Against the Cultural Gap Thesis on Africa’s Democratization

J. Shola Omotola


The article challenges the cultural gap thesis in Africa’s democratization. The thesis argues that democratization in Africa falters because there is a cultural gap in the democratic framework, such as the absence of democrats, i.e., culture, and the subsequent perversion of the democratization process. The argument holds only if there is one single democracy, and therefore, only one acceptable political culture, which is seldom the case. The problem of democracy in Africa is not due to a unique flaw in the African way of life that forecloses the feasibility of sustainable democracy in the continent. It must be that the democratization that is being promoted does not reckon much with the historicity of democracy and the uniqueness of Africa. The paper concludes with some recommendations on how to reclaim democratization and adapt it to African reality as a way of its consolidation.


democratization; Africa; cultural gap thesis

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