Leaders, Ideology, Parties, Democratisation
Recently the african scholar, John Igue wrote:
A new generation of leaders has to be considered, who are capable of facing up to a number of challenges such as fragmentation of the region, history and knowledge, relaying the foundations of the post-colonial State, promotion of democracy and human rights and the implementation of new conditions for peace and freedom, the gauge of sustainable development.
He identifies two
underlying issues which persistently trouble
1) the future of the post-colonial State, because of the recurring socio-political crises with which it is faced and the difficulties experienced by the people in adapting to it;
2) the need to invent a new method of governance, without which the democratic process that has been embarked upon since 1990 risks being compromised. This can be seen already in the repeated rigging of elections and the progressive return of the military to power.
He the goes on:
Africa needs to come up with a new generation of leaders, who are capable of relaying the foundations of a post-colonial State in crisis and who are also capable of defending its populations’ interests better, based on unwavering respect for different State institutions.
This respect for institutions is still far from being a reality because of several contradictory influences on African political decision-makers.
Among these we could mention the persistent hegemony of the major powers
and the economic stakes that
Q: If he is right about today, what does 'western hegemonic power" do to the potential of African leadership?
If that is the current situation in
and what about Nyirubugara's argument:
"My argument is that the current African leadership crisis could
be better understood by tracing it back to the foundation laying stage. I will
He sees in these three leaderships very different styles that do not emanate from external conditions e.g. western oppression etc but more from different temperaments togh perhaps in relation to personal experience.
Aware of his exceptional
oratory skills, he opted for soft methods that would not suddenly shake the
colonizers’ minds. Despite some riots by his supporters that resulted in his
arrest Nkrumah, 1961: 6-7), Nkrumah strongly opposed violence. Beside his
speeches, he added The
Nyerere knew that his success relied in the methods he would choose. Like Nkrumah, he excluded bloodshed and abstained from immediately discussing sensible topics to avoid the anger of colonial masters who qualified him as a moderate (Van Harn, 1972: 19). This wise position enabled him to peacefully tour the country on behalf of the just-born Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). Van Harn remarks that the priority of the moment was to get closer to and educate the population rather than to confront the much powerful colonial masters. The British would even receive him as special guest and offer him police protection (Van Harn, 1972: 20-21).
attitude was different, incoherent and not stable. Unlike Nkrumah and Nyerere who had both
attended western universities, Lumumba left school after two years of secondary education.
With such limited education, he tried his lot in many trades including poetry,
journalism and post office (Lumumba, 1961: 12). In his book – Le Congo Terre d’avenir est-elle menacée?
 - originally drafted in 1956 but published five years later, Lumumba suggests ‘the adequate solutions, [ and the] new methods dictated by the imperatives of the
evolution of the
1956-1957 - it is clear that Lumumba has no
liberation agenda. The only urgent issue in his eyes was the low salaries
that Congolese workers earned (Lumumba, 1961: 23-24
and 30). His methods were rather against those in
Senegalese independence father Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906-2001) did not deny the benefits of
the French education for his people but he strongly rejected the idea that
On that same occasion, he announced his plan, which is strikingly similar to Nkrumah’s and Nyerere’s, as it stressed a learning period of autonomy before independence:
…while awaiting total independence, we advocate the federal solution within the French Union, feasible as from now . That would enable us to quickly assimilate modern techniques and to train the [future] executive staff who would then demand the autonomy for which we are already assured to reach (Senghor, 1971: 18).
The reason why and the time when Lumumba
metamorphosed into a vehement and uncompromising anti-colonialist remains
unclear. However, it might be argued that his bitterness towards
Belgian colonizers started with his imprisonment allegedly for theft during his
post office service time
 . That bitterness most likely took a political form
during the December 1958 Accra All African Peoples’ Conference.
Organised in Nkrumah’s independent
Undoubtedly, the stirring message of the
warlike tone (final assault) given by the
big difference of temper and approach
among the fathers of modern
Q: what do we think about these kinds of explanations?
and the power of rhetoric:
At last the battle has ended! And thus
Ghana, your beloved country, is free for ever…(Nkrumah, 1961: 106)… at this
great day let us all remember that nothing in the world can be done unless it
has the support of God…(Nkrumah, 1961: 107)… [ Replying
to Queen Elisabeth’s representative, the Duchess of
Q: How is Nkrumah playing both ends against the middle?
