In this enlightening book, John Mukum Mbaku analyses the main challenges of constitutional design and the construction of governance institutions in Africa today. He argues that the central issues are: providing each country with a constitutional order that is capable of successfully managing sectarian conflict and enhancing peaceful coexistence; protecting the rights of citizens – including those of minorities; minimizing the monopolization of political space by the majority (to the detriment of minorities); and, effectively preventing government impunity.
Mbaku offers a comprehensive analysis of various approaches to the management of diversity, and shows how these approaches can inform Africa’s struggle to promote peace and good governance. He explores in depth the existence of dysfunctional and anachronistic laws and institutions inherited from the colonial state, and the process through which laws and institutions are formulated or constructed, adopted, and amended. A close look at the constitutional experiences of the American Republic provides important lessons for constitutional design and constitutionalism in Africa. Additionally, comparative politics and comparative constitutional law also provide important lessons for the management of diversity in African countries. Mbaku recommends state reconstruction through constitutional design as a way for each African country to provide itself with laws and institutions that reflect the realities of each country, including the necessary mechanisms and tools for the protection of the rights of minorities.
From students and scholars to NGOs, lawyers and policymakers, this unique and judicious book is an essential tool for all those seeking to understand and improve governance and development in Africa.
‘An excellent exposition of the policy imperative for African countries to find ways to ensure peaceful coexistence of their ethnic groups and provide the enabling environment for inclusive growth and development. Mbaku has convincingly applied Buchanan’s constitutional political economy model to show how African countries can use constitutional design so that laws and institutions can provide the wherewithal for peaceful coexistence and create the enabling environment for growth and development. Recommended reading for political economy scholars, rights activists, and African policy-makers.'
– Kempe Ronald Hope, Sr., Development Practice International, Canada
John Mukum Mbaku, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor of Economics & John S. Hinckley Fellow, Attorney & Counselor at Law (Licensed in Utah), Weber State University, US.