities and development  Believed that free from colonial rule would open up economic growth and opportunities o Africanize political and economic life  Transformation required an ambitious, united, national leadership o State administration, European presence relatively replaced o State leading role for drastic political/economic development  Despite appearance of strong nationalist parties, they were, in fact, very weak and fragmented o Depth of political support/unity remains especially limited in these countries  Nationalist movements: Temporary alliances with no shared vision of post-colonial society o Ethnic division, ideological divisions, weak links to rural area  Disintegration of these parties reflects absence of strong national identity and the weakness of political institutions: (along ethnic or geographical areas) o Nigeria: NCNC = party of Igbo‟s in Easter Region; NPP = Hausa-Fulani‟s of Northern Region, AG = Yoruba‟s of Western Region o Ghana: CPP remains National (Coastal city-based party), NLM, main opposition, Ashanti-based o Kenya: KANU Kikuyu based; main opposition KADU Luo-based (representing the periphery)  Highlands, white settlement, acceleration of the economic/political revisions  Conflicts develop between traditional leaders and new nationalist leadership o Risk of the political leadership fragmented and pulling apart o Modern political leadership in the cities vs. Traditional leadership (customary rule) in the rural areas  Pulling power in the modern system; not just among the urban political elites but also against the rural leaders  As power fragments, individual groups have an interest in protecting their positions, and those of the constituents  Weak state and political institutions imply that controlling political power is essential – few checks and balance facing those in power o The more the political instability – people stick to the existing relationships based on ethnicity and region o Nature of the political institutions; too consolidated in the personal power – access all depend critically on political power  No institutions that is supposed to help the contestation of political conflict is extremely weak
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