Sunday, June 23, 2013

NEVIS Review No 19 ,Section III ,Ref# 19.3

NEVIS Review No 19

Section III

Ref# 19.3

June 17, 2013
(Ed’s note. The following is part II of an article titled “The Promises & Pitfalls of Pan-Africanism
Ideological and agency trajectories for African Integration”. Part I appeared in NEVIS Review Ref#18.2.Dr Costantinos is a Professor of Public Policy, School of Graduate Studies, Addis Ababa University)
The Promises & Pitfalls of Pan-Africanism
Ideological and agency trajectories for African Integration

Part II

By Costantinos BT Costantinos, PhD
4. Ideological basis for Pan-Africanism and African unification

Significantly, political unification depends upon the emergence of supportive set of political institutions that are recurrent and valued patterns of political behavior that give shape and regularity to politics. They may be manifested as political rules or as political organisations including customary political norms and practices. The prospects for sustainable livelihoods partly depend on habitual attitudes and behaviour among the population at large. (Costantinos, BT., 1996) From theoretical perspectives, political culture best predicts the prospects for unification. These explanatory factors operate at different level of analysis and each has its own data requirements. The power of a given set of factors to explain possibilities for political unification, the susceptibility of concepts to empirical investigation, and the potential of the approach to generate policy recommendations, however, will no wonder lead to an imperative to adopt “an institutional approach”. Hence, the hypothesis is
The upshot of the development of political culture for African unification depends on the configuration of political institutions in state and civil society. The key research question becomes:
"is the endowment of institutions in society and state conducive to African unification?"

Here one is tempted to underwrite the hypothesis on the formation and sustainability of the real African Unity as opposed to the formal, vacuous institutional evolution that has been creeping since the fifties. The development of political culture for African total unification depends on the configuration of political institutions in state and civil society. Hence the endowment of institutions in society and state conducive to African unification is sine qua non for ultimate political integration. The goals may be amenable to description not only at the level of what he broadly and formally acknowledges as the aims, but also in terms of implicative objectives and purposes and specific tactics and processes that inform a variety of activities
leading to one politically, socially and economically integrated Africa. True there exist insurmountable obstacles to African unification as illustrated by Museveni, nevertheless a skilled and committed citizenry and state leadership can prevail over this and achieve integration in a short time.
4.1. Agency:
Participants in and around projects of African unification generally constitutes a network or intersection of institutions and groups: governments, opposition groups and intellectuals that operate outside official government channels and struggle for a share of power or influence. In some cases, a free, though constitutionally and legally not very well protected, press; local nongovernmental organisations involved in promoting African unification at the grassroots as well as in civic, professional associations and multilateral and bilateral agencies and private sector groups which collectively exert far-reaching external influence over political reform. Generally, the larger the number and degree of diversity of participants actively involved, the greater the variation. Uncertainty and complexity of forms of agency and activity possible, and the more open and free the transition process is likely to be in its formal as well as informal aspects. Admittedly, the interesting actors typically have their own primary "functions" quite apart from their role in promoting globalisation. Every one of the players is geared toward specific interests, concerns and activities beyond or outside the ends of unification. Even if they are expressly committed to promoting reform, it is always possible for participants to lose themselves in the specifics and "forget" the process as a whole. To restate the basic point, the extent and nature of openness of African unification are conditioned by the breadth of the range of available participants and the degree of uncertainty and complexity that charact-erised their agency and functional relations. Structural constraints on possibilities of African unification are reinforced by specific, more or less conscious, uncertainty and complexity; reducing activities of key participants that may be characterised by rules and forms of political engagement that are in constant flux and may lead to any number of unpredictable alternative outcomes. Also, the proliferation of varied aid conditionalities tied to specific policies and sectors - structural adjustment programmes to be implemented, good governance reform measures to be taken, administrative codes to be followed, human rights to be protected, and so on - often outpace the development of coherent unification standards, rules and concepts by and within nation-states. (Ibid)
4.2. Ideology:
Beyond the sphere of political agency, possibilities and problems of African unification openness can be grasped in terms of the related domain of ideology. Ideological elements and constructs might be seen as the very constitutive structure of process openness and closure. Transition to African unification will commonly be characterised by a number of distinctive and shared additional elements, including concepts and rules of government, national and cultural values, traditions of political discourse and arguments, and modes of representation of specific interests, needs and issues. These elements, or complexes of elements, will tend to assume varying forms and to enter into shifting relations of competition, co-operation and hegemony during political reform. Generally, the broader the range of ideological elements at plays in a transition to African unification to globalisation, and the more varied and uncertain their relations, the greater the possibilities of process openness and transparency that exist.
Like the transition to African unification of politics and political organisations and activities to which they are often tied more or less closely, transition to globalised ideological constructs tend to be unsettled and, at times, unsettling. Particularly at these initial stages of transition to globalisation, they are more likely to be uncertain rather than stable structures of ideas and values. This has the effect of opening up the entire African unification process, of freeing the process from simple domination by any one organised actor or coalition of actors. Yet, global ideological elements and relations take shape and come into play within a hierarchy of global and local agencies and groups. A determinate order of institutions, powers, interests and activities operate through complexes of transition to African unification ideas and values, filling out, specifying, anchoring and, often short-cutting their formal content or meaning. (Ibid)

