P099
Traditional Chiefs and Democratic Political Culture for Africa

Convenors:
Petr Skalník (University of Hradec Králové)
Georg Klute (University of Bayreuth)
Chair:
Florian Kern
Discussant:
Francis Nyamnjoh
Stream:
Panels
Location:
KH106
Start time:
29 June, 2017 at 14:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Chiefs contribute to democratic political culture in various African countries. Chieftaincy is rather an asset than an impediment for promotion of democracy. African chiefs facilitate power of the powerless

Long abstract:

The panel will discuss data on chiefs's contribution to democratic political culture in various African countries. Is it possible to assume that a kind of new indirect rule could emerge in Africa, in which African chiefdoms balance imported neo-colonial statehood? Do chiefs make governance more democratic through the feedback ordinary Africans give via their chiefs? We believe that the quality of governance in modern African states is to a varying degree dependent on support of traditional chiefs. Chiefdoms function as stabilizers or destabilizers of states in which they continue to exist. As a number of recent studies show the role of chiefs can be more influential than that of modern bureaucrats. While chieftaincy claims legitimity from the past, this legacy is rather an asset than an impediment for promotion of democracy. African chiefs facilitate power of the powerless. The panel will bring together those who find that African chiefdoms play an important part in modern politics.