The Challenges of Civil Society in Africa

A healthy civil society needs both strong bonds and strong bridges, associations that meet the needs of citizens in all their expressions, and ties that reach back in time to provide continuity as well as forward to a new sense of Self. In Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and elsewhere, ethnicity has already provided a focus for popular mobilization in contexts where existing power arrangements have closed down other routes to participation in democratic governance. What appear as “ethnic” conflicts are often more straightforward struggles over access to resources and political power that are manipulated along clan or tribal lines.

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Michael Edwards

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