Copyright (c) 2011 Buffalo Law Review
Buffalo Law Review
ARTICLE: Constitutional Reforms and Constitutionalism in Africa: Reflections on Some Current Challenges and Future Prospects
Buffalo Law Review
59 Buffalo L. Rev. 1007
Charles Manga Fombad+
From antiquity down to the modern era, philosophers, political scientists, and jurists have always recognized the imperatives of constitutionalism 1 and the difficulties of attaining it. For Africa, after more than four decades of mostly authoritarian, corrupt, and incompetent rule, the 1990s began with a slow and painful move towards what many optimistically hoped would usher in a new era of democratic governance and constitutionalism. One of the main features of this process has been reforms designed to introduce constitutions that promote constitutionalism and good governance. 2 Many of the apparently radical changes that were introduced by these reforms have been widely discussed and commented upon, and some of these studies have shown that many of the post-1990 constitutions do, more or less, provide better prospects for constitutionalism than almost all the pre-1990 constitutions. 3 The objective of this Article is to consider, in light of the challenges to constitutionalism that have emerged since the third generation of constitutions were adopted in Africa, 4 what needs to be done to sustain the momentum towards constitutional governance on the continent. The basic contention of this Article is that although the foundations for promoting constitutionalism-good governance and democracy-have been laid down in these reforms, the threats of authoritarian resurgence that have emerged in the last few years suggest that these changes either did not go far enough or did not address the critical problems of the moment. The main focus of the discussion will be on ...
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