Lumumba’s arrogance on Independence Day and the
hostile atmosphere it reflected towards Belgians were crucial during the three
difficult months that he stayed in office. The humiliated and hurt Belgians sought an
alternative and supported the Katanga secession, mentored the removal, arrest
and murder of Lumumba who had had no time to
show his leadership skills in an independent free
And clever Nyerere: on
How for instance did:
Nkrumah in Ghana, Nyerere in Tanzania, Kenyatta
in Kenya, even Zik and Awolowo
in Nigeria, or Houphouet-Boigny in Cote d'Ivoire, Sekou-Toure in
What did they have?
the new immediate post-independence elite needed/had?
and outside inspirations
based in sometimes surprising radicalising non-african sources
rooted in political experience and connections/movements outside - in the wider world
that they can bring back to their people and agitate and disseminate (propaganda)
And the organisation/mobilisation of the masses via:
Propaganda - we mentioned this last week.
the main obstacle faced by these first African leaders was that of the Cold War between 1960 and 1990.
Nationalist zealots considered that only the left-wing ideology that was prevalent in the East could help them to
break away from the guardianship of the conquering Westerners. Therefore, almost all political parties which
the African Democratic Rally,
Ahmed Sékou Touré
the Convention People’s Party of Kwame Nkrumah in
Wise-man quality/Teacher and accompanying demeanour?
African radical nationalists who emerged from Christian missionary schools included such towering figures as Julius Nyerere, Tom Mboya, Eduardo Mondlane, Robert Mugabe, Leopold Sedar Senghor as well as Nkrumah.
Nkrumah said of himself: 'I am a Marxist-Leninist and a non-denominational Christian - and I see no contradiction in that'.
Q: How might you factorise the idea of Leadership and the Leader.
Case in point: Nkrumah
Occasional initially inspired and noticed for their seeming ability by missionaries, and travel and are educated in European or US universities and through making contacts, acquire anti-Imperialist ideas of de-colonisation 1930s/40s (not considered by Agbor et al)
"Western education was indirectly responsible for creating a group to whom access into the highest levels of the bureaucracy was denied and who constituted the core of the early nationalist movement on the Gold Coast. It was this minority of professional lawyers and intelligentsia who supplied the leadership of nationalist activities throughout most of the colonial period".
have links to political forces on the (radical even marxist/communist)
Take Nkrumah (future President of God Coast/Ghana)
Initially taught by missionaries, Nkrumah showed promise and trained as a teacher and came under the influence of the Deputy Head of a school where he was doing his teaching practice. Columbia-educated deputy headmaster Kwegyir Aggrey exposed him to the ideas of Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois. Aggrey, taught that there should be close co-operation between the races in governing the Gold Coast, but Nkrumah, echoing Garvey, soon came to believe that only when the black race governed itself could there be harmony between the races. Equally he heard Azikiwe (future President of Nigeria) speak and this reinforced Nkrumah's emerging idea of Black nationalism
He then went to the
"After twelve years abroad pursuing higher education, developing his political philosophy, and organizing with other diasporic pan-Africanists, Nkrumah returned to Gold Coast to begin his political career as an advocate of national independence."
God had ordained that certain among the African race should journey westwards to equip themselves with knowledge and experience for the day when they would be called upon to return to their motherland and to use the learning they had acquired to help improve the lot of their brethren. ...I had not realized at the time that I would contribute so much towards the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Kwame Nkrumah, The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah
But sure they need to demonstrate their wisdom via rhetoric that offers a vision which embraces critique of existing worlds, strategies towards a new world and a wide-angled theoretical discourse that has appeal in the form of an inspiration of a better world
and this is ideology
As such n the first genration of post-independence leaders it is the adopion of an ideology in its clasic sense of a 'world-intuition' that is perhaps the glue that links leaders to mass mobilisaion and membership of 'the party.
This forms what I mentioned in 'Security, new wars..' module - an epistemological community - yet this one is not one that comes fro the people but a top-down one from the Leader/Teacher. An invented one but nonetheless one that also makes sense to the people.
