features of traditional african system of government

Pastoral economic systems, for example, foster communal land tenure systems that allow unhindered mobility of livestock, while a capitalist economic system requires a private land ownership system that excludes access to others and allows long-term investments on land. For example, the election day itself goes more or less peacefully, the vote tabulation process is opaque or obscure, and the entire process is shaped by a pre-election playing field skewed decisively in favor of the incumbents. The traditional justice system, thus, does not have the power to grant any rights beyond the local level. Constitutions of postcolonial states have further limited the power of chiefs. With the exceptions of a few works, such as Legesse (1973), the institutions of the decentralized political systems, which are often elder-based with group leadership, have received little attention, even though these systems are widespread and have the institutions of judicial systems and mechanisms of conflict resolution and allocation of resources, like the institutions of the centralized systems. Legitimate authority, in turn, is based on accepted laws and norms rather than the arbitrary, unconstrained power of the rulers. The same source concluded that 7 out of the 12 worst scores for political rights and civil liberties are African.11 As noted, the reasons vary: patrimonialism gone wrong (the big man problem), extreme state fragility and endemic conflict risks, the perverse mobilization of ethnicity by weak or threatened leaders. In addition to these measures, reconciling fragmented institutions would be more successful when governments invest more resources in transforming the traditional socioeconomic space. Traditional institutions already adjudicate undisclosed but large proportions of rural disputes. (No award was made in 50% of the years since the program was launched in 2007; former Liberian president Ellen John Sirleaf won the award in 2017. 3. This chapter examines traditional leadership within the context of the emerging constitutional democracy in Ghana. Not surprisingly, incumbent leaders facing these challenges look to short-term military remedies and extend a welcome to military partnerswith France, the United States, and the United Nations the leading candidates. This article contends that postcolonial African traditional institutions lie in a continuum between the highly decentralized to the centralized systems and they all have resource allocation practices, conflict resolution and judicial systems, and decision-making practices, which are distinct from those of the state. Regional governance comes into play here, and certain precedents may get set and then ratified by regional or sub-regional organizations. While empirical data are rather scanty, indications are that the traditional judicial system serves the overwhelming majority of rural communities (Mengisteab & Hagg, 2017). The Obas and Caliphs of Nigeria and the Zulu of South Africa are other examples. Its lack of influence on policy also leads to its marginalization in accessing resources and public services, resulting in poverty, poor knowledge, and a poor information base, which, in turn, limits its ability to exert influence on policy. The usual plethora of bour- During the colonial period, "tribe" was used to identify specific cultural and political groups in much the same way as "nation" is defined above. Certain offences were regarded as serious offences. This situation supported an external orientation in African politics in which Cold War reference points and former colonial relationships assured that African governments often developed only a limited sense of connection to their own societies. After examining the history, challenges, and opportunities for the institution of traditional leadership within a modern democracy, the chapter considers the effect of the current constitutional guarantee for chieftaincy and evaluates its practical workability and structural efficiency under the current governance system. Communities like the Abagusii, Ameru, Akamba, Mijikenda, and Agikuyu in Kenya had this system of government. There are very few similarities between democracy and dictatorship. The parallel institutional systems often complement each other in the continents contemporary governance. Nonhereditary selected leaders with constitutional power: A good example of this is the Gada system of the Oromo in Ethiopia and Kenya. The place and role of African Youth in Pre-independence African Governance Systems 19-20 1.7. Paramount chiefs with rather weak system of accountability: The Buganda of Uganda and the Nupe in Nigeria are good examples. Botswanas strategy has largely revolved around integrating parallel judicial systems. The nature of governance is central because it determines whether the exercise of authority is viewed as legitimate. There are also various arguments in the literature against traditional institutions.2 One argument is that chieftaincy impedes the pace of development as it reduces the relevance of the state in the area of social services (Tom Mboya in Osaghae, 1989). By 2016, 35 AU members had joined it, but less than half actually subjected themselves to being assessed. Furthermore, for generations, Africans were taught the Western notion of the tribe as . The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (Alkire, Chatterjee, Conconi, Seth, & Vaz, 2014) estimates that the share of rural poverty to total poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is about 73.8%. This process becomes difficult when citizens are divided into parallel socioeconomic spaces with different judicial systems, property rights laws, and resource allocation mechanisms, which often may conflict with each other. They are less concerned with doctrines and much more so with rituals . Department of Political Science, Pennsylvania State University, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Contentious Politics and Political Violence, Political Values, Beliefs, and Ideologies, Why African Traditional Institutions Endure, Authority Systems of Africas Traditional Institutions, Relevance and Paradox of Traditional Institutions, https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.1347, United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, Global Actors: Networks, Elites, and Institutions, Traditional Leaders and Development in Africa. Another issue that needs some clarification is the neglect by the literature of the traditional institutions of the political systems without centralized authority structures. As a result, customary law, which often is not recognized by the state or is recognized only when it does not contradict the constitution, does not protect communities from possible transgressions by the state. One can identify five bases of regime legitimacy in the African context today. In most African countries, constitutionally established authorities exercise the power of government alongside traditional authorities. Poor leadership can result in acts of commission or omission that alienate or disenfranchise geographically distinct communities. Another common feature is the involvement of traditional authorities in the governance process, at least at the local level. The nature of governance is central because it determines whether the exercise of authority is viewed as legitimate. The institution of traditional leadership in Africa pre-existed both the colonial and apartheid systems and was the only known system of governance among indigenous people. This layer of institutions