Thus, the fact that promoters or supporters of African unification and development often do not efficiently realise in practice the potential of the ideas and goals they promote, that the volume of their interventions is not nearly proportional to their impact raises the issue of whether the ideas in question may be fundamentally constrained at the moment of their conception and implementation by the very institutions and technocratic structures that ground their articulation. Within countries, the supply of ideas of African unification may be artificially deflated by particular strategies and mechanisms used by incumbent governments to manage entire reform processes. Conceptual possibilities may be left unrealised, or sub-optimally realised, insofar as governing elite are preoccupied with filling out those spaces of uncertainty in transition to African unification political thought, discourse and action that alternative parties would occupy in the course of their own engagement. (Ibid)

It has to do with creating conditions for the existence of the broadest possible range of opinions and sentiments. But, as important as it is, this is only one context or level or analysis of the breadth and depth of the African unification process on the terrain of ideology. There is another level of analysis, concerned with the extent and nature of openness of distinct ideological constructs to one another, with modes of articulation of given sets of ideas and values and of representations of specific issues relative to others. The concern here is not so much the number and diversity of ideas, values and opinions allowed to gain currency during African unification as modes of their competitive and co-operative articulation are. For example,
-Does Pan-Africanism enter national transition processes as an external ideology, constructing and deploying its concepts in sterile abstraction from national values?
- Does African unification come into play in total opposition to, or in co-operation with historic national values and sentiments?
- Does African unification processes signify change in terms of the transformation of the immediate stuff of national politics into an activity mediated and guided by objective and critical unification standards, rules and principles?
4.3.Forging Economic Alliances and Strategies

African unification and alliances between state and civil society face many limitations in the sphere of institutional development. African groups have been unable to establish a clear and coherent voice nationally or regionally on issues, which are crucial to their international advocacy work, or to the interest of the communities they profess to serve. This contravenes the ideals, standards and rules of effective networking management process. It also encourages well-meaning individuals to alienate themselves from the process, rather participate in it and work to improve it. While many proposals for remedial action have been formulated, real commitment to collaborative processes at inter organisational level has always been limited. Mobilising the action required has also remained a daunting challenge, as many practical and structural constraints militate against commitment by individual groups to inter organisational initiatives nationally and regionally. The advantages of such a process would mean wider market base and production potential, increased competitiveness, development of secondary processing, development of tourist potential, bring out the critical production edge, develop the requisite negotiating leverage by developing cross national skills in international negotiations as have Asian countries have done via the ASEAN, exchange of lessons in all of the above: Africa must reinforce its knowledge management strategy to participate in the global arena. State institutions must accept as a universal right that the rights and obligations of citizenship are not gifts from the state institution or party. The relationships must be based on the following generic notions: humility and optimism, macroeconomic prudence, and the right to development. Achieving human security, the development of social capital and the logic of collective action relates to the interface between the various elements that contribute directly to enhancing competitiveness; buttressed by advocacy, public relations and affairs work in enlightening society, social marketing in selling new ideas and ‘cultures’ and enabling
negotiations strategies.

