Africanization of Democracy by PAk31v6

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									                                                                Winter
                                                                         11




Africanization of Democracy

   an affiliate for the Institute for Democracy in
                         Africa


    Presented by: Brian Bell, J. Mikensie Cziep and Alexander Zeller
Institute for Democracy in Africa

Washington, DC Office:
1612 K Street, NW, Suite 1104
Washington, DC 20006
202.331.1333 (phone)
202.331.8547 (fax)

Dear Board of Directors
Brian Bell, Jordyn Cziep, and Alexander Zeller propose to add an organization to the Institute for
Democracy in Africa in an effort to facilitate to the institutionalization of Democracy amongst the various
African nations. This new organization, the Africanization of Democracy, will utilize three different
methods to bring about lasting democratic institutions to the various nations of Africa. The sections will
be research, lobbying, and a field unit, coordinating between the other sections and the collaborating
agents of the United Nations, African Union, and other inter-governmental and non-governmental
organizations.
We believe that this organization, the Africanization of Democracy, will be fundamental to the foundation
of democracy in the states of Africa. The common goal of finding and implementing the creation and
implementation of lasting African democracy will come to fruition in a more relevant, complete, and
resonating timetable through this organization than through any other
We look forward to further collaboration with you and the Institute for Democracy in Africa.

                                                                                                Sincerely,
                                                                                                Brian Bell
                                                                                         J. Mikensie Cziep
                                                                                          Alexander Zeller
                           Table of Contents


 Executive Summary
 Mission Statement
 Section One: The Problem
     o Background
     o Need for our program
     o Why our program will work
 Section Two: Proposal
     o Three Pillars: Lobby, Research, Phaseout
     o Three Tiers
             Proportional Parlimentary Systems
             UN to AU phaseout
             Individualized Analysis
     o Methodology
     o Evaluation Strategy
     o Timeline for Execution
 Section Three: Cost Analysis
     o Budget
     o Future funding
     o Possible affiliates: AU, UN, EU, IGOs
 Section Four: Road Blocks to our Solution
     o Data
     o Western Forces
     o Analysis
 Section Five: Appendix
     o Excel Sheet
     o Literature Review
     o Case Study: Angola
 Sources
                Mission Statement

To assist the United Nations and African Union in instilling
       the processes of democracy in Africa through
 empowerment of regional sovereignty, parliamentary/PR
 systems, and individualized and culturally based strategies.
                               Section One: The Problem
                           ASSESSMENT OF NEED: i.e. “the problem”
    The world watched in curious apprehension as the crowds of Tahrir Square chanted “we want
    democracy…we want democracy.” After more than 30 years of authoritarian rule by President
Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian populace rose up in opposition to his undemocratic rule. A few weeks
   prior to the Egyptian uprising, similar events took place in Tunisia, where in a matter of days the
authoritarian regime of President Zine Ben Ali was overthrown. All across Northern Africa and the
   Middle East “Old Guard” dictatorial regimes are under threat from the general population. Even
             more authoritarian regimes remain untouched in Western and Southern Africa.
The “Old Guard” authoritarian regime has come to characterize African politics, but it hasn’t always
been that way. Beginning with the popular movement for African independence in the 50’s and 60’s,
 and continuing through today, significant efforts have been made to democratize the continent. All
  across Africa independent states boast democratic titles; The Democratic Republic of the Congo,
      The Arab Republic of Egypt, The Republic of Angola, The Tunisian Republic, The Federal
Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and the list continues likewise. The logical question arises; if these
countries are all “democratic,” why has it become necessary for the populace to rise up against long-
      standing authoritarian regimes? Why has African democratization resulted in dictatorships,
    corruption, and “old guard” politics? What underlying factor prevented democratization from
   succeeding in the past, and continue to thwart democratizing efforts today? Why has democracy
                                              failed Africa?
  There is no question that true democracy improves quality of life. When democracy fails it breeds
corruption, kleptocracy, human rights abuses, civil war, and political unrest. While these are certainly
           characteristic and consequences of democratic failure, the root cause goes deeper.
         Many notable scholars have pointed out significant issues that arise from the failure of
        democratization, but few have emphasized an underlying cause for that failure. Why has
 democratization been such a failure in Africa? The answer lies in the democratization process itself.
       Western democratization processes have been inflexible and insensitive to African needs.
 Democracy is meant to be government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It has not
                                           been this in Africa.
       “The parliamentary-PR form of democracy is clearly better than the major alternatives in
   accommodating ethnic differences, and it has a slight edge in economic policy making as well…
 constitution makers in new democracies would do themselves and their countries a great disservice
 by ignoring this attractive democratic model” (Lijphart 1996, 162-174). A parliamentary-PR system
  successfully “africanizes” democracy because it has built in checks and balances to accommodate
  pronounced ethnic division, and “kinship” culture. It also effectively combats the problems posed
by “life-long president” syndrome. The parliamentary-PR model has been drastically underused and
  would successful address the issues that Africa brings to the table. It is time for the West to stop
      forcing “their democracy” on Africa, and realize that African states need to be “differently
                             democratic” (Schmitter and Karl 1991, 67-73).
 There is serious need for democratic reform involving Parliamentary/PR systems. These culturally
  sensitive systems may be the solution for providing democracy with the footing it needs in Africa.
 This force for change may come, in part, from international pressure, but more importantly it must
come from an informed public. African people and leadership must be conscious of their rights to a
Parliamentary/PR system of democracy, in direct opposition to the Presidential/Plurality democracy
that has only resulted in authoritarianism and kleptocracy. A system that checks presidential powers,
 and provides greater public and faction participation may well be the one thing needed fro African
        democracy to flourish. Parliamentary/PR systems provide this very thing.
For more background on the issue and theory see attached Literary Reviews and Case Study.
                                Section Two: Our Proposal

