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Protecting Minority Rights in African Countries

A Constitutional Political Economy Approach

John M. Mbaku

In this enlightening book, John Mukum Mbaku analyses the main challenges of constitutional design and the construction of governance institutions in Africa today. He argues that the central issues are: providing each country with a constitutional order that is capable of successfully managing sectarian conflict and enhancing peaceful coexistence; protecting the rights of citizens – including those of minorities; minimizing the monopolization of political space by the majority (to the detriment of minorities); and, effectively preventing government impunity.
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Acknowledgements

A Constitutional Political Economy Approach

John M. Mbaku

The successful completion of this book, Protecting Minority Rights in African Countries, would have been impossible without the input, cooperation, and assistance of many people—colleagues, students, and institutions. I am extremely grateful for and appreciative of the contributions of these people and groups. I am especially grateful to many individuals that I have worked with on issues related to peaceful coexistence and human development in Africa.

I am especially grateful to my dear friend and colleague, Mwangi Samson Kimenyi, with whom I have published several articles and books on African political economy. Most of my scholarship on political economy in Africa has been influenced significantly by my personal and professional relationship with Professor Kimenyi. In 2015, shortly after we published our last coauthored contribution—Governing the Nile River Basin: The Search for a New Legal Regime—Professor Kimenyi fell sick and eventually went to be with the Lord. I miss him dearly and pray that Our Father in Heaven receive him and keep him safe. I also pray that Our Father in Heaven continue to look after his family—his wife Irene Wagui, and his children, Francis Kimenyi, Bedan Kimani, and Robert Mburu. I remain forever in his debt.

Other colleagues throughout the world encouraged me and provided significant intellectual support as I researched and wrote the book. Of special note are Charles Manga Fombad, Professor of Law and Head of the African Constitutional Law Unit at the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa, University of Pretoria (South Africa); Philip C. Aka, Professor of Political Science, Chicago State University and Adjunct Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law; and Melvin Ayogu, Director of the Executive MBA program and Visiting Professor of Economics at the School of Business Administration, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Special thanks are due to the Willard L. Eccles Charitable Foundation (of Utah), which during the last several years, has generously supported my research efforts. The Eccles Charitable Foundation made it possible for me to spend eight weeks during the summer of 2016 at the Centre de Linguistique Appliquée, Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, France, where I was able to significantly improve my ability to access French-language documents related to various aspects of law and governance in French-speaking countries in Africa. I also thank the Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor Program at Weber State University, which has provided recognition to my work by naming me one of its distinguished professors. I would like to recognize Dean Jeff Steagall of the Goddard School of Business & Economics at Weber State University, who has generously supported my professional efforts. I also acknowledge my former and present department heads, Professors Doris Geide-Stevenson and Brandon Koford, respectively. I have been a Nonresident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution (Washington, D.C.) since 2011. The Brookings Institution has provided me with significant opportunities and resources to conduct and publish research on various African topics. I owe a great deal of debt to The Brookings Institution, its staff and researchers, all of whom have been very supportive of my work.

I thank my family—my wife Theresa Thomas, my son, Fotoh Thomas Mukum, and my daughter, Vivianne Elizabeth Api—for their patience, kindness, and willingness to accept my long absences from home while I worked on this book.