P008
Beyond checks and balances: policing democratic regimes in Africa
Convenor:
Muyiwa Falaiye (University of Lagos)
Discussant:
Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye
Location:
C5.05
Start time:
28 June, 2013 at 13:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The panel seeks to explore the changing face of civil rights advocacy in Africa. The panel seeks papers that discuss how the decline of aggressive civil rights advocacy is affecting democratic governments in Africa.

Long abstract:

Some years into Africa's renascent democratic dispensation, the atrocious elements that saw the triumph of civil society advocacy, characterized by the rise of human rights groups, and anti-military NGOs are becoming evident. Given the kind of situation we have now, it is clear that there has to be some policing of existing democratic regimes beyond the checks and balances provided for by constitutions. Furthermore, the same civil rights groups who brought the military to their knees seem to be in a state of coma. We are worried that civil rights advocacy is declining, when in actual fact, the issues the advocacy groups addressed under military regimes are still present in the current democratic dispensation. So many arguments have been adduced for the comatose nature of civil society advocacy.One is that the global campaign against military rule that empowered human rights groups was primarily an advocacy for pro-democracy, and once the baton was passed on to a civil government, the support was stopped. Another reason is that human rights groups in Africa are floating and by reason of funding, are forced to move in the direction of funding agencies. Foundational to this is the argument that we do not have the culture of community service and volunteerism in the reconfigured Africa after military rule.