Perhaps in this case Nyerere's Ujamaa ideals speak better than Nkrumah's largely classical marxist 'Conscienscism'
By way of contrast with today:
Today...there is a general dearth of ideological discourse in contemporary African electoral politics.
Most of the paired comparisons we observe the membership bases of major parties within the same country are not distinguishable from one
another in terms of attitudes on the proper role of the state in the economy or on support for democratic institutions. We also find that, within major parties, attitudes in these areas is usually no less varied than it is within non-partisans in the same country as a group. Since these issues are fundamental sources of ideological cleavage in many political systems, the findings provide further evidence of the non-ideological
nature of political discourse in contemporary
...potential impacts of the generally non-ideological nature of African political competition, in terms of the structuration of individuals’ political attitudes. Elite-driven approaches would suggest that the dearth of ideologically toned messages would make it unlikely that citizens would structure their political attitudes according to identifiable dimensions.
Post-Third Wave African politics seem substantially different from the immediate post-independence era in a number of ways, one of the most significant being a decreased emphasis of ideological appeals in elite-mass communications. While many parties have not abandoned ideological rhetoric outright, electoral appeals are most commonly made on the bases of individual leaders’ personal characteristics ethnic and other affective identities
Conroy-Krutz & Lewis, (2011) AfroBarometer no.129, "MAPPING IDEOLOGIES IN AFRICAN LANDSCAPES"
European colonialism saw political arenas in many African countries filled with explicitly ideological parties. A number of early post-independence leaders developed or adhered to, at least rhetorically, variations of socialist ideologies.
Luís Cabral of
Kenneth Kaunda of
Modibo Kéïta of
Samora Machel Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO) Mozambique,
Alphonse Massemba-Débat of Congo-Brazzaville, National de la Révolution (CNR)
António Aghostino Neto of Angola, Conseil Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA),
Kwame Nkrumah of
Julius Nyerere of
Aristides Pereira of Cape Verde, the Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC),
Manuel Pinto da Costa of São Tomé e Príncipe, Movimento de Libertação de São Tomé e Príncipe (MLSTP
Ahmed Sékou Touré of
And their political parties crafted electoral appeals or other legitimizing messages accordingly.
Other African politicians in this time period embraced capitalist policies and orientations.
Félix Houphouët-Boigny and his mass party, the Parti Démocratique de
policies throughout the continent.
And the Union Camerounaise (UC) of Ahmadou Ahidjo maintained power in Yaoundé largely because of French patronage, and it supported pro-Western
Given the global power politics of the Cold War era, this type of self-identification along the capitalist-socialist dimension
could provide a party or politician with crucial support from the East or West.
For example, the struggle between rival politicians Oginga
Odinga and Tom Mboya of the
though same ethnicity (Luo)
they different ideological adherences for quite strategic reasons,
Odinga to attract support from the East,
Mboya from West Government leaders
Leaders commonly developed ideological rhetoric,
and they invested heavily in mass communication systems to disseminate propaganda.
So part of the qustion is did the new leaders 'mean' their ideology or was it all a charade to mobilise the people
from last week when we noted the political upbringing of the leader that ideology was simply a charade is most likely unfair but that is not to say that against the args that it was a lot of rhetoric and in the air visions. There is always a politics to visionary leaders.
"the problem confronted by the first crop of political elites or leaders in their various territories was how to mobilize the values and the energies of their people ,tradition and modern for the development of the territories after independence. It was within this atmosphere that African socialism emerged as a body of ideas" (Alofun, 2014)
But he question for some and Alofun argues in the affirmative is: was there an African ideology..and in the 60s and African socialism?
According to Friedland and Rosberg 1964, the common principles of the various versions of African socialism were: economic development guided by a large public sector, incorporating the African identity and what it means to be African, and the avoidance of the development of social classes within
society. Senghor claimed that "Africa's social background of tribal community life not only makes socialism natural to Africa but excludes the validity of the theory of class struggle," thus making African socialism, in all of its variations, different from Marxism and European socialist theory
What then is African socialism?
