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by Godfrey Mwakikagile

This book examines the modern African State as a fragile institution because of its structural flaws. It focuses on a number of African countries whose combined analyses provide a focal point for looking at the whole continent as one giant place with crumbling state institutions whose fragility threatens the very existence of several African countries. Even in rich African countries, peace and stability is threatened and rampant corruption and dictatorship.

Nothing better demonstrates the weakness and cruelty of the modern African State than its willingness to instigate tribal violence in a number of African countries and its inability to contain such hostilities in many others. In an attempt to put such weakness in proper perspective, the author focuses on analyses of case studies, as the context for a better understanding of the modern African State, as the most dominant institution on the African continent.

Download The Modern Africa State: Quest for Transformation epub
ISBN: 1560729368
ISBN13: 978-1560729365
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Author: Godfrey Mwakikagile
Language: English
Publisher: Nova Science Pub Inc (June 1, 2001)
Pages: 251 pages
ePUB size: 1185 kb
FB2 size: 1144 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 703
Other Formats: lit mobi mbr doc

Professor Mahmoud Mamdani, a leading African scholar who teaches at Columbia University, uses Godfrey Mwakikagile's book "The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation," as a textbook for graduate studies. Other professors use the book as an assigned or recommended text for graduate students in African and development studies and international affairs. It is also found in graduate school libraries across the United States like all the other books written by Godfrey Mwakikagile who, himself, is becoming an increasingly influential African scholar.
But that is not the only reason why his book, "The Modern African State...," got my attention. At a recent academic seminar on Africa, one of the participants cited George Ayittey's work, "Africa in Chaos," together with Godfrey Mwakikagile's "The Modern African State...," in his discussion of civil conflicts on the continent. Most of the participants knew or had heard about Ayittey. But that was the first time some of us heard about Mwakikagile, although quite a few had. His work, "The Modern African State...," equally trenchant as Ayittey's, is a great contribution to the growing literature about post-colonial Africa written by the Africans themselves.
It is interesting to see that more and more African intellectuals are taking an "internalist" approach to Africa's problems instead of always blaming external forces for her plight. Dr. Mwakikagile is one of them.
But such an approach must be balanced with an analysis of external involvement, including colonialism. Africa is still reeling from its devastating impact. However, this does not mean that all of Africa's problems should be placed entirely on the shoulders of her former colonial masters, as many Africans who take the "externalist" approach are fond of doing.
Most of the problems Africa faces today - rampant corruption, mismanagement, brutal repression, ethnic conflicts, hunger, illiteracy, endemic poverty and disease - are either caused or exarcebated by the Africans themselves; not by the former colonial masters who are now even being asked by some Africans to go back and rule them again. Things are that bad. And it is African writers like Mwakikagile who should be commended for taking up the challenge to tell the truth about their continent, however bitter.
It would be even more encouraging if their kith and kin here in the United States, African Americans, also faced this reality, instead of romanticizing Africa. Randall Robinson of TransAfrica is the exception, together with a few others; although their attitude is not the same as the attitude of black conservatives who are sometimes extremely hostile toward Africa and usually don't want to have anything to do with - "that place." Foregetting that white Republicans and others don't care about them either. They don't even want them in the Republic party. Alan Keyes knows that. Brilliant, highly articulate, he should have been the standard-bearer of his party, but still was not nominated as the Republican presidential candidate because he is black. And, yes, African!
But bad as their attitude is, one must not entirely ignore what black American conservatives - they hate to be called African Americans - say about Africa. Africa's problems can only be solved by Africans. We can help them, but the initiative must come from them.
It is also in this context that Dr. Godfrey Mwakikagile's highly acclaimed work, "The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation," must be viewed; although, unlike black American conservatives who hate Africa and by extension hate themselves, he writes out of deep concern for the well-being of his continent as much as his compatriot Professor George Ayittey does, as do many others.
This is a work of mature scholarship by one of our finest and most mature African intellectuals writing about Africa today. Having read his other writings as well, there's no question that they meet the criteria of informed scholarship and standards of rigorous analysis one would expect from a writer and scholar of this calibre.
Africa has lost an entire generation since independence because of bad leadership. And the author is blunt about it.
Highly critical of corrupt leaders across the continent, also notorious for brutal repression, he's mature enough to be on guard against blind acceptance of multiparty democracy patterned after Western parliamentary institutions, unlike many other Africans who have embraced wholesale the virtues of multipartyism as it is practised in the West, without taking African realities into account, simply because they have suffered so much under the one-party state, de jure and de facto.
Neither the one-party system, suppressing dissent, nor the multi-party system, promoting sectarianism, is ideal for Africa. The author is critical of both, yet realistic enough to give multiparty politics a chance in this highly unstable continent whose most combustible elements include conflicting ethnic loyalties transcending nationalism. How to defuse this highly volatile situation is one of the most urgent issues Godfrey Mwakikagile addresses in his book, "The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation."
I have only one complaint, although even this does not in any way impair the quality of his work or diminish the validity of his central thesis. AIDS is devastating Africa. Entire communities are being wiped out. The author should have devoted at least an entire chapter or two to this pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million Africans, and is killing millions more every year. May be that is a subject for one of the books he may write in the future. I hope so, on a continent with so little hope.
Coming from war-ravaged Liberia, I can easily understand why the author says the things he says in his highly critical study, "The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation."
Africa is indeed in trouble. And nothing is going to change unless we, ourselves, do something about the situation. The first thing we need is change of leadership. Our leaders, at least most of them, have failed us miserably. But we are also at fault. We should stop fighting each other, and hating each other.
Instead of getting mad at writers like Godfrey Mwakikagile, George Ayittey, Keith Richburg and others, who are bold enough to tell the truth however ugly it is, we should direct our wrath at our leaders who, more than anybody else, are responsible for the condition we are in today. And we should also learn to live together, work together, and even die together for a noble cause, which includes doing everything we can to replace bloodthirsty and corrupt leaders who are busy destroying our continent. Otherwise we're going nowhere.
This book makes me ashamed of Africa because of what's going on in our continent. But it also makes me proud as an African, knowing that there are people like this writer, among us, who are not afraid to tell the truth about the mess we are in.
Even if only one African leader reads this book, the author will have achieved something in the corridors of power. Our leaders talk to each other. I hope some of them have read this book, as well as George Ayittey's "Africa Betrayed" and "Africa in Chaos," and Keith Richburg's "Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa."
We have been confronted with the truth, and we should face it.