Decentralization and Constitutionalism in Africa

ISBN : 9780198846154

Charles M. Fombad; Nico Steytler
624 Pages
171 x 246 mm
Pub date
Aug 2019
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This collection of essays examines the efforts of African governments to bring regional governance mechanisms into their constitutions. Since the end of the Cold War jurisdictions across Africa have witnessed a return to multi-party democracy within the paradigm of constitutionalism and the rule of law. In order to promote constitutionalism during the 1990s many countries took steps to decentralize power by departing from the heavily centralized systems inherited from colonial regimes. The centralization of power, typically characterized by the personalization and concentration of power in the hands of leaders and privileged elites in capital cities, was a crucial factor in enabling repressive regimes. Since the independence movement of the 1960s, African governments have sought to disperse and share powers at all levels of society. This volume examines a variety of forms and degrees of decentralization found across Africa. It advances a new understanding of trends and patterns and facilitates the exchange of ideas among African governments still in the throes of democratization.


Charles M. Fombad: Introduction
Part I: Introductory Overview
1 Nico Steytler: The Relationship between Decentralization and Constitutionalism in Africa: Concepts, Conflicts, and Hypotheses
2 Yash Ghai: Ethnicity, Decentralization, and Constitutionalism: A Comparative Perspective
3 Charles M. Fombad: Regional and Continental Frameworks for Decentralization in Africa: The African Charter on Decentralization
Part II: Federal and Hybrid Federal Systems in Africa
4 Rotimi T. Suberu: Constitutional Infidelity and Federalism in Nigeria
5 Yonatan Fessha: A Federation without Federal Credentials: The Story of Federalism in a Dominant Party State
6 Nico Steytler: The Dynamic Relationship between Devolution and Constitutionalism in South Africa
7 Balingene Kahombo: Regionalizing Provinces under the Congolese Constitution of 18 February 2006: Progress and Challenges
8 Conrad M. Bosire: Implementation of Devolution under Kenya's 2010 Constitution: Political Resistance and the Struggle for the Ideals of Constitutionalism
9 Zemelak Ayitenew Ayele: Constitutionalism: The Missing Element in South Sudan's Elusive Quest for Peace through Federalism?
Part III: Decentralisation, Local Government, and Constitutionalism
10 Jaap de Visser: Constitutionalisation of Local and Regional Government in South Africa, Uganda, and Lesotho
11 Kofi Quashigah: Decentralization for Participatory Governance under Ghana's 1992 Constitution: The Rhetoric and the Reality
12 Tinashe Chigwata: Decentralization and Constitutionalism in Zimbabwe: Can the Leviathan be Tamed?
13 Charles M. Fombad: Cameroon and the Anomalies of Decentralization with a Centralist Mindset
14 Joseph Hengelela Cihunda: Decentralised Territorial Entities and Promotion of Local Governance under the Constitution of 18 February 2006 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
15 Andre Thomashausen: The Concept and Implementation of 'Gradual Decentralization' in Mozambique
16 Sherif Elgebeily: Progress and Pitfalls in Constitutional Reform: Decentralization in the Wake of the Arab Spring in Egypt and Tunisia
17 Christophe Van der Beken: Subnational Constitutional Autonomy, Local Government, and Constitutionalism in Ethiopia
Part IV: Traditional Institutions and Decentralisation
18 Jan Erk: Constitutionalisation of Traditional Authorities and the Decentralization of Governance: Anglophone and Francophone Africa Compared
19 Christa Rautenbach: Mapping Traditional Leadership and Authority in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Decentralization and Constitutionalism in Traditional Governance
20 Musa Njabulo Shongwe: The Tinkhundla Decentralization System: Is this a Blend of Traditional and Modern State Governance that Works?
Part V: General Conclusion
21 Nico Steytler: The Symbiotic Relationship between Decentralization and Constitutionalism in Africa

About the author: 

Charles M. Fombad is Professor of Law and leads the African Constitutional Law Unit at the Institute for International and Comparative Law at the University of Pretoria. He has taught at the University of Botswana, the University of Yaounde II, and was visiting Professor at the Universities of Dschang and Buea in Cameroon. From 2003 to 2007 he was also a Professor Extraordinarius of the Department of Jurisprudence at the University of South Africa. He is the author of several books and a member of the editorial board of a number of international journals. He is currently a vice-president of the International Association of Constitutional Law. He is also a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and a fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. His research interests include comparative African constitutional law, media law, and the African Union and legal history, especially legal harmonization.; Nico Steytler is a professor at the University of the Western Cape. His research interests include constitutional design and the system of multi-level government, comparative federalism, and local government.

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