Process of Evaluation
1. Are we focusing on our three specific goals?
2. Are we making progress in a timely manner?
3. How are we involving affiliates and appropriates out-of-program actors?

The three pillars of our proposed structure will, of necessity, include a built-in evaluation system, to
evaluate the progress toward each of our determined goals. Our lobbying branch will be informed
and likewise evaluated by our research branch. The success of lobbying will be determined by those
doing research on the specific lobbying issues. A supervisory position will see to it that substantive
and effective lobbying is occurring, and comparing results to our preliminary timetable we will
determine the effectiveness of our procedures and adjust our process accordingly.
The research branch will in turn be evaluated on a regular basis by the lobbyists, who will determine
the effectiveness of information generated by the research branch. The primary source for lobbying
material will be the research branch, and the effectiveness of their work will greatly effect the
lobbyists.
The third pillar, UN to AU phase-out, will be evaluated in large part, by our affiliates. This will be
the last phase of the project, and will be a gradual and incremental process. The effectiveness of this
phase-out will be determined by the empowerment of the AU and the trust the UN has in the
regional powers. Again, the timetable will provide a valuable tool for evaluating effectiveness and
timeliness of process.

Methodology
The proposed organization, the Africanization of Democracy (the AD), could easily be integrated into the
existing structure of the Institute for Democracy in Africa, in that a supervising manager would meet with
the executive staff of the three sections of the organization as a pseudo-board of directors, known as the
Board of Managers. The members of that Board would also directly oversee the actions, research, and
efforts of the staff and interns in the sections of Research, Lobbying, and the Field Unit.
The scope of the Research section would be to analyze every physical, sociological, economic,
geographic, political, historical, cultural, and statistical aspect of every African Nation, and to propose
and evaluate ways in which to promote democracy, especially a parliamentary, proportional
representation style of democracy may be fundamentally institutionalized throughout the nations of
Africa. This section would be the largest, and would need to include experts that understand on a
fundamental level sociology, economics, geography, political systems and structures, history, statistics,
and the many cultures and languages of the African continent.
The purpose of the Lobby section would be to take the findings of the research department and present
them in clear and convincing ways to the United Nations, the African Union, and other inter-
governmental and non-governmental organizations, under the direction of the Board of Managers and the
Board of Directors for the Institute for Democracy in Africa.
The objectives of the final section, the Field Unit, would be to advise agents of the United Nations, the
African Union, and other collaborating organizations in the implementation of lasting democracy in
Africa. These agents would be briefed by the other two sections to ensure that the proposed objectives be
met in the correct methods to lay the foundations for enduring democratic states in Africa.
We would hope that the successful records of the Institute for Democracy in Africa, as well as the
objective, succinct, and complete findings and proposals of the AD would allow access of the AD to
ongoing and comprehensive cooperation with the actions of the United Nations in regards to Africa, and
the work of the African Union.
Timetable
PHASE 1(0-6 months):
    Establish structure including; staff, funding, 501(c) 3 status, office, etc...
    Heavy emphasis on research to give material to lobbyists and policy makers.
    Approach IGOs and NGOs for cooperative efforts.


PHASE 2 (6 months- 3yrs):
   Begin lobbying UN Peacekeeping Office, African Union, NGOs, etc... to advocate
     Parliamentary/PR systems.
   Country-by-country analyses, and individually based policy plans.
   Lobbying of international forces with ability to provide necessary democratizing pressures.
   Partnership with NGOs and IGOs to inform public and leadership of democratic options.
   Partnership with involved NGOs and IGOs. Pitch for continuing funding from already established
     money pools.


PHASE: 3 (3 yrs- 10 yrs)
   Continued lobbying and country-by country analysis.
   Emphasis on Phase-Out to regional sovereignty (AU).
   Evaluation of progress and effectiveness of established/establishing Parliamentary/PR systems.
   Pass the burden to local and regional leaders in a gradual phase-out.
                                  Section Five: Appendices
Lit. Review
                                      Democratization’s Failure

