Africa Works: Disorder As Political Instrument -Book Review.

Politics can and has be defined in so many ways depending on the school of thought.

According to Wikitionary Politics is a methodology and activities associated with running a government, an organization, or a movement.

Some say politics is a struggle for power and a continuation of war by other means.

While to another it is the authoritative allocation of values.

And for some other people politics is a game of numbers.

Whichever way you choose to see it, one thing is common and certain about politics. “People” Politics can’t take place without people.

This is the concluding part of the book review Africa Works. If you haven’t read the first part you can do so here and now let’s get right into it. Shall we?

TOWARD A NEW PARADIGM OF DEVELOPMENT.

Chabal and Daloz paradigm describes Africa’s development in terms of what they call the instrumentalization of disorder. The major claim is that Africa is in a state of disorder due to it ineffective institutions and corruption.

The state of disorder in Africa is active and an indication of a unique African developmental path where almost everyone is a participant and after their personal interest as a result of what they will gain from the corrupt system.

In Africa corruption has eaten deep in all nooks and cranny of the society which makes it decentralised.

Everyone, everywhere tries to benefit, for example, at airports, government ministries, local government agencies, health, customs etc. Everyone want his or her share making progress to encourage corruption.

Driving from Lagos to Cotonou for instance, a traveller is likely to come across a dozen of road blocks, manned by various police forces, custom officers, local authority officials, etc. each asking for the same document and bribes.

According to the IMF corruption and disorder in Africa is an instrument making profit and as to this effect there are losers in the politics of corruption.

Emphasis on poverty alleviation strategies by aid agencies and World Bank verified the concern about deepening poverty in Africa.

Wretched images of Africa’s poverty and diseases is a regular feature on international television.

Majority of these victims are children, women, youths and aged people. To this effect Chabal and Daloz also argued the need for cultural/psychological view as an important variable in analysing Africa’s developmental issues.

Some African academics who have in recent time adopted the same method are of the opinion that when the psychological factors are taken into consideration, then it will become clear that Africa is not declining, nor is it stagnant, but it is forging ahead, according to its own path, although at a great difference with existing models of developments and that Africa will map out a unique developmental path which is in line with a specific African mind set.

This mind set has been criticised by Chabal and Daloz as defective. For example was claimed by one author,

African elites, even when they use private jets and speculate in the world’s major financial centres still remain prey to irrational beliefs long disappeared in the west.

Also the psychological defects of the Africans has been described as the inability of government to make institutions more formal and impersonal relations.

These are bad indication and a contradiction between one end, and the claim that Africa will find its own unique developmental path, and on the other hand, the characterisation of the African mind set as defective.

REFERENCE
Africa works: Disorder as political instrument.

Kedmon N. Hungwe.

Falculty of education, university of Zambia.

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