4.4.Regional alliances to enhance integration leverage of African societies:

4.4.1. Mission and regional partnership framework
The development objective in African unification is to enhance livelihood security through regional development through a comprehensive programme on regional and sub-regional trade development and supportive policies and guidelines including a monitoring system for their efficacy. The vision of the partnership is livelihood securities that promote the development of human and social capital in Africa; while the mission is to mobilise nations and regional and sub-regional organisations to redirect and expand political, programme and financial commitment and action. The value of the international partnership should embrace a set of common values and principles based on strong African political leadership and commitment as the basis for effective action. It should also have strong country focus and orientation to locally set priorities, local institutions, including local governments, NGOs and other community-based organisations. Institutions prepared to join the Partnership must respect its values, a sense of shared responsibility among all partners, transparency of action and accountability for results. This will entail development of regional cooperation and coordination for building regional consensus on key policy areas, seeking of solutions to global economic and social issues and promotion of capacity building better implemented at regional level, promotion of exchange of information and appropriate techniques, technical know-how and relevant experience; promotion of scientific and technological cooperation; coordination of sub-regional and regional research activities and
identification of regional priorities for research and development; coordination of networks for systematic observation and assessment and information exchange, as well as their integration into world wide networks;
 The critical role of human qualities in meeting the challenges of Africa: We need to accord the critical role of the human factor in creating sustained human development, its proper place within the process of development management in Africa. The human factor underscores the rationale for the need for a revolutionary action plan. A major contributing factor to the appalling situation is that there is and has been a shallow understanding of, and a feeble grip on, the essential components that constitute the required human qualities for development, and the intensive and comprehensive nature of their development and utilisation processes. Labour administration, employment laws and regulations and civil service policies and personnel
management practices have long been on the books in many countries. As such, important components and commitment required to build and use a quality labour force for accelerating and sustaining growth are not properly addressed in the education, training and productivity programmes. Efforts have failed to produce and retain the necessary pool of self-confident, healthy, knowledgeable and skilled labour force, which is full of initiatives and resourcefulness with a sense of purpose, work ethics, vision, integrity and direction.
4.4.2.Methodological conceptualisation of African unification:
The structural factor most commonly cited as favouring African political unification is an advanced industrial economy which can provide a high average of per capita national income. On the other hand, from a contingent perspective, African unification is installed as a result of the conscious reform initiatives of individual leaders, elite factions and social movements -- the trajectory of transitions is driven by the short-term calculations and immediate reactions of strategic actors. Finally, political unification depends upon the emergence of supportive set of political institutions. Institutions are recurrent and valued patterns of political behaviour that give shape and regularity to politics. They may be manifest as political rules (either legal or informal) or as political organisations. As the building blocks of African unification, certain combinations of political institutions must be extant or emergent if pan-Africanism is to occur.
A methodology and protocol which seeks to employ all of the above perspectives and methods can be neither coherent nor manageable. The first order of business is therefore to choose a principal conceptual framework to guide data collection, collation and analysis. Hence, we will try to adopt an "institutional" approach. The thesis of study is that the prospects, nature and outcomes of political transition depend on the configuration of national political institutions in State and civil society. An institutional approach would appear to offer considerable explanatory power. The widespread incidence of social conflict and political instability in Africa is directly attributable to basic weaknesses of political institutions. African states have greatly
expanded since independence, especially in terms of the number of public employees and the share of public consumption in the government budget. But this growth has not usually been accompanied by a concomitant improvement in the capacity of the State to extend authority throughout the territory, to extract revenues, or to deliver public services. The key research question becomes: "is the endowment of political institutions in each member country conducive to African unification?"
We contend that political transitions into unification can be explained with reference to two institutional factors: political organisations and political rules. The central hypothesis is that the relative strength of national political organisations determines the rules of the political game that are installed. In taking an institutional perspective, we assume that national actors express preferences through organisations and that these organisations vary in strength according to their resource base. The relevant organisations are found both in society, where they represent and aggregate individual interests, and in the State, where they check and balance national executive authority that may hamper African unification. In order to determine whether African political unification is possible, the protocol and methodology should enable Africa to document whether effective political practices have been broadened to allow more participation, competition, accountability, transparency and predictability in the road leading to African unification. Often this will involve the imposition of formal rules in a situation where personal discretion has been the order of the day. African unification in part involves the acceptance by all participants to subordinate their political behaviour to an agreed upon set of (usually written) ‘continental’ rules.

Generic characteristics that apply in relation to decisions related to African unification by State and non-State organisations in any given African country setting are Autonomy, Capacity, Complexity and Cohesion. In combination, these characteristics determine the relative strength or weakness of a nation or organisations in the political spectrum. A Pan-African organisation that selects its own leaders, raises its own revenues, has a popular base, has adequate staff and budget, is organised for specialised tasks, and puts forward a common front to the world is stronger than an organisation that lacks these characteristics. In addition, such an organisation that is democratic in its own internal procedures is more likely to contribute positively to a democratic transition at the national level than one that is not.

