In the collection of articles "Federalism in Africa: Problems and Perspectives" ("Federalism in Africa: Problems and Perspectives"), published by the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, 2015 / ed. ed. Igho Natufe, H. M. Turinskaya. 220 p), covers theoretical and practical aspects of the functioning of federal systems on the African continent.
The publication is based on the materials of two scientific forums. The English-language part of the book includes updated and partially revised texts of reports presented at the section "Nigeria: 100 Years After Amalgamation", organized within the framework of the XIII International Conference of African Studies, which was held at the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow on May 27-30, 2014.
The Russian-language part includes articles prepared on the basis of reports of participants of the round table "Problems and Prospects of Federalism in Africa", held by the Center for the Study of Tropical Africa of the Institute of African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences on November 12, 2014.
The authors of the collection did not claim to develop and develop a general theory of federalism, however, using African materials, they certainly contributed to the understanding of federalism as a model of governance, the use of which can be justified in the context of the functioning of heterogeneous political systems.
Tracing the fate of federalism on the Black Continent, researchers make a legitimate conclusion that this form of political system serves, as in other parts of the world, to unite individual regions into larger political entities, without encroaching on the identity of the subjects included in the federal structure. In the African version, for a variety of reasons (interethnic and social contradictions, insufficient economic development, conflicts between groups of the political elite, etc.), federalization can "not so much resolve existing conflicts as generate new ones, allowing the use of discriminatory practices and their legitimization" (p. 8).
S. M. Shlenskaya (IAfr), in her article "Some features of the genesis of federalism in the Republic of Madagascar", refers to little-known materials covering the short-lived but vivid federal period of the island's history with "ethnic coloring". The author rightly points out that "the ideas of federalism are preserved and supported by regional elites as a necessary tool for achieving their political and economic goals." At the same time, federal experiments will continue and "be used as an institutional solution to problems related to overcoming the severe consequences of colonialism" (p.23).
In turn, R.N. Ismagilova (Doctor of Historical Sciences, IAfr) ("Ethiopia: Federalism and Traditional Institutions") analyzes the advantages, disadvantages and prospects of ethnic federalism in this African country. The author emphasizes the role of traditional social institutions and structures that retain their significance in modern society. It is very important to conclude that " although the experience of Ethiopia shows that ethno-federalism has not yet led to a significant improvement in the ethno-political situation and easing tensions in interethnic relations, there are some positive ones... achievements: legislative consolidation and transfer of power to the states; creation of local self-government bodies, which makes it possible to solve a significant part of problems, both in the field of preserving ethno-cultural diversity and in establishing interethnic relations; giving the federal center a multicultural character", etc. (p. 41).
T. S. Denisova (Candidate of Historical Sciences, IAfr) in the article "Senegambia: lessons of African Confederalism-
ai " examines - in the context of regional integration processes and in connection with the problems of political leadership-attempts to create confederations on the African continent. Analyzing the prerequisites for the emergence of the Senegambia Confederation in 1982 and the reasons for its collapse in 1989, the author points out the inability of the governments of Senegal and the Gambia to reach an agreement, primarily on economic and monetary issues: "the difficulty of achieving mutual understanding in these areas was largely due to the imbalance in the development of economies", and " inequality in the development of the industrial potentials of the two countries would inevitably lead to a" one-sided game" " (p.70). According to the researcher, the case of Senegambia "showed contradictions between the concepts of African unity and its implementation" (p. 74).
H. M. Turinskaya (Candidate of Historical Sciences, IAfr) ("Quasi-Federalism in Africa: The United Republic of Tanzania") fits the Tanzanian case into a broad African" quasi-federal " context, revealing the hybrid nature of the ORT political system. The author draws attention to the fact that the use of quasi-federalism in Africa is a very popular tool for post-conflict settlement and an alternative to full-scale federalization. One cannot but agree with the author's statement that " quasi-federalism is spoken of in a situation where de jure unitary states approach federal states in terms of the actual content of relations between the center and regions: the basic law of the country guarantees regional autonomy; the principles of decentralization are constitutionally stipulated and come into force in practice..." (p.77).
Meanwhile, as Kh. M. Turinskaya points out, "all African de jure and de facto federal states can be described as quasi-federal systems, since on the Black Continent we see either a "federation without federalism" or a dynamic flow from one form to another "(ibid.). As for ORT, this is, in the author's opinion, perhaps the most "confusing" case, since in the literature this state is called either "unitary" or "federal". Sometimes the union of formerly independent political entities-Tanganyika and Zanzibar-is considered an asymmetric federation, a regional state, or a quasi-federation, given the autonomous status of the archipelago (Zanzibar) relative to the mainland (Tanganyika). The author rightly points out that "asymmetric federalism is sometimes used as a 'last' legal means to 'pacify the regions' and prevent secession "(p.90).
The interesting article "The Amalgamation of Nigeria and the Quest for a Nation" by Igho Natufe (Dr., Research Professor, IAfr) provides critical opinions on the problem of unification of Nigeria and the introduction of a federal system in the former British colony in 1914. The author asks about the meaning of unification and convincingly proves that the individual peoples that the British colonialists tried to consolidate with the union did not lose their sovereignty at all.
Tracing changes in federal practice, Natufe advocates the need for Nigeria to achieve genuine federalism based on the principle of asymmetry, according to which the subjects of the federation could exercise exclusive jurisdiction in key areas of socio-economic development and determine the scope of powers transferred to the central government.
A group of other Nigerian researchers - Itse Sagai (Prof. Law, Lagos), Julius Adekunle (Prof. Monmouth University, USA), Olajide Akanji (Dr, University of Ibadan, Nigeria) and Emmanuel Edjere (Dr, Uyo University, Nigeria) have focused on the centennial-from 1914 to the present-history of federalism in Nigeria.
The authors, in general, agree that in Nigeria there is a noticeable "opportunistic" treatment of the federal idea, its abuse in various socio-economic and political circumstances. They believe that the struggle for power, the marginalization of ethnic groups, inter-confessional differences, and the lack of political literacy among the general population are largely the result of the "vicious alliance" created in 1914.
The main advantage of this paper is its applied nature: the provisions, conclusions and empirical material contained in it can be used in the preparation of training courses on the history, political science and sociology of Africa.
OKEKE Obidozie Afamefuna Andrew, PhD Candidate, Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences
Permanent link to this publication:
LUnited States LWorld Y G