is the subject of inquiry of this article. The Aqils (elders) of Somalia and the chiefs in Kenya are good examples. . The analysis presented here suggests that traditional institutions are relevant in a number of areas while they are indispensable for the governance of Africas traditional economic sector, which lies on the fringes of formal state institutions. Ideally, African nations will benefit when civil society respects the states role (as well as the other way around); rather than one-sided advocacy, both sides should strive to create a space for debate in order to legitimize tolerance of multiple views in society. For example, is it more effective to negotiate a power-sharing pact among key parties and social groups (as in Kenya) or is there possible merit in a periodic national dialogue to address issues that risk triggering conflict? Finally, the chapter considers the future of the institution against the background of the many issues and challenges considered. Overturning regimes in Africas often fragile states could become easier to do, without necessarily leading to better governance. On the one hand, traditional institutions are highly relevant and indispensable, although there are arguments to the contrary (see Mengisteab & Hagg [2017] for a summary of such arguments). One snapshot by the influential Mo Ibrahim index of African Governance noted in 2015 that overall governance progress in Africa is stalling, and decided not to award a leadership award that year. The laws and legal systems of Africa have developed from three distinct legal traditions: traditional or customary African law, Islamic law, and the legal systems of Western Europe. Ousted royals such as Haile Selassie (Ethiopia) and King Idriss (Libya) may be replaced by self-anointed secular rulers who behave as if they were kings until they, in turn, get overthrown. Traditional governments have the following functions; This is done through the enforcement agencies such as the police force. You could not be signed in, please check and try again. Typically, such leaders scheme to rig elections or to change constitutional term limitsactions seen in recent years in such countries as Rwanda and Uganda. In new countries such as most of those in Africa,7 where the rule of law is in competition with the rule of men, leaders play a strikingly critical role, for good or ill. Africas rural communities, which largely operate under subsistent economic systems, overwhelmingly adhere to the traditional institutional systems while urban communities essentially follow the formal institutional systems, although there are people who negotiate the two institutional systems in their daily lives. Cold War geopolitics reinforced in some ways the state-society gap as the global rivalry tended to favor African incumbents and frequently assured they would receive significant assistance from external powers seeking to build diplomatic ties with the new states. Hoover scholars form the Institutions core and create breakthrough ideas aligned with our mission and ideals. Chieftaincy is further plagued with its own internal problems, including issues of relevance, succession, patriarchy, jurisdiction, corruption and intra-tribal conflict. There are several types of government that are traditionally instituted around the world. A look at the economic systems of the adherents of the two institutional systems also gives a good indication of the relations between economic and institutional systems. Government and the Political System 2.1. On the other hand, weak or destructive governance is sometimes the source of conflicts in the first place. Non-official institutions and civil society may have very different ideas from the national government on this issue, leading to debates about legitimacy. The first three parts deal with the principal objectives of the article. The differences are in terms of how leaders come to assume their positions, how much power they command, and how accountable they are to their communities. Both can be identified as forms of governance. The Sultanes of Somalia are examples of this category and the community has specific criteria as to who is qualified to be a chief (Ahmed, 2017). The purpose is to stress that such efforts and the attendant will In direct contrast is the second model: statist, performance-based legitimacy, measured typically in terms of economic growth and domestic stability as well as government-provided servicesthe legitimacy claimed by leaders in Uganda and Rwanda, among others. This concept paper focuses on the traditional system of governance in Africa including their consensual decision-making models, as part of a broader effort to better define and advocate their role in achieving good governance. Extensive survey research is required to estimate the size of adherents to traditional institutions. References: Blakemore and Cooksey (1980). Keywords: Legal Pluralism, African Customary Law, Traditional Leadership, Chieftaincy, Formal Legal System Relationship With, Human Rights, Traditional Norms, Suggested Citation: Our data indicate that traditional leaders, chiefs and elders clearly still play an important role in the lives Perhaps a more realistic transitional approach would be to reconcile the parallel institutions while simultaneously pursuing policies that transform traditional economic systems. Since then, many more have been formulated, but the main themes and ideas have remained. Institutions represent an enduring collection of formal laws and informal rules, customs, codes of conduct, and organized practices that shape human behavior and interaction. Before delving into the inquiry, clarification of some issues would be helpful in avoiding confusion. The scope of the article is limited to an attempt to explain how the endurance of African traditional institutions is related to the continents economic systems and to shed light on the implications of fragmented institutional systems. A more recent example of adaptive resilience is being demonstrated by Ethiopias Abiy Ahmed. The point here is that peer pressure, examples, and precedents are especially important in a region of 54 states, many of them dependent on satisfactory relations with their neighbors. If more leaders practice inclusive politics or find themselves chastened by the power of civil society to do so, this could point the way to better political outcomes in the region. Settling a case in an official court, for example, may involve long-distance travel for villagers and it may require lawyers, translators, a long wait, and court fees, while a traditional court rarely involves such costs and inconveniences. In this view, nations fail because of extractive economic and political institutions that do not provide incentives for growth and stability. Authority in this system was shared or distributed to more people within the community. In light of this discussion of types of inclusion, the implications for dealing with state fragility and building greater resilience can now be spelled out. These different economic systems have corresponding institutional systems with divergent property rights laws and resource allocation mechanisms, disparate decision-making systems, and distinct judicial systems and conflict resolution mechanisms. The US system has survived four years of a norm-busting president by the skin of its teeth - which areas need most urgent attention? In most African countries, constitutionally established authorities exercise the power of government alongside traditional authorities.

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