        The world watched in curious apprehension as the crowds of Tahrir Square chanted “we
want democracy…we want democracy.” After more than 30 years of authoritarian rule by President
Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian populace rose up in opposition to his undemocratic rule. A few weeks
prior to the Egyptian uprising, similar events took place in Tunisia, where in a matter of days the
authoritarian regime of President Zine Ben Ali was overthrown. All across Northern Africa and the
Middle East “Old Guard” dictatorial regimes are under threat from the general population. Even
more authoritarian regimes remain untouched in Western and Southern Africa.
The “Old Guard” authoritarian regime has come to characterize African politics, but it hasn’t always
been that way. Beginning with the popular movement for African independence in the 50’s and 60’s,
and continuing through today, significant efforts have been made to democratize the continent. All
across Africa independent states boast democratic titles; The Democratic Republic of the Congo,
The Arab Republic of Egypt, The Republic of Angola, The Tunisian Republic, The Federal
Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and the list continues likewise. The logical question arises; if these
countries are all “democratic,” why has it become necessary for the populace to rise up against long-
standing authoritarian regimes? Why has African democratization resulted in dictatorships,
corruption, and “old guard” politics? What underlying factor prevented democratization from
succeeding in the past, and continue to thwart democratizing efforts today? Why has democracy
failed Africa?
Everything from colonialism to culture has been made the culprit in the failure of democratization in
Africa. Multiple case studies, and even a few comparative studies, have been done and each one
places the blame on a different factor. In this review I will look at a number of the more popular
arguments, and then I shall present an alternate theory that, perhaps, better describes the causes of
failure in African democratization, and not just the symptoms of such failure.
                                                Colonialism
In any discussion of modern African challenges, the role of colonialism is certain to be brought up.
For more than fifty years now, Africans and non-Africans alike have been blaming European
colonial policy for the failures of politics and economics on the continent. In his article, “The State
of Africa’s Second Liberation,” Eghosa Osaghae discusses the failure of Africa’s two “great
liberations;” the “first liberation” being independence from colonial powers, and the “second
liberation” being independence from the foreign intervention of the Cold War. Osaghae suggests
that the first liberation movement failed to democratize Africa because the citizenry, which invested
so much in democratic independence struggles, were “monumentally betrayed” by the post-colonial
state. After colonial powers departed, the independent governments that took their place ruled as
ostentatiously and as distantly as colonial rulers. “The first liberation saw only the replacement of
colonial tyranny with domestic tyranny” (Osaghae 2005, 6). Osaghae suggests that this caused the
citizenry to become incensed and indifferent to democratic process, thus resulting in the failure of
democratization. The powers at be after the “first liberation” remained in power to become pawns
in Western-Soviet Cold War tactics. This, coupled with the continued exploitation of resources,
brought about the “second liberation,” in which Africans leaders sought to overthrow foreign
involvement in their politics. Osaghae suggest that the “second liberation” also failed to democratize
the states citing that the state has become more than ever an “agent of global capitalism.” Legitimacy
has not been established and citizens have no faith in the state’s ability to provide development.
International forces are the only stabilizers keeping the states from complete devolution (Osaghae
2005).
        Osaghae’s western-tainted argument demonstrates how these challenges to state sovereignty,
legitimacy, and power have undoubtedly created an atmosphere of political decrepitude, but to
suggest that this has made an indifferent and disillusioned public is quite frankly incorrect. His
theory does not explain why African democratic elections have had, and continue to have some of
the highest voter turnouts in the world. Africans seem to be very involved to the extent that they are
able. It would be presumptuous and belittling to suggest that Africans lack the ability to overcome as
so many others have. Most, if not all, powerful democracies in the world have had to overcome
similar challenges. Colonialism has not stopped powerful democracies like the United States, India,
and Brazil from developing. Yes, colonialism and European imperialism have, in these cases,
presented a challenge to democratization, but the power of democracy prevailed. Certainly,
colonialism has had its negative effects on African politics, but cannot be the trigger for perpetual
democratic failure. Colonialism stunted the early efforts to democratize Africa, but cannot be
blamed for the failures of recent democratization efforts. The one legacy that colonialism
undoubtedly left is that of bad leadership. Could bad leadership be the root of the problem?
                                              Bad Leadership
        It is no secret that African leaders do not have a great track record when it comes to
