Print page

Protecting Minority Rights in African Countries

A Constitutional Political Economy Approach John Mukum Mbaku, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor of Economics & John S. Hinckley Fellow, Attorney & Counselor at Law (Licensed in Utah), Weber State University, US
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.
Extent: c 368 pp
Hardback Price: $150.00 Web: $135.00
Publication Date: January 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78643 860 7
Availability: Not yet published
$0.00

Buy the E-book

  • eISBN: 978 1 78643 861 4

Join our mailing list

  • Development Studies
  • Development Studies
  • Law and Development
  • Law - Academic
  • Human Rights
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Political Economy
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Social Policy in Emerging Countries
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.

Mbaku offers a comprehensive analysis of various approaches to the management of diversity, and shows how these approaches can inform Africa’s struggle to promote peace and good governance. He explores in depth the existence of dysfunctional and anachronistic laws and institutions inherited from the colonial state, and the process through which laws and institutions are formulated or constructed, adopted, and amended. A close look at the constitutional experiences of the American Republic provides important lessons for constitutional design and constitutionalism in Africa. Additionally, comparative politics and comparative constitutional law also provide important lessons for the management of diversity in African countries. Mbaku recommends state reconstruction through constitutional design as a way for each African country to provide itself with laws and institutions that reflect the realities of each country, including the necessary mechanisms and tools for the protection of the rights of minorities.

From students and scholars to NGOs, lawyers and policymakers, this unique and judicious book is an essential tool for all those seeking to understand and improve governance and development in Africa.
‘An excellent exposition of the policy imperative for African countries to find ways to ensure peaceful coexistence of their ethnic groups and provide the enabling environment for inclusive growth and development. Mbaku has convincingly applied Buchanan’s constitutional political economy model to show how African countries can use constitutional design so that laws and institutions can provide the wherewithal for peaceful coexistence and create the enabling environment for growth and development. Recommended reading for political economy scholars, rights activists, and African policy-makers.'
– Kempe Ronald Hope, Sr., Development Practice International, Canada
Contents: Preface 1. General introduction: issues in Africa’s efforts to protect the rights of minority groups 2. The historical foundations of the problem 3. The critical domains in the postindependence period 4. Confronting poverty and underdevelopment in Africa today 5. Why process is important in constitutional design 6. Process-driven constitutional design, legitimacy and minority rights: constituent assemblies 7. Process-driven constitutional design, legitimacy and minority rights: the constitution-making process 8. The importance of legitimacy to compliance and constitutional maintenance in Africa 9. Enhancing the protection of minority rights in Africa: lessons from US constitutional practice 10. Thinking of political democracy 11. Comparative constitutional law and the management of ethnocultural diversity 12. Enhancing the protection of minority rights in Africa: consociational democracy 13. Polyarchy, participation and minority rights in Africa 14. Governance and group-differentiated citizenship in the African countries 15. Constitutional design, constitutionalism and the protection of minority rights in Africa: the way forward Index