The fact that the originators and proponents are of different temperament and have not often spoken with one voice makes it difficult to give a univocal meaning of the concept . However for a working definition we may say that African socialism is an attempt to recapture and modernize the communal way of life practiced by the traditional African before the exposure to the world and values of the white man.
Also we can say that it is a search for an altogether different type of a social system with its root in African soil. It was in this vein that Tom Mboya conceives of African socialism as a political philosophy which stands to restore national values, communal social practice and above all to restore the traditional values in the African socialist mentality and outlook, and to create more values in the changing world of money economy to build an economy which reflects the thinking of the great majority of people.
Mboya‟s list of basic values and social practices of traditional African consist of the communal spirit, hospitality, hard - work,generosity acceptance and practice of equalitarianism, communal ownership of land, equality of opportunities for all tribal loyalty and so on.
Nyerere also views African socialism or „Ujamaa Socialism” as he terms it, as more than a political system, it is a philosophy, a world view as well as a gateway to African selfhood. Nyerere asserts that African socialism is: Essentially an attitude of the mind which involves a change in personal
attitude and a reconciliation of individuals but goes beyond these to effect structural change consistence with the socialist outlook creating a pattern of justice in which creative and justice in which equality and freedom of all will be assured.
Therefore, African socialism calls the modern man back to the land and culture as the source of authentic social progress and self -hood for there seem to be regretful awareness by the present day African, that being exposed to European education, culture, values and capitalist exploitative tendency has eroded from the African his true self and has alienated him for his development, hence the need to pursue progress from the roots of the African culture
Let us look at Nkrumah's 1967 paper: 1967 paper by Nkrumah -
Does he argue for an African socialism?
and Nyerere who according to Derek Gideon:
"Nyerere is perhaps best known for his politics of Ujamaa (“familyhood” in Swahili), a vision of socialist development rooted in traditional forms of extended family and collective property. According to Nyerere’s 1962 pamphlet “Ujamaa—the Basis of African Socialism,” “Africans have no more need of being ‘converted’ to socialism than we have of being ‘taught’ democracy. Both are rooted in our past—in the traditional society which produced us” (Nyerere 1967, 170). Rejecting a Marxist vision of class struggle, Nyerere writes that Ujamaa is different from both “capitalism, which seeks to build a happy society on the basis of the exploitation of man by man” and “doctrinaire socialism which seeks to build its happy society on a philosophy of inevitable conflict between man and man” (Nyerere 1967, 170). In contrast, Ujamaa
would extend the traditional family unit outward towards a project for building the nation. Tensions between Ujamaa as a vision of traditional village life and its implementation at the level of a modern nation-state and international politics would remain an ongoing issue..."
Ujamaa villages” based around collective agriculture came to occupy a central place in the Ujamaa vision of development. Originally intended to be voluntary, villagization eventually came to be enforced as a matter of government policy
'was ever thus - ideology becomes a basis for authoritarianism
Nyerere on Socialism: Statement on Ujamaa
Apart from the anti-social effects of the accumulation of personal wealth, the very desire to
accumulate it must be interpreted as a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the social system. For when a
society is so organized that it cares about its individuals, then, provided he is willing to work, no
individual, then within that society should worry about what will happen to him tomorrow if he
does not hoard wealth today. Society itself should look after him, or his widow, or his orphans.
This is exactly what traditional African society succeeded in doing. Both the ‘rich’ and the ‘poor’
individual were completely secure in African society.
In traditional African society everybody was a worker. There was no other way of earning a
living for the community. Even the Elder, who appeared to be enjoying himself without doing
any work and for whom everybody else appeared to be working, had, in fact, worked hard all his
younger days. The wealth he now appeared to possess was not his, personally; it was only ‘his’
as the Elder of the group which had produced it. He was its guardian.
Our first step, therefore, must be to re-educate ourselves; to regain our former attitude of mind.
In our traditional African society we were individuals within a community. We took care of the
community, and the community took care of us. We neither needed nor wished to exploit our
fellow men. And in
rejecting the capitalist attitude of mind which colonialism brought into
reject also the capitalist methods which go with it.
