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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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Chapter 5: Why process is important in constitutional design

A Constitutional Political Economy Approach

John M. Mbaku

Extract

During the last several decades, many African countries have tried to engage in state reconstruction and provide themselves with more effective governing systems. Specifically, the effort has been directed towards securing the types of laws and institutions that can help them effectively manage diversity, enhance peaceful coexistence, protect the rights of citizens, including those of minorities, and provide mechanisms for the creation of the wealth that they need to deal fully with poverty and material deprivation. Unfortunately, most of these countries have failed to understand why the process through which institutional reforms are undertaken—whether the process is top-down and elite-driven or bottom-up, participatory, and inclusive—is important. A participatory process ensures that the outcome are laws and institutions that reflect the ideals, values, and aspirations of each country’s relevant stakeholders.

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