despotism, corruption, and abuse of power. Most people lay the blame for African troubles at the
feet of corrupt leaders, and leadership plays an inarguably large role.
In “The Democratic Rollback,” Larry Diamond state, “For democracy to triumph, the natural
predatory tendencies of rulers must be restrained…” (Diamond 2008, 36-38). He goes on to outline
the ways in which undemocratic states fall into a cycle of predatory leadership that is difficult to
stop. Most African countries began their independence with a democratic vote, but leaders than
resorted to any means possible to stay in power. These “life-long presidents” became known as the
“old guard.”
In his article about democracy and security, Sola Akinrinade outlines the pattern by which
democracy has been undermined by “old guard” politicians. He explains how the electoral process is
manipulated to produce a win, and then all power is slowly centralized leaving the leader in absolute
control, thus democracy degenerates into autocracy. To keep the autocracy stable, opposition leaders
are persecuted and the public is pushed out of government process. In such autocratic states security
is uprooted and violence is commonplace.
The above case shows that it takes more than democratic elections to make a stable democracy.
Unfortunately, elections are often seen as the telltale characteristic of democracy, creating what Larry
Diamond terms “the fallacy electoralism.” (Diamond 2008, 36-48). In the article “Africa’s Divergent
Transitions,” Michael Bratton shows how the fallacy of election allows corrupt leaders to undermine
democratic process. Bratton cites Samuel Huntington’s “two turnover test,” which states that in
order for democratization to take hold two post-transition elections must be held in which the
incumbent is voted out and leaves peacefully. Of the six African countries studied by Bratton, only
one fit these criteria, and the incumbent leader was voted out in favor of an old dictator. This failure
of the democratic process is caused by a presidential-plurality form of democracy, in which too
much power is given to new heads of state who then manipulate the system. One of the few
countries to be successfully democratized with this form of democracy is the United States, where
legendary men like George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson helped the fledgling
democracy to survive by completing Huntington’s “two turnover test.” In Africa this has only
happened only once or twice, most notably with Nelson Mandela in South Africa (which happens to
be one of the few stable democracies in Africa.) Bratton’s study shows that just because
“democratic” elections are being held, it doesn’t mean that democracy is happening (Bratton 2001).
These studies show the effect of bad leadership and how it can undermine democracy. It is unlikely
however, that corrupt leaders are the causal factor for the complete inability of democracy to
flourish in Africa. Such leaders are certainly a result of democratic failure, but do not fully determine
the nature of failing democratization. Perhaps there is no better example than Egypt to show that
the voice of the people (democracy) is strong enough to overcome bad leadership, no matter how
entrenched it is. When democracy prevails even the most corrupt leader is forced to reconcile
himself to the wishes of the populace.
                                                 Economics
         One prominent theory in International Politics is the Modernization Theory. This theory
basically states that as a state becomes more modern and economically stable, it will become more
democratic. This would perhaps explain the failure of democratization in Africa. Comparatively,
Africa is anything but modern and economically stable. Could it be that the failure of democracy is
nothing more than the failure of the economies of the continent?
         Since the studies of Lipset (1981) mainstream thought has considered economics to be an
important variable in the democratization process. However, when Wolf Linder and Andre
Bachtiger did a comparative study of 62 countries in Asia and Africa in 2005, they discovered
“…socio-economic modernization factors were neither necessary, nor sufficient conditions for
democratization…” (Linder and Bachtiger 2005). In 2008, Larry diamond argued against the
“assumption that economic growth- or free market economy…is the key to creating and
consolidating democracy.” He states, “the ‘economy first’ advocates have the casual chain
backwards. Without significant improvements in governance, economic growth will not take off or
be sustainable…” (Diamond 2008, 36-48).
         Undoubtedly, economic factors have significant effects on politics, but poor, un-capitalistic,
economies are probably more a product of failed democratization than a cause. There are multiple
examples across the globe of democratically strong states, which are economically weak. (Portugal,
South Africa, Greece) Economy presents a challenge to democratization in Africa, but it cannot be
the cause of its failure.
                                            Ethnicity and Culture
         The last factors to be discussed in the search for the cause of democratic failure in Africa are
ethnicity and culture. Ethnic rivalries are nothing new in Africa and continue to exacerbate problems
across the board. When colonial boundaries were drawn during the Berlin Conference, no attention
was paid to existing ethnic boundaries. Modern African states are multi-ethnic conglomerates of
power. Ethnic tensions do not lend themselves to democratic process. To some African culture