5. Conclusion:

If the renaissance that will bring Africa into the global arena is going to happen, we must first and foremost understand that the authority of state derives from the will of the people and may be exercised only in accordance with that will. It follows therefore that it is the right and responsibility of the people, not the state, to determine what constitutes the public good. This is fundamental to the principle that the authority of state derives from the will of the people. The State is ideally an instrument of the people, created by the people to serve their will. Those state officials whose actions reveal an underlying belief that their positions confer on them a superior wisdom and rights to regulate the behaviour of others by their personal definition of the public interest engage in a misuse of state's coercive power. They violate the public trust that has been
vested in them, and demonstrate that they are unfit for state service. Multipartyism, electoral democracy and basic human rights are necessary but not adequate conditions for participatory development. AU must ensure that nations are committed to legislating the political rights of individuals, citizen's groups, protecting, restoring and sustaining lives and cultures, develop laws and systems to monitor and ensure the observance of human rights. Almost half a century ago, the human community proclaimed a bold and revolutionary vision of the future.
In conclusion, the monumental challenges in front of Africa are identifying ways and means of helping to foster institutions which currently do not exist; reorienting institutions which have been diverted to non-democratic ends; building in-country capacity for democratic governance on the basis of our demand. The prospects, nature and outcomes of democratisation depend on the configuration of political institutions (as manifest in political rules or organisations) in state and civil society. The key question is therefore whether the endowment of political institutions is conducive to democratisation and hence unification. While, there is a consensus that states cannot be solely responsible for managing the crisis and we recognise that future efforts must accord people themselves, communities and their organisations a substantial and expanded role.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that future progress depends on negotiating a trend toward greater institutional pluralism and broad based participation in the mobilisation and management of resources. All of a sudden, the concept of a benevolent dictatorship has become an illusion. Dictatorships disrupt the foundations of social accord and the very social fabric that make people the direct agents, goals and means of development.

The author further asserts that human quality and capital development must feature prominently in a continent bankrupted of its precious human capital leaving behind an ill-prepared leadership; handicapped fatally to lead national consensus; as learning systems and cultures collapse, some, beyond repair. These are then the requisite basis for regional advocacy, cooperation and construction and deployments of alliances and develops the strategic framework for communities of practice; underlining the need to develop the rights based approach to unification and coalitions that must happen both at national and regional levels; networked into communities of practice focussed on advocacy, public relations, negotiation, and social marketing in addition to a systematic knowledge management. Economically, socially, politically there exist almost insurmountable obstacles to African unification and the flourishing of international trade. Nevertheless, there is no reason to believe that Africa’s unification is doomed. A skilled and committed civic and state leadership can mitigate conditions that are hostile to unification.
The AU Commission (AUC) as a central organ of the Union has yet to focus on the primary and strategic interests of Africa because of its ideological muddle, core mission incoherence, corporate incapacity and the tendency to be petrified of building strategic institutions. Further, the AUC is dependent on donors that compromise its autonomy of decision-making. The glut of inter-governmental bodies and regional organisations professing to represent organised pan- Africanism on the continent has failed to claim new integration frontiers in the 21st century. Such a feat originates directly from the governance frailty within the AUC and the mismatch between norms set in treaties and institutions on one hand, and their implementation on the other. Within current projects of African political reform, enlightenment and shared values are
either conventionalised or sterilised on terrain of theory and often vacuously formalised on the ground of practice and enter African society in relatively abstract, syncretic and plain form, yet are expected to land on immediate and vital African polity's socio-political experience. It suggests itself and seems within reach; only to elude, and appears readily practicable only to resist realisation.
Thus, operationalisation of the plethora of existing legal and institutional frameworks should take priority. Dr Dlamini-Zuma’s legitimacy will rest on revolutionising the Commission to make it relevant to Africans and her term must not be another round of rule making, but of implementation. The author is comforted by Dr Dlamini-Zuma’s view of Africa that paints a positive vista of the continent's prospects as the next pole of growth and prosperity; nonetheless, an important dynamic in AUC corporate maturity is the critical role of human qualities in creating a sustained policy, strategic and organisational faculty. In order to undertake such a colossal errand, Dr Dlamini-Zuma needs to engage, highly qualified think tanks that are able to drive the vision of Africa First. Think Tanks continually remodel, expand, advance, renovate, cultivate and develop mighty economies even when their models are doing well.
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