FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Notes on African Generational Politics (Articles by Toungara, Kagwanja, Abbink)

BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here. 

Notes on African Generational Politics (Articles by Toungara, Kagwanja, Abbink)

Generational Tensions in the Parti Democratique de Cote d’Ivoire
By Jeanne Maddox Toungara
Sep 1995
*Two Elements: Gerantocracy in Abidjan and universal generational studies
- What/Where is the 6th Generation today?
- 5th generation is the generation of the long, extended economic crisis. 
*Main source of patronage is not cash but jobs
- Clientilism: easier to deal with from a U.S. perspective but hurtful in the long view because it’s near impossible to change.  Clientilism needs to stop but the 5th generation is suffering for the very reason that clientilism is retracting—and they aren’t getting there share. 

PDCI Background (this is from Wikipedia – not the article)
            The Parti Democratique de Cote d’Ivoire (PDCI) is a political party in Côte d'Ivoire. From independence in 1960 to 1990 it was the only legal party, and was led by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. In 1990 the first multi-party elections took place, but the party remained in power. When Houphouët-Boigny died in 1994, he was replaced by Henri Konan Bédié. The party lost power when Bédié was ousted in a December 1999 coup.

Toungara provides a brief overview of the PDCI Congress of 1990
-       The ninth Congress of the PDCI occurred in October 1990
-       President Felix Houphouet-Boigny had announced an end to one-party rule
-       The goal of the Congress was to develop a strategy that would keep it competitive in a multi-party system
-       Four groups emerged, wanting to influence the future of the PDCI
o   Les Anciens – the oldest, most conservative wing of the party
o   The reformers – wanted moderate change
o   The renovators – wanted to completely reorganize the party
o   Jeune loups “young wolves” – the younger generation who wanted to ensure a place in the party leadership
Identifying Generational Cohorts
-       Up to this point in modern African history, village elders have been “lineage patriarchs who controlled the distribution of labor, wealth, food, and wives…”
-       Now, Tuongara says, for the most part, Africans continue to support their lineages and respect the birthright of party patriarchs.
-       Toungara says that the common classification of generations into “old” (Anciens) and “young” (jeunes) fails to fully account for the actual generational dynamics in Cote d’Ivoire. So she proposes a system of five categories (I found this confusing because Toungara opened the article describing 4 categories – he does not mention the 5th generation in his intro).
-       Toungara’s five generations
o   First generation (Les anciens) - came to power after WWII; directed the anticolonial struggle until independence in 1960
o   Second Generation (Reformers) – educated abroad; entered politics in 1960s;
o   Third generation (Renovators)– also educated abroad; entered politics in 1970s; took managerial posts in public and private sector
o   Fourth generation (Radicals)– educated domestically; entered political scene in 1980s during recession; experienced high unemployment
o   Fifth generation (Currently coming of age) – still in school; entered politics in the 1990s in the midst of political upheaval as PDCI transitions to multiparty system
The New PDCI: The Ninth Congress Reforms
-       All five generations were present at the congress, seeking to influence the reorganization.
-       The groups were accommodated in the short term
-       Houphouet made a large number of appointments for all groups

Additional Information (more from Wikipedia – not from article): The Toungara article was written in 1995. The following excerpt from Wikipedia describes events that occurred after the article was written:
The PDCI announced in early 2000 that it would hold a congress to choose new leadership, and Bédié denounced this as a "putsch"; the party decided to retain Bédié in the leadership, however. In August, Bédié and four other PDCI members registered as candidates in the October 2000 presidential election; shortly afterward, Emile Constant Bombet, who had served as Interior Minister under Bédié, defeated Bédié for the PDCI presidential nomination. Bombet and Bédié were both barred from running by the Constitutional Court in early October, and on October 10 Bédié called for a boycott of the election.
In the parliamentary election held on 10 December 2000 and 14 January 2001, the party won 94 out of 225 seats.
On 18 May 2005, the PDCI and the Rally of the Republicans (RDR), despite a history of hostility towards one another, signed an agreement to form a coalition, the Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace, along with two smaller parties, the Union for Democracy and Peace in Côte d'Ivoire (UDPCI) and the Movement of the Forces of the Future (MFA), ahead of the presidential election then planned for October 2005. This election was delayed several times, finally held in 2010.

‘Power to Uhuru’: Youth Identity and Generational Politics in Kenya’s 2002 Elections
By Peter Mwangi Kagwanja
October 2005
Importance of eliminating the sway of groups like the Mungiki (which are almost cult-like) to the point where they challenge the role of the military
why didn’t the youth movement here become more violent???
what caused people to leave the movement later on?  Clientilism, police effectiveness, jobs?

-       This article examines the 2002 elections in Kenya
-       Some hailed this event as “one of the most significant political changes since independence.”
-       President Daniel arap Moi lost the electionending a 24 year patrimonial rule
-       However, this multi-ethnic victory occurred in the midst of widening inter-generational discord and tension
-       The road to the 2002 elections was marked by the widespread fear of youth rebellion
-       Bowing to pressure, Moi stepped down and endorsed the relatively young Uhuru Kenyatta, son of his predecessor, to be his successor
o   The intent was for Kenyatta to be a proxy for a continued reign by Moi
o   The hope was to get support from Kenya African National Union (KANU), but this tactic to mobilize the youth backfired causing intra-KANU conflict
o   Still, it appealed to many followers in the youth group, Mungiki
o   Criminal elements in Mungiki deepened their patron-client relationship with KANU elite
-       The Youth in contemporary Africa are eschewing Western modernity in favor of re-traditionalization
o   They have incorporated traditional religious beliefs and initiation rites into their resistance
o   Mungiki started out in rural areas using traditional forms of mobilization, espousing moral order and re-traditionalization, but when it ventured into Kenya’s urban areas (slums and shanty towns), it absorbed many criminal elements and transformed into a violent gang that was co-opted by some of the ruling elite

