POLITICAL ECONOMY OF DEMOCRATIZATION AND FEDERALIZING MULTI-ETHNIC STATES IN SUB SAHARAN AFRICA
The conclusion of the Cold War ushered in a new era in international relations, highlighting the necessity to address current political and economic practices and trends. With significant changes ranging from the demise of state sovereignty and the Westphalian state system to the abolition of bipolar geopolitics,
the end of the cold war transcended the usual core categories of the nation-state, blurring the sharp distinction between internal and external causes of national development and replacing it with a concept of interaction within larger systems.
The democratic rebirth and/or “wave” of democratic transition is mentioned as one of the most exciting endings of the Cold War years. This has an undeniable connotation in the “Third World” in general, and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nonetheless, the conclusion of the Cold War saw the cementing of a global capitalist system that had long been viewed as detrimental to Africa's political and economic growth south of the Sahara.
The ideology of ‘neo-liberalism', with its political component of liberal democracy and its economic component of free-market/enterprise, became the dominating patterns of thought and activity in the global political economy.
As a result, sub-Saharan African states, which are plagued by problems such as political instability, economic backwardness, ethno-cultural division, political and economic inequality, state building and national consensus, and state weakness and inefficiency,
have found themselves in an international position and under international scrutiny, and post-Cold War democratisation has had unprecedented consequences. As a result of the failure of centralised nation-state regimes and/or institutions,
the federal political system has been viewed as an alternative to strengthening democratic transitions in ethnically divided states, bringing about political and economic change through power sharing and regional autonomy.
Thus, this thesis attempted to examine the interplay of democratisation and federalization in multi-ethnic governments of Sub-Saharan Africa using a political economy perspective, as well as the post-Cold War years in Ethiopia and Nigeria through a comparative analysis.
Before delving into the reinforcing, an attempt is made to briefly analyse and evaluate the issue of the nature of state, as well as internal and external pressures on democratisation in the subcontinent. A comparative comparison of Ethiopia and Nigeria is conducted using their federal constitutional arrangements, fiscal federalism, and party systems.
To conduct the analysis, the 1995 Ethiopian and 1999 Nigerian constitutions are employed in conjunction with secondary sources. The thesis's analysis revealed that there is a reinforcement and interplay of democratisation and federalizing ethnically divided states in Sub-Saharan Africa,
and federal structuring and restructuring of institutions increases the possibilities for state efficiency, regional autonomy of ethno-cultural groups, power decentralisation, and political and economic equality, thereby strengthening popular democracy.
Externally, however, sub-Saharan African states are pushed to adopt the ‘neo-liberal' version of electoral and elitist democracy, which looks insufficient to address the basic political and economic difficulties in sub-Saharan Africa's ethnically divided and economically poor countries.
Internally, while the federal system in both Ethiopia and Nigeria is properly formalised in the constitution and aims to improve democratisation of the state and reduce ethnic tension, there is still a degree of power centralization at the centre, which impedes the government's accountability to the people.
The meagre power of regional states, the concentration of fiscal power on the federal government, and the ruling party's dominance at the centre resulted in a disjunction between a political superstructure manifested by elitist and electoral democracy and the promises of the federal political system; regional autonomy, equitable resource distribution, mass empowerment, and popular democracy at the base.
Chapter One: Introduction, Objectives, and Methodological Issues
Coming up with a distinct set of political and economic practices, the changes brought about by the end of the Cold War to the international system, as well as the study of International Relations, appear intolerable to reject at this time.
For sub-Saharan African peoples who have been governed externally by imperialism, colonialism, and neocolonialism, as well as internally by unaccountable elites, the end of the Cold War has brought new opportunities and difficulties.
On the one hand, the globe has seen a democratic renaissance, with authoritarian regimes being dismantled and democratic ones being installed. On the other side, the end of the Cold War eliminated the ideological, economic, political,
and security barriers to the consolidation of the global capitalist system. As a result, it is crucial to emphasise that the subcontinent is currently experiencing a mix of opportunities and challenges.
The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s prompted some Third World intellectuals to believe and capitalise on new chances to advance agendas of social justice, national liberation, and democratisation both locally and globally. Furthermore, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Third World would no longer serve as a staging ground for East-West rivalries (Robinson, 2004; 47).
The cold war's east-west competition came to an end, and ‘neo-liberalism' 1 became the dominant patterns of thought and activity within the global political economy.
Furthermore, Merera points out that “liberal democracy and the attendant free enterprise have become the ideological hamburger both for the legitimating of the state by the regime in power and the social movements fighting to redefine the state” (Mere-ra, 2007, p. 2).