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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 6: Process-driven constitutional design, legitimacy and minority rights: constituent assemblies

A Constitutional Political Economy Approach

John M. Mbaku

Extract

Before a country embarks on constitutional design, a political foundation must be established. Such a foundation includes developing the constitutional principles on which the constitution would be based and which would constrain the drafters; determining the nature of citizen participation; how the committee tasked with drafting the constitution (i.e., the constituent assembly) will be chosen and constrained; and how the constitution will be ratified. It is important that constitution making is placed in a context that emphasizes rationality and impartiality, while minimizing all forms of opportunism and balancing the interests of the present with those of future generations. Finally, constitutional design must center around protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens, including those of minorities.

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