Is Liberal Democracy Failing in Africa or Is Africa Failing under Liberal Democracy?

Among studies on prospects and challenges of democratization in the developing world with particular reference to issues of democratic sustenance and consolidation, a very limited body of work understudies Africa. Today, some states in Africa where liberal democracy was thought to be taking root have witnessed its truncation either through military putsches and/or social revolution. In some instances, many of these countries unconsciously have found themselves in crises so severe that they herald a bleak future for democratic practice. Accordingly, this study considers the problem with the consolidation of liberal democracy in Africa dual focused. It assumes that liberal democratization presents a systemic dilemma in the legitimation crisis that it poses for Africa. And, as a result, a set of endogenous factors, which over time have characterized contemporary African socio-political dynamics, nurse the consequent problem of a lack of democratic consolidation. However, experts and policymaking elite have long sought to mitigate this complex mix of disruptive forces within the polity by bringing the African logic of modernization into the realm of liberal governance. To this end, this study not only calls for the insertion of excluded African political thought and history into the discourse on regime legitimacy, but also transcends mono-causal stereotypes for democratic non-consolidation in Africa with a dialectical evaluation on the continent’s need to reinvent liberal democracy in line with local peculiarities and critical interests of its socio-political base, without sacrificing extant democratic rights, values, and principles.