Government and the Process of Governance in Africa

Joy Alemazung
November 2012

Democracy and good governance are two concepts that are often perceived as closely interlinked. This paper uses different examples from Africa to show that these ideas are, in fact, not only different, but are endowed with dimensions which also allow them to exist independent from one another. To do so the paper defines and examines the interrelation between democracy, government and governance and analyses the failures in African political systems based on deficiencies in these interrelations. It concludes that these deficiencies can be overcome by both the right kind of democratic constitution and political arrangement that would safeguard constitutionalism, as well as a good leadership for the people and not for the leaders. Furthermore, this paper argues that even though good governance and democracy are far from being synonymous, they are necessary for any successful political system aiming to establish and promote economic and socio-political development in Africa. Even though democracy is not equal to good governance and a country could be well governed without a democratically elected leader, democracy is a key factor to hold governments accountable.

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