itself seems to be unfavorable toward democracy. Certainly some mixture of cultural and ethnic
differences can be blamed for the failure of democratization, right?
         In 2009, Frederick Ozor noted that ethnic divisions “tend to tear the state[s] apart as well as
impede progress toward democratization…” (Ozor 2009, 323). He uses multiple examples, including
the Rwandan Genocide, to show how ethnicity undermines the democratization process. It is clear
that ethnicity is a significant issue to be addressed by the democratization problem, but does it really
have the power to halt democratization all together?
         To address the question of the role ethnicity plays in African politics, James Fearon and
David Laitin studied a number of civil wars in Africa from 1960 to 1999. They discovered that “it
appears not to be true that a greater degree of ethnic or religious diversity- or indeed any cultural
demography- by itself make a country more prone to civil war.” (Fearon and Laitin 2003, 75-90).
The failure of democratization in Africa usually presents itself in the form of civil war, so we can
safely assume that the failure of democratization is not entirely cause by ethnicity.
         If ethnicity is entirely to blame for democratic failure, could the greater African culture in
general be responsible? Ozor also noted in 2009 that “undemocratic culture appears to be the root
of the problem with all that has gone wrong with African Democracy. Africa appears to be ‘sick,’
suffering from sickening undemocratic culture and of producing undemocratic leaders… Africa
needs a fundamental overhaul of its basic social and political values and orientations” (Ozor 2009,
333). Ozor points to the “kinsmen” nature of African culture as being undemocratic, and expresses
a rather pessimistic outlook for African Democratization. Such an analysis points out the significant
role culture plays in government, but seems unduly critical and exceedingly Western in thought.
Democracy is not a culture, but rather a form of government and it does not have to be put at odds
with varying cultures.
        In 2003, Fareed Zakaria wrote “A Brief History of Human Liberty,” in which he discusses
the idea of “culture as destiny.” He recognizes that many distinguish scholars have blamed
everything from poverty to democratic failure on a common culprit, culture. Zakaria, however,
believes that cultures are not stagnant, but constantly developing. He thinks blaming culture is an
oversimplification of complex issues. All cultures develop according to needs (Zakaria 2003). No
culture was ever inherently democratic, but many have adapted to democratic process. African
culture is no different. Culture is not the underlying destructive force in the quest for
democratization in Africa, just another player. Democracy just needs to be adapted to African needs.
                                             The True Culprit
        Thus far we have debated some of the main arguments for failure of African
democratization. Many notable scholars have pointed out significant issues that arise from the failure
of democratization, but few have emphasized an underlying cause for that failure. Why has
democratization been such a failure in Africa? The answer lies in the democratization process itself.
Western democratization processes have been inflexible and insensitive to African needs.
Democracy is meant to be government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It has not
been this in Africa. Our final argument comes from a couple of sources. First, Frederick Ozor, in
the same article in which he argues that African culture is undemocratic, explains that a
parliamentary- proportional representation (PR) democracies would be more conducive to African
politics (Ozor 2009, 334). In 1996, Arend Lijphart made a similar argument in which he showed that
the commonly used presidential-plurality systems were not as effective as parliamentary-PR systems
in Africa. Lijphart stated, “The parliamentary-PR form of democracy is clearly better than the major
alternatives in accommodating ethnic differences, and it has a slight edge in economic policy making
as well… constitution makers in new democracies would do themselves and their countries a great
disservice by ignoring this attractive democratic model” (Lijphart 1996, 162-174). A parliamentary-
PR system successfully “africanizes” democracy because it has built in checks and balances to
accommodate pronounced ethnic division, and “kinship” culture. It also effectively combats the
problems posed by “life-long president” syndrome. The parliamentary-PR model has been
drastically underused and would successful address the issues that Africa brings to the table. It is
time for the West to stop forcing “their democracy” on Africa, and realize that African states need
to be “differently democratic” (Schmitter and Karl 1991, 67-73). The parliamentary-PR system is not
without its own fauly, but is more effectively embraces African culture and history than a
presidential-plurality system. As democratization becomes more “African,” African culture will
inevitable become more democratic. The underlying culprit in the failure of democratization has
been the democratization process itself. An increase in parliamentary-PR democracies would
“Africanize” democracy and successful cases of democratization would likewise increase. After all, it
is government of the people, by the people, for the people, is it not?
CASE STUDY: An example of individual socio-historical analysis and application of
Parliamentary/PR.

