"Re-Learning to be Human for Global Times: Beyond Liberal Democracy: The Quest for Indigenous African Models of Democracy for the 21st Century
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Conference Dates: 
Mon, 2017-05-22 - Tue, 2017-05-23



The process of democratisation in post-colonial African states has met with various challenges. Two of the most outstanding are that civilian governments subvert liberal democratic constitutions through their self-serving constitutional amendements, while military regimes completely dismiss the authority of constitutions.


Growing evidence indicates that the second generation of liberal democratic constitutions, which emerged on the continent during the last two decades of the twentieth century, are also being subverted through similar processes.


Thus, a number of scholars now speak about “the failure of democracy in Africa,” while others point out that what has failed in Africa is liberal democracy rather than democracy as such. The latter group holds that liberal democracy, with its emphasis on the preeminence of the liberties of the individual above communal responsibilities, is alien to the continent and is, therefore, doomed to fail as often as it is tried.


This two-day conference, organized by the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Nairobi and the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP), will evaluate democratisation in Africa. It will focus on the following three questions:


1.  Is democracy universally applicable, or does it require adaptation to cultural realities?

2. To what extent has the adoption of Western liberal models of democracy hindered democratisation in post-colonial African states?

3. How can indigenous African political thought be utilised in the endeavour to design models of democracy that are suited to the socio-cultural realities of post-colonial African states?


The conference program, and more information about the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy can be accessed here

Beyond Liberal Democracy Conference Program.pdf380.14 KB