Journal of
Philosophy and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Philos. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 0855-6660
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPC
  • Start Year: 2004
  • Published Articles: 57

Full Length Research Paper

The African state today and the democracy ideal: A case for a critical return

Nancy Oppongwaa Myles
  • Nancy Oppongwaa Myles
  • Department of Philosophy and Classics, Faculty of Arts, University of Ghana, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar
Paa Kweku Quansah
  • Paa Kweku Quansah
  • Department of Philosophy and Classics, Faculty of Arts, University of Ghana, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 02 August 2021
  •  Accepted: 27 September 2021
  •  Published: 31 October 2021


Undoubtedly, many modern nation-states seek to achieve a better form of democratic governance. The African nation-state is not an exception. However, the attempt by African nation-states to achieve the ideal form of democratic governance has been especially problematic. The real problem, as we see it, is that because of the forces of colonization and neo-colonization, Africa especially has scarcely had the opportunity to articulate and practice an uninterrupted democracy that accords with her indigenous political values and contemporary political experience. The upshot of this failure is the myriad of governance problems that plague contemporary African nation-states. Adopting both a descriptive and normative approach in this paper, we aim to uncover valuable aspects of traditional African politics which have been jettisoned in the politics of today. We further discuss why such worthwhile elements need to be refined and incorporated into contemporary African democracies. We analyze the traditional Fante governance system as a model of consensual democracy rooted in the African traditional concept of statehood that must be re-enacted to suit the practice of nation building in Africa today. Thus, we re-echo the largely held view that consensual democracy shows positive prospects for the issue of substantive representation in African politics today.

Key words: African democracy, consensual, multiparty, nation-state, colonial mentality, ethnic, tradition and modernity, Fante.