                                 ANGOLA: Kleptocracy vs. Democracy
         You certainly don’t have to look far to find examples of failing democracy in Africa. Perhaps,
one of the starkest examples is the Republic of Angola. Failing democracy presents itself in many
forms; corruption, human rights abuses, authoritarianism, life-long presidents, etc…While these are
certainly characteristic and consequences of democratic failure, the root cause goes deeper. As we
look closer at the history of democratic failure in Angola, we will identify the principal source of
failure, culturally insensitive Presidential/Plurality Systems. In doing so, we will also be able to look
at the power of Parliamentary/Proportional Representation(PR) systems in creating democratic
systems that work for Africa.
         Angola is a sub-tropical country on the west coast of Africa. Nearly twice the size of Texas,
Angola has a population of nearly 19 million people. As a former Portuguese colony, Angola was
one of the first African nations to be colonized by Europeans and was one of the last to obtain
independence. As such, it is infused with European culture, and has relatively strong ties to its
former colonizers. Though it is one of the world’s largest oil exporters, Angola remains one of the
poorest countries on the map. Angola’s natural resources have made it potentially one of the richest
African countries. (2)
With large quantities of oil, diamonds, and others precious minerals Angola has an advantage few
other African nation have, yet the standard of living does not reflect the riches of the nation. One
explanation for the still struggling nation is the civil war that plagued the country for 27 years after
independence from Portugal. The war tore the nation apart physically, economically, and
ideologically. Angolans are a people long-harrowed by the terrors of war; a war that led to the rise of
President Eduardo Dos Santos. This brings us to the second explanation for Angola’s unlikely
poverty, kleptocracy.
The word kleptocracy comes from the Greek kleptes, meaning thieves, and kratos, meaning rule. It is
a form of government in which government officials use corruption to expand their personal wealth
and political power. In a severe kleptocracy the nation’s resources are used to benefit only the ruling
class. Angola’s President Eduardo Dos Santos has long been, at least in “Western” perspective, a
poster child for kleptocracy. His rise to power, largely aided by the former Soviet Union, had been
characterized by “inconsistencies” and “allegations,” all hidden under a façade of Marxist Socialism.
(4)
The rule of the MPLA (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola,) Dos Santos’ political party,
has led the Angolan people to new levels of poverty and hopelessness. The democratic rights
afforded to every Angolano under constitutional law are constantly abused and denied. The MPLA
with its thuggish police force and henchman military, keep the general population in a state of
submission and insecurity. Perhaps the Human Rights Watch reports says it best,
         “Due at least in part to such mismanagement and corruption, the government also has
       impeded Angolans' ability to enjoy their economic, social, and cultural rights. It has not
       provided sufficient funding for essential social services, including healthcare and
       education. As a result, millions of Angolans continue to live without access to hospitals
       and schools, in violation of the government's own commitments and human rights
       treaties to which it is a party.” (5)
Dos Santos’ kleptocratic regime has held Angola back from its true potential, and continues to foster
human rights abuses.
                         CIVIL WAR AND DOS SANTOS’ RISE TO POWER
After intense pressure from both the Mozambican and Angolan independence movements, the
Portuguese withdrew from their African colonies in 1975. In Angola the two independence
movements, MPLA (headed by Agostinho Neto) and UNITA (led by Jonas Savimbi), instantly
clashed over which party would lead the newly independent Angola. Agostinho Neto and the MPLA
became the first ruling party in Angola. Shortly thereafter, however, in 1979Agostinho Neto died in
Moscow and Eduardo Dos Santos became the new president of the MPLA and the nation. Jonas
Savimbi and his followers rejected Dos Santos’ presidency and continued to wage civil war against
the MPLA. Dos Santos and Savimbi lead Angola into a violent war that would last 27 years.
Unfortunately, Angola’s civil war gained international attention and quickly became a proxy war of
the U.S- Soviet Cold War. The MPLA and Dos Santos and his Marxist ideology were immediately
backed by the USSR and Cuban troops, while the United States and South Africa supported Savimbi
and his pro-western (i.e. non-Marxist) democratic government. By the late 1980’s the Angolan civil
war had grown into an unheralded bloody extension of the Cold War. During the decade more than
350,000 people died and millions more were left as refugees. (12)
In 1992 MPLA gave in to foreign pressure and set up an election in Angola. Hope suggested that
this would be the end of the war. However, the less than reputable polls showed Savimbi losing, a
result that UNITA refused to accept. The war raged on for another decade, and became one of the
bloodiest battles in modern warfare. Savimbi continued to fight until his death in 2002, at which
time peace accords were signed and peace was finally achieved in Angola. (9)
The 1992 “democratic” election reaffirmed Eduardo dos Santos’ power as president of Angola, a
position which he holds to this day. On September 21, 2009 Dos Santos celebrated 30 years as
Angolan president making him one of Africa’s longest reigning heads of state. (4) By the early 90’s
the Marxist policies of Dos Santos had proven disastrous, and Russia had all but abandoned
Angolan politics. Dos Santos declared himself a democratic president, and promised reform. His
government, however, had long-since been nothing more than a kleptocracy. Leaders of the MPLA
and Dos Santos’ immediate friends and neighbors became known as the “Funtungos,” an elite group
of kleptocrats who used Angolan resources for self enrichment. The Futungos took every advantage
they could to make more money. According to Martin Meredith author of The Fate of Africa, Dos
Santos used his presidential patronage system to give his family and high ranking MPLA officials
and military men everything from government contracts and state-owned property, to diamond
concessions, scholarships, and exorbitant “Christmas bonuses.” (9) Dos Santos manipulates
Angolan resources to reward those who are most loyal to him, and to punish those who are not.
While the fighting ended in 2002, the opposition voices were not completely drowned out. UNITA
officials continue to condemn Dos Santos’ regime and corruption. However, on 21 January 2010 the
MPLA-led parliament of Angola ratified a new constitution. This controversial constitution does
away with presidential elections. It states that the head of the party which holds a majority power in
parliament will be the head of state. (10) The voices of opposition have strongly stated their
opinions of the new constitution and Dos Santos’ regime. A spokesman for UNITA, Alcides
