Debate from ROAPE Volume 16 Number 45/46
Questions about Democracy
We are pleased to feature five articles which raise serious questions about problems of building a democratic future for Africa. The five papers do not offer either a single perspective or a range of alternatives on such a future; nor would we wish them to have done so. Instead they are intended to highlight particular, crucial issues which need to be addressed and confronted. Earlier versions of three of the papers, those by Beckman, Boyd and Fine, were presented to the 1989 ROAPE Conference, Taking Democracy Seriously: Socialists and Democracy in Africa (University of Warwick, 22-24 September 1989). A fourth, by Sachikonye, was written for this issue, while that by Hutchful is an abbreviated version of a paper which has appeared elsewhere (see bibliographic note). The papers by Beckman and Fine address general, systemic issues about how democracy is perceived and defined. The other three consider specific problems, all of them of central importance in the present conjuncture: the empowerment of women, the one-party state and the role of the military in constitution-making.