Participatory security in Africa

Authored by: Abdulmalik Auwal

The Routledge Handbook of Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency in Africa

Print publication date:  January  2021
Online publication date:  January  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138575394
eBook ISBN: 9781351271929
Adobe ISBN:


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Participatory security has been a central concept in the framing and transformation of governance and development in Africa since its introduction in political development discourses and application on the continent between the late 1980s. This period witnessed a “frustrating transition to civil rule programmes; the limited scope of democratic space in its entire ramification; denial of civil and political rights; and unending economic deprivations as a direct consequence of the IMF/World Bank inspired Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)” (Mohammed, 2010:2). Notwithstanding, these challenges spurred the proliferation of civil organisations and social movements in the African continent to act as whistle-blowers and vanguards against authoritarian regimes and agitation for the return to democracy. The existence of one-party system and prolonged military authorities in the region “consistently wages war against democratic forces and mass organisations” (Agbese, 1997:90); thus, throwing most of the civil groups into a state of confusion. With the return to democratic governance in most of Africa, the strategy of civil society changed from resistance and whistleblowing to that of creating awareness in enhancing citizen participation in the electoral process, increased demands for transparency and accountability, giving voices to most vulnerable and marginalised groups in society, engaging the state to ensure responsible leadership through promoting and consolidating democratic governance among others.

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