Alfredo Sakala has said,
“Democracy in Angola is in danger… The MPLA continues to deny Angolans the
constitutional right to resist, the constitutional right to free medical assistance, the
constitutional right to instruments that guarantee the effective freedom of business; [The
MPLA] continues to deny Angolans of their right to free and democratic elections, organized
by independent forces, without interference…This is not the Constitution of Angola. It is the
Constitution of the MPLA, illegal, because it violates two important principles of the law…
the principal of direct election and the principal of separation of powers… The process of
[reconciliation] remains delayed, and we will continue to have an Angola that marches at two
different speeds, with the rich getting richer and richer and the poor, who are the majority,
getting poorer and poorer…It is the intention of Jose Eduardo Dos Santos to eternalize
himself in power.” (7)
  This new constitution has solidified the foundation of Dos Santos’ kleptocracy, but it may also be
   the straw that breaks the camel’s back. As for now, Eduardo Dos Santos has risen to power and
     created a system of government that he can securely manipulate to his own kleptocratic ends.
                                    DOS SANTOS AND THE OIL
        Since its discovery in the 70’s Angola’s oil has been its number one export. Accounting for
90% of export revenues, crude oil has become the black gold of Angola. Naturally, the fingers of
kleptocracy were bound to find a way to milk such a cash cow. From 1997 to 2008 Angola’s GDP
grew more than 1,000%, but the standard of living has been consistently declining! This obvious fact
raised the eyebrows of international forces, and has now unearthed a number of corruption scandals
involving Dos Santos’ government. From 1997 to 2002 more than $4 billion has been “siphoned
off” the oil revenues in Angola, and Dos Santos’ kleptocrats went to great lengths to keep the
accounting hidden from the scrutiny of the public eye. (6) The following are a few examples of the
many secrets scandals. It is to be noted that almost every scandal involves some sort of international
enabler.
        In the early 2000’s one of the more prominent scandals was uncovered. A Franco-Brazilian
by the name of Pierre Falcone was charged and arrested for number of sketchy arms deals with Dos
Santos’ regime between 1993 and 1995. It was alleged that Dos Santos used more than $600 million
dollars in oil revenues to pay Falcone for arms used to support MPLA in the war. This scandal and
its cover-up have been given the nickname “Angolagate.” (1)
        In 2002 the governor of Angola’s Central Bank, Aguinaldo Jamie, was caught trying to
transfer $50 million to private bank accounts in America and England. When asked to explain the
billions of dollars of discrepancies in the Angolan Oil sector, Jamie claimed that “global warming”
was impeding government reform. (6)
        In 2001, the IMF investigated discrepancies in oil contracts with Angola. They discovered a
difference of $215 million between what the Angolan government reported it received and what oil
companies reported they had paid. Conveniently enough the government refused to give out more
information citing that it “could not provide any supporting documentation on those payments
because of confidentiality agreements with the oil companies.” (9) British Petroleum attempted to
release documentation of its payments to Angola, but were threatened with losing their multi-million
dollar contract. Speaking of the case the Angolan government released a statement saying, “In the
hope of maintaining the good relations that we have always had with the oil companies that operate
in Angola, we strongly discourage all our partners from similar attitudes in the future.” (9)
        In 2002 a Swiss banker put a freeze on $700 million dollars “while he investigated
transactions involving ‘Russian and Angolan dignitaries.’” Russia had renegotiated a questionable
debt deal with Dos Santos. The Angolan Government admitted to placing public finds in a private
account, but cited that as normal behavior. (9)
        In 2005 a controversial Chinese investment group, The Chinese International Fund, gave
$2.9 billion for reconstruction efforts in Angola. This same company was given exclusive contracts
with Sonangol, Angola’s principle oil company. The $2.9 billion was given to the Reconstruction
Office of Angola which answers only to President Dos Santos. The effects of the reconstruction
fund are yet to be seen. (6)
        These are a few of the more recent scandals, but the story is repeated over and over again for
more than two decades. Many governments including Great Britain and the United States, along
with NGO’s like Human Rights Watch and Global Witness have called for greater “transparency” in
the Angolan oil sector. The standards of living for the general population have yet to show that the
country’s GDP has increased 1,000% in the past decade. True, there have been many improvements
made to infrastructure and facilities, but the human development factor has not been improved.
While a small elite of the top 59 men hold nearly half the country’s wealth, a majority of Angolan
lives off less than70 cents a day. (9) Eduardo Dos Santos and his kleptocrats have managed to leech
billions of unaccounted oil dollars from the Angolan people.
                                        HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
          Human Rights abuses are generally a close companion to warfare in Africa. Angola is no
exception. The warfare strategies of Dos Santos and Savimbi destroyed the homelands and
livelihoods of millions of people. The Angolan civil war was characterized by mass movements of
peoples from their rural homes to urban centers like Luanda. Many crops were burned and mine
fields covered the countryside. People, forced into refugee camps and overcrowded slums, were
often denied life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Disease remains rampant and despair
intoxicating. The livelihood of the Angolan people is being stolen right from under them, along
with their rights and liberties. (8) There is little hope for an Angolan outside of Dos Santos elitist
circle of friends. Dos Santos hides behind the façade of a wise democratic leader. He has placed
billboards all over the country denouncing corruption and upholding democratic ideals. Meanwhile
he controls the main revenue stream with an iron fist, and uses political power for economic
elevation. The MPLA has used its position to foster fear and ignorance, Dos Santos’ two greatest
allies. The average Angolan in either unaware, or afraid to care about what is going on with their
government. They all recognize that anticipated improvements are not coming, but they are sick of
war and fear that questions will lead to more violence. I once asked an Angolan friend why Dos
Santos could be president for so many years, when the Constitution states he can have only 2 four-
year terms. I was told, “He hasn’t started either of his terms yet.”
We are approaching a decade since the end of the war, and little has been done to relieve human
