Educational Research and Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Educ. Res. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1990-3839
  • DOI: 10.5897/ERR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2008


Political governance and conflict management: why developing polities and the poor need a stronger state structure?

John W. Forje, Fil dr
Department of Political Science, University of Yaounde 11- Soa, Centre for Action-Oriented Research on African Development (CARAD). B.P. 13429 Yaounde, Republic of Cameroon
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 10 July 2006
  •  Published: 31 July 2006


Political governance and quality management are often contested concepts, meaning different things to different people; and often their meanings have shifted historically. The collapse of the governance system behind the iron curtain countries triggered an avalanche in international politics and instituted new governance and management system to fit within the evolving political dispensation of the 21st century. Even in the post-cold war era, the political sociology of the greater part of the continent began to acquire a mournful guise of repetitive failure. The reality, as the facts show, is one where the nature of society has failed to meet the requirements of the democratic and parliamentary models by which the New-States are supposed to function. We must appreciate that 50 years in the life of a nation is a short period. We should not expect Africa to accomplish within this relatively short period what took the currently democratic states to achieve. Even within this defeatist or pessimistic view, there is a reality of optimism of progress though slow that points towards increasing democratisation and eventual public participation in governance, as well as important modes for integration into global systems of information, technology, knowledge and commerce, bode well for the acceleration of African development in the 21st century. The demand for drastic changes in the state system within this short period may be asking too much. After all, what the old democracies exhibit today took them thousands of years to accomplish. Taking just a couple of examples, women in Switzerland received their rights to vote not long ago. Comparatively, African States have made tremendous strides in this area. Rwanda, a decade after the genocide, has the highest number in the world of women representation in parliament. This does not mean that the plight of women in Africa is resolved. Women are still marginalized in spite of them commanding almost 52 percent of the population on the continent. No one is advocating the adoption of a Rostow “stages of development” approach for Africa. The strides made so far by Africa are due to advances in science and technology, which enable the continent to move forward more rapidly than the West did. Africans are equally contributing to advances in science and technology –the Internet for example, which is an African invention. This paper addresses pertinent issues –governance and consolidating the democratic process - and why the people need a stronger involvement. Power belongs to the people. Democracy belongs to the people. The State must create the enabling and levelling playground for civil society to be an integral part of the governance process. The conceptual frame builds on system thinking approach and conflict management maintaining that participation, partnership and responsibility sharing provides the best way for building a Strong State capable of meeting its obligations to the people. Proactive strategies policy measures are advanced as the way forward to reconstructing and reconstituting a viable State that is first and foremost peopleoriented, that is inclusive and with an open governance system that creates choices and possibilities for its citizens.

Key words: Democracy, consolidation, civil society, partnership, participation, responsibility sharing, conflict management/prevention, media, choices, inclusion and social justice.