PS: democracy in Africa, turned into a weapon

PS: демократия в Африке превратилась в оружие

Comments and research about selected countries in Africa show clearly contradictory picture. But whatever their conclusions are, dark or bright, all share the same ahistorical approach.Contemporary Africa is largely a product of colonialism, and whatever we pay attention — on the economy or politics, religion or geography, we always encounter traces of it. An obvious example of democracy in Africa. Contrary to all expectations, in most African countries the democratic system of government does not bring the promised results.One reason for this is that democracy is based on such principles (freedom, individualism, solidarity, equality) that can have different meanings in different contexts. Established preferences, values and beliefs usually affect the way you manage and make decisions that actually create democracy. And so democracy, as the current set of methods and solutions that can compare with the technology.All technologies can be used and they are used for completely different purposes. Pen can write and you can turn her into a weapon. A knife can cut vegetables or use it in a street fight. But this does not mean that technologies are morally neutral. On the contrary, their ethics defined by their functions. It is therefore possible to speak about appropriate or inappropriate use of technology. No one technology is independent of the social world. They are all from somewhere appeared.And just as democracy is rooted in a particular area, the traditions, and culture. For her transplant, one of the conditions in others we must first understand the traditions and culture of the place where it is transplanted. And as in most African countries this was not done, democracy has become a weapon by which the elite and the security forces suppress the weak, and not to the system for the protection of the rights and control over the leaders.The legacy of colonial institutions in Africa usually suppress local traditions. Many African societies have their own ways of doing things, from family management to the coordination of economic and political life. Most people continue to act as an ethnic group, where the identity of the members based on shared linguistic and cultural markers. But after the Balkanization of Africa in the period of colonialism, these traditional companies have experienced (in most cases) reconfiguration, which led to the emergence of political structures that do not have their own sources of identity. Is it any wonder that so many of these countries still can’t become a functioning nation-States.The geographical boundaries that have been imposed for economic and political reasons, became the indestructible reality. And if there is any movement for self-determination, they are usually suppressed, sometimes with violence, and their leaders accused of “treason and anti-state activity” (which is also a colonial artifact).Over time, the artificial geographic boundaries of Africa have become psychological barriers. People who have previously been shared ethnic identity, were separated borders between the countries and began to consider themselves different peoples. South Africa is home to several ethnic groups, shared with the neighbouring countries of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia, but today the citizens of these countries are considered to be in South Africa by foreigners and outsiders.Such dynamics is bidirectional. The people of Hausa-Fulani of the Sahel in Africa continues to emphasize their common identity in spite of national borders. However, this solidarity also becomes a source of tension because it increases the suspicion on the part of other groups living within these artificial countries.Still a long emphasis on the colonial borders, and usually at the expense of traditional ethnic groups, continues to define politics and international relations. Multilateral institutions such as the world Bank, the international monetary Fund and the UN, often think and act within the framework of colonial boundaries. The same can be said about the management of the economy and on cross-border coordination: all decisions are based on “national” interests, which, in turn, based on a colonial legacy and ties. Despite their shared ethnic identity, the anglophones and the Francophones in West Africa often clash over economic and political issues.However, even if you look beyond Economics and politics, you can see that research on Africa is also usually adhere to the so-called “methodological nationalism” (wording of the sociologists Andreas Wimmer and Nina Glick Schiller): “naturalisation of the nation-state and ideas of what countries are natural targets for comparative research.” This approach, according to which national States are a cohesive society is generally accepted, including the commercial management consultants. For example, a consulting firm Hofstede Insights, following the works of Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede, in fact, commoditytype nationalism, when advising their clients how to act in the cultures of various countries.One of the important results of these works about “nation culture” is the emergence of a literature on national institutions and, in particular, about the “variety of capitalism”. The conclusion is that capitalism, as a method different in accordance with the institutional configurations of national States. But this whole area of science again falls into the trap of methodological nationalism. National cohesion is simply considered a given, despite the fact that within nation States can exist and do exist many separate societies.Anyone who today look at this scientific literature will find research on specific organizational practices and economic systems in different African countries. Each of these studies seeks to explain the country through the prism of the “nation-state” culture and institutions, and, therefore, considers the reality of the colonial border. But these boundaries were often very poorly drawn on the basis of alien interests and priorities, so the reliability of all such conclusions must be questioned.The fact is that African countries are not homogeneous. Scientists who are interested in the continent should be more critical approaches when they think about African cultures and institutions, and traditional ethnic distinctions that have appeared before modern borders and political systems. A more elaborate approach could lead to valuable new insights about the differences in management techniques, leadership and management on the continent. It’s probably not as easy a approach as current methodology, but African scientists, and scientists, Africanists must admit that this idea is worth to implement.

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