We must not allow the growth
of parasites here in
back to the traditional African custom of land-holding. That is to say a member of society will be
entitled to a piece of land on condition that he uses it. Unconditional, or ‘freehold’, owner ship of
land (which leads to speculation and parasitism) must be abolished. We must, as I have said,
regain our former attitude of mind – our traditional African socialism – and apply it to the new
societies we are building today. TANU has pledged itself to make socialism the basis of its
policy in every field.
The foundation, and the objective, of African socialism is the extended family. The true African
socialist does not look on one class of men as his brethren and another as his natural enemies. He
does not form an alliance with the ‘brethren’ for the extermination of the ‘non - brethren’.
He rather regards all men as his brethren –as members of his ever extending family. That is why
the first article of TANU’S Creed is: ‘Binadamu wote ni ndugu zangu, na Afrika ni moja ’. If this
had been originally put in English, it could have been: ‘I believe in Human Brotherhood and the
The Arusha Declaration 1967
Nyerere extends his socialism beyond Africaness and family/brotherhood.
Bienen (1969) comments:
the Tanganyika African National
Union (TANU), the ruling party on the mainland of
The Arusha Declaration does not aim to create a. classless society at the expense of the country's economic development, but it gives social goals primacy over more narrowly defined economic ones.
It calls for a rectification of a mistaken emphasis in the past on industrial growth, and a new concern with agriculture and rural society in general. The agricultural policy also emphasizes self-reliance in instructing the people to be self-sufficient in food, clothing and housing. The country is to exploit its resources of land and agriculture, the people and good leadership. The policy of socialism and self-reliance is itself seen as an exploitable resource.
Arusha's economic policy breaks with the recent
past only to return to some specific measures of an earlier period. For the
primacy of rural development, with emphasis on cottage industry, primary
schooling and piecework payment in communally organized work settings all had
their precedents in the colonial period. The political and social context in
which these practices are now to be undertaken, however, is obviously greatly
different from that of colonial times and even from that of
Indeed, Arusha is a reaction against
and this is a challenge to westernisation that is taking place under the guise of modernization programmes.
Bienen is quite excited by it. He notes:
We shall look at Post-Independence leadership of African states and the forma and uses of Ideology (usually left-wing onesi.e. types of marxism and/or non-revolutionary socialism
***So for starters try this very short and slightly simplistic summary - but it's ok-ish
*** A better review by a Nigerian writer summarising in more academic but readable terms matters of leadership and ideology
You may wish to look at this chapter (from Google books) pages 32-40
I note the chapter is from a book publishd by Nkrumah House which may indicate a somewhat biased provenance! But it reads ok and it political analysis of leaders and ideology makes sense
Here is a critical piece by an African academic on post-idenpendence leadership, democracy, party, and ideological visions.
Worth reading all the way through though at least have a look at the first two sections
Very good if long piece about the new leaders and their ideas and politics. From Socialist Register 1966 - so a leftist informed analysis
*** Here is another serious and scholarly piece about African economic development and Socialist ideals (1968) (Have a go)
But we need to explore the linkages between Leaders and Ideology as a function of consolidation of power as well as a vision for development so we need to lok at the pure world of a somewhat eccentric ideology: Nkrumah's Consciencism as well as the more implementable socialist ideals of Nyerere's visions for Tanzania.
*** With the latter in mind see this piece by Bienen from 1969 on the Arusha Declaration, the Politics of Ujamaa and Tanzania.
Good scholarly piece:Post
3 main leaders and their ideologies
Nkrumah's ideas and Sociaism and Conscienscism:
*** Here is a 1967 paper by Nkrumah - seems a bit empty of substantive ideas to me but you try it
Here is a rather good and long Masters thesis (1972) from the Australian National Univesity by Brophy on Nkrumah's ideology and policies
*** Julius Nyerere & Ujamaa, leaders of post-idependence Tanzania. Statement on Ujamaa
***Short readable pice on Ujamaa
A PhD thesis on the Ujamaa! (but recent 2012)
*** (try the opening bit to get the feel of the report) Kenyatta and Policy Implementation. Here is an interesting report from the Kenyan Government in 1965 signed off by Kenyatta looking at African Socialism and Planing in
Useful portrait of Kenyatta and leadership and politics in post-independence Kenya