From fighting generation to lost generation
-       Youth revolution is not new in Kenyan politics
o   KANU and KADU both mobilized youths in the struggle for state power after independence
o   During the Nyayo era, (1982 – 1990), President Moi used the KANU youth to monitor and punish public dissent
o   Mungiki resorted to terror and extortion
o   This is a sign of  “generational politics as an idiom for the accountability of state power.”
o   The mid-90s saw “frightful levels” of the instrumental use of generational identities

‘Project Uhura’: nation, tribe, and generation politics
-       Prior to the 2002 elections, President Moi launched what came to be known disparagingly as “Project Uhuru”
-       Project Uhuru denoted Moi’s whipping up of generational sentiments and elevating the “Uhuru generation” to the higher echelons of his party

Conclusion (cut and pasted from the article because it is a good wrap-up)
“This article has examined how Mungiki used a generational discourse and adopted traditional Kikuyu ideas concerning the transfer of power to challenge their powerlessness and to stake claim to leadership in the politics of Moi’s succession. In a sense, Mungiki signified not only a logic of instrumentalization of disorder that has characterized Kenya’s multi-party era, but also the effort to re-traditionalize governance in an essentially modern space. However, the movement’s leadership was co-opted by the dominant elders in the ruling party and joined the KANU bandwagon in support of Project Uhuru, introducing a violent streak to electioneering. It abandoned its original moral crusade and embarked on reckless violence that eventually undermined its legitimacy and its influence in the public realm. Its continued violence in the post-election era convinced the government of the need to restrain youth as part of its reconstruction agenda and to restore public order and security.
            This has translated into the bureaucratization of the matatu transport sector, identified with the culture of vigilantism and youth violence. While the reform of the public sector coupled with enforcement of the law has effectively contained youth violence and seen the exit of the Mungiki from the public sphere, among other youth groups, the need for generational equity and empowerment will continue to haunt the political elite in the post-Moi era. As scholars announce the ‘end of the post-colonial state in Africa — meaning that the African state has ceased to resemble its colonial progenitor — it is important to rethink the ideological foundation of the African state that is emerging from the wave of democratic projects. Consequently, this article has argued that the future of the African state lies not only in transforming (moral) ethnicity into the foundational myth of modern African political thought, but also in grounding the state in Africa’s multi-ethnic and multi-identity reality. Generational identities are part of this reality.”

Being Young in Africa: The politics of Despair and Renewal
By John Abbink

This article is the introductory chapter to Abbink’s book.
The ‘problem of youth’ in Africa
-       “The exponential population increase and the fierce competition for resources within the contexts of malfunctioning or failing states have led to a relative decline in the well-being and social advancement of young people in Africa.”
-       Youth are facing mass unemployment, health problems, poverty, aids, lack of education, lack of skills
-       They are marginalized and have weak legal positions
-       They are over-represented in armed rebel groups and insurgent movements as well as criminal activities
-       Children are highly valued by adults, but they are valued less and less as they become adolescents
-       Being young in Africa is perceived as problematic
-       We should avoid characterizing “youth” as destructive
-       Rather, we need to integrate them into our analyses
-       The chronic problems faced by youth have significant political impliations
o   They are numerous
o   They are available
o   They are anxious to do anything they can to relieve their poverty
Defining ‘youth
-       There are many opinions on what exactly should be considered “youth” in Africa
-       For the purposes of his book, Abbink decides to use the 14 – 35 age bracket
-       He gives a number of reasons why on page 6 of the article
Recent Debates
-       Generational tensions are a recurring phenomenon in Africa
-       Academic literature is quick to highlight all the doom and gloom associated with the “youth
-       There are a number of responses to this literature
o   First response: Agency – emphasizes the active role of youth in determining their destiny
o   Second response: Interventionist – in the face of enduring youth deprivation, remedial policies should be implemented; local and national NGOs should be involved;
o   Third response: a descriptive-analytic response – tries to offer historically and sociologically grounded accounts to explain what has been happening to the youth
-       Generational tensions have always existed in Africa, but they are at a crisis now due to colonialism, modernization, social upheaval, population growth
-       These tensions have led to massive recruitment into revolutionary and insurgent movements since the 1970s

Youth and Politics
-       In much of eastern and southern Africa, the generation that secured independence excluded the youth from participation in political life and state bureaucracy

Youth and Violence
-       Youth are prominently involved in most of the armed conflicts and criminal networks on the continent
-       However, “The mere facts of demographic generational imbalance and socio-political tensions do not explain why and how patterns of conflict and violence emerge among younger age groups, nor why they show such a remarkably uneven spread and intensity across the continent.” (page 17)

Youth and Religion
-       21st century youth are perhaps showing “a remarkable shift towards religious activity.”
-       Religion may offer meaning and dignity after the failure of politics to do so
-       Christian and Muslim movements, both, disdain traditional African cultures and values
Youth and reconstitution of African societies
-       “There are high hopes in much of the literature about the potential and promise of youth in Africa and elsewhere.”
-       However, “it is not the aim of this book to evaluate this normative issue.”

Relevance and Theory
-       the social relevance of studying youth in order to influence the development policies of donors, state, NGOs, and self-organizations is growing
-       There is a need to develop sound theory for the study of youth and generational conflict, if only to be able to ask the right questions

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