suffering. In fact, Dos Santos and his kleptocrats have exacerbated the problem. Under Dos Santos’
rule the corrupt police force and violent military have harassed, extorted, thieved, and raped
dislocated people and the population in general. (8) In 2009, I witnessed firsthand some of the
atrocities. I saw police officers tormenting and beating pregnant women as they tried to sell things
on the street to feed their families. The “police” would chase the women around, knocking their
baskets to the ground and crushing the fruits and goods they sold. The military and police take every
chance they get to extort bribes from locals and foreigners alike. Angola has been sitting
comfortable in the top ten on the World Corruption Indexes for years. The Human Rights abuses
are innumerable but they all have their roots in a corrupt kleptocratic government. The rights group,
Human Rights Watch, published a report in 2004 (which has since been updated in 2010) which
details the kleptocracy and human rights abuses in Angola. It says,
        “Angola remains an example of the problems that plague a resource-rich state. It relies
        on a centrally controlled major revenue stream and is therefore not reliant on domestic
        taxation or a diversified economy to function. Its rulers have unique opportunities for
        self-enrichment and corruption, especially because there is not enough transparency or
        political space for the public to hold them accountable. There are enormous
        disincentives to relinquish political power because it is also a path to economic
        enrichment. This dynamic has a corrosive effect on governance and ultimately, respect
        for human rights. Instead of bringing prosperity, rule of law, and respect for rights, the
        existence of a centrally controlled revenue stream like oil can serve to reinforce or
        exacerbate an undemocratic or otherwise unaccountable ruler's or governing elite's worst
        tendencies, providing the financial wherewithal to entrench and enrich itself without
        significant pressures for accountability. It is no accident that the president of Angola,
        one of the world's major oil producers, is entering his fourth decade in power.” (6)
There we have it, the kleptocratic rule of Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, based on his control of oil
resources, is self-regenerative and destroys democracy and human rights in Angola.
                                        Opposition and Solutions
        What can be done to bring reform to a kleptocracy? It has been evident for years that the
Angolan government is corrupted and vital national revenues have been stolen. It becomes more
evident as time goes on that Dos Santos intends to remain in power and continue his kleptocratic
ways. Despite copious amounts of “democratic” PR, facts are stubborn things, and one thing
remains; ANGOLA IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. So, what can be done? Members of opposition
parties, such as UNITA, continue to use wartime rhetoric and refuse to recognize the corrupt power
of the Dos Santos regime. International forces, mostly made up of Angolan trade partners, seek for
transparency and reform. And some, like the rebels in the enclave of Cabinda, seek independence
and sovereignty from Dos Santos’ corrupted nation. All of these groups address problems and
consequences of democratic failure, but none have tackled the root of this failure.
Most of the “democratic” countries in Africa have been given democracy influenced, if not directly
imposed, by Western Presidential/Plurality systems. This form of government, in which two and
one party states are developed and the power of head of state and head of government are vested in
one individual, is not conducive to African culture and creates significant challenges considering
Africa’s socio-historical background. Perhaps the problem does not lie in individual democratic
failure, but in the democratic process itself. Presidential/Plurality is not the only form of democracy,
nor is it necessarily the best. The Parliamentary/Proportional Representation (PR) system practiced
by many countries in Europe, provides a democratic system that is sensitive to composite societies,
and divides power between a head of state (president) and head of government (prime minster.)
Through PR systems multiple factions, parties, and even tribes have the opportunity to be
proportionally represented, thus fostering cooperation and resolving potentially dangerous civil
dispute.
        No one can deny that bad African leadership has been a significant contributing factor in the
downfall of democratic systems in Africa, and there is no better example than Eduardo dos Santos
in Angola. The Parliamentary/PR systems accounts for this problem by vesting power to two
counterbalancing chief executives, a president and prime minister. Perfect power corrupts perfectly,
so dividing the supreme power (especially when a political system is new and immature) is advisable,
if not essential.
        The application of this solution is where things get sticky. We can’t march into Luanda, and
tell Eduardo dos Santos that he is going to be co-head of a new Parliamentary/PR system. We can
however, provide significant pressure through NGOs, IGOs, the IMF, and perhaps most
significantly, Multi-National Oil Corporations. We can also use our existing relations to teach,
promote, and encourage Parliamentary/PR systems among opposition leaders and the general
public. This new form of democracy is not a magic wand that will instantly solve Angola’s political
problems, but it is an important tool to have in the hands of those who further the cause of
democracy in Angola and across the world.
                                                Conclusion
The now more than 30 year regime of Jose Eduardo Dos Santos has come to be widely recognized
as a true kleptocracy. Billions of dollars have gone unaccounted for, and Dos Santos and his
Futungos continue to grow richer as the Angolan people grow poorer. Human Rights abuses
multiply with every dollar misappropriated. The Angolan people have suffered through 27 years of
civil war, and now endure the crippling regime of a kleptocrat. Dos Santos’ mockery of democracy
and his blatant dishonesty have earned him the indisputable title of corrupt! It is now up to the
Angolan people and a knowledgeable international community to determine the fate of Angolan
democracy. There is serious need for democratic reform involving Parliamentary/PR systems. These
culturally sensitive systems may be the solution for providing democracy with the footing it needs in
Africa. This force for change may come, in part, from international pressure, but more importantly
it must come from an informed public. African people and leadership must be conscious of their
rights to a Parliamentary/PR system of democracy, in direct opposition to the Presidential/Plurality
democracy that has only resulted in authoritarianism and kleptocracy. A system that checks
presidential powers, and provides greater public and faction participation may well be the one thing
needed for African democracy to flourish. Parliamentary/PR systems provide this very thing.
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