The Anthropology of Anger: Civil Society and Democracy in by Celestin Monga

By Celestin Monga

Many students have argued that the continued democratization approach in Africa is doomed to fail as the political reforms were basically imposed through exterior donors. Others have challenged the very roots of the present adjustments, alleging that Africa wishes cultural and financial alterations prior to being prepared for sustainable democracy. Celestin Monga argues that either perspectives are incorrect. African peoples, he demonstrates, were attempting for many years to problem authoritarianism, yet their styles of behaviour couldn't be captured through the classical instruments used for measuring political participation and political tradition. "The Anthropology of Anger" sheds gentle at the continent's lengthy culture of an indigenous kind of activism. interpreting social alterations from a grassroots viewpoint, Monga exhibits that the search for freedom in Africa is deeply entrenched. He is going past dialogue of anger, ethnic conflicts and melancholy to supply new frameworks for realizing Africa's inner social dynamics, and to bare how Africa - an strange political "market" with hugely artistic political marketers - is renewing democratic conception.

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More sophisticated, if hardly original, techniques are used to reach the same goal: sap the foundation of citizens’ hope and faith in the possibility of a different world. Thus, the enlistment of intellectuals in the apparatus of repression is not designed to breathe new life into the existing system but rather to convince dreamers and utopians that “every man has a price” (compare Mbock 1985), that it is better to put up with a corrupt (and sated) leader than to risk the alternation of power, which would come down to a political takeover by young, hungry wolves—even more inclined to rob the public coffers than those in place.

The same strategy of “conversion” has been used successfully against numerous political “opponents”: those who work for the government and whose only role is to create diversions; those who created parties in the hope of receiving state financing; and those who tired of waiting for the alternation of power and thus resigned themselves to joining ranks with the “presidential majority” in exchange for a seat on a board. Such maneuvers, which involve the combined interests of urban elites, coteries, mysterious lobbies, and various pressure groups, are not related to a given policy or political idea, but that does not prevent the government from presenting them as proof of the existence of a dialogue among the nation’s different political families.

As for African heads of state, they do not hesitate to exploit these contradictions in order to “legitimate” their authoritarian regimes and revamp their approach to politics. The Art of Political Aggiornamento: A Revamped Discourse The opacity of the new African political landscape cannot be attributed to the egocentrism and ignorance of Africanist political scientists alone. The remarkable creativity of African leaders has also contributed significantly to the present confusion. Because of the rapidity with which they have brought their discourse and repressive techniques up to date, African dictators have managed at once to create uncertainty about their abilities and will and to sell the international community on the ludicrous idea that the future of Africa depends on them and them alone.

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