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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 11: Comparative constitutional law and the management of ethnocultural diversity

A Constitutional Political Economy Approach

John M. Mbaku

Extract

One of the most important problems that African countries face today is how to deal effectively with the challenges posed by ethnocultural conflict. Comparative constitutional law is one of several approaches to the management of diversity. Nevertheless, critics of this approach have argued that it has focused exclusively on bills of rights as a tool to deal with the challenges that emanate from ethnocultural division. However, elaborating a bill of rights in the constitution is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the protection of fundamental rights. Sufficiency requires an effective governing system. In addition, comparative constitutional law has neglected other aspects of institutional design, notably those that have been examined in the field of comparative politics, which include, for example, consociational democracy.

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