Nation building, good governance and the credibility of institutions on the African continent
AbstractThe discourse in this issue is diverse in terms of the geographical regions of the African continent it explores. The arguments in the issue are, however, comparable in that they relate to the issue of nation building, good governance and the credibility of institutions on the African continent The Republic of Rwanda is one of the few countries in Africa that have been hailed for rapid economic growth and nation building following the dark days of the genocide. Against this backdrop, Gebresilassie assesses and analyses the key governance challenges confronting Rwanda after the genocide era by focusing on the underlying issues of good governance that Rwanda and other nations should ideally strive for. The author concludes that the substantial economic growth that has been recorded in Rwanda cannot be a guarantee for the long-lasting stability and solidarity of the society, unless the pressing challenges of good governance are addressed comprehensively, and an open society and democratic government are formed in Rwanda. Obedia Dodo poses the question as to whether elections are a good measure of democracy. Dodo uses Jean Jacques Rousseau’s democratic theory as a basis for the discussion. In essence, the argument in this article is that there are countries where the leaders have manipulated the systems so much that democracy ceases to influence political systems. The analysis points to the fact that most of the challenges experienced in the region when it comes to credible elections can be traced to the systems and structures of the region, which are characterised by ethnic tensions, poverty, greed and autocracy. The pursuit of good governance on the African continent appears to be a moving target with numerous strategies tested and attempted by various countries. Good governance is difficult to achieve under normal conditions but it is even more difficult to achieve with the rise of cross-border terrorism and insurgency. A number of countries in central, east and west Africa have had their share of insurgencies. Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon have particularly been hit with the rise of Boko Haram, which threatens these countries’ democratic foundations. It waters down democratic structures, impacting on the provision of public services of health, education and security. The most tragic and worrisome impact of Boko Haram is the recent phenomenon of child insurgents in Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon. Yakubu use primary and secondary sources to examine child involvement in Boko Haram operations. Among other issues, the author discusses the nature of conscription and the many roles played by young male and female insurgents and explain the web of child involvement in terrorist activities. The paper concludes with the implications of child insurgent in West Africa and the measures necessary for the reduction of child insurgents. The authors in this edition add to a growing youthful voice of academics on the Continent that believe in the future of Africa and who have the commitment, courage and the resilience to research, interrogate and disseminate knowledge on pertinent issues relating to development and peace on the Continent.