Saine, Abdoulaye. The Paradox of Third-Wave Democratization in Africa: The Gambia under AFPRC-APRC Rule, 1994-2008.

Author:Senghor, Jeggan C.
Position:Book review

Saine, Abdoulaye. The Paradox of Third-Wave Democratization in Africa." The Gambia under AFPRC-APRC Rule, 1994-2008. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2009, 187 pp.

Abdoulaye Saine's book can be divided into three interrelated parts. The first, covering the introduction (chapter 1) and the second chapter, focuses on the purpose of the study and theoretical issues. Regarding the former, the author states his primary concern as to analyze the political history and economic events in The Gambia during the 1994 to 2008 period and to discuss the political economy of the country and the leadership of the incumbent head of state. The specific research questions of interest are (a) the relationship between a poor governance/authoritarian framework and poor leadership and economic growth, development and poverty reduction in peripheral states, and (b) the relationship between leadership crisis and human rights abuses on the one hand and economic outcomes and poverty on the other (p.3).

The theoretical underpinnings discussed in the book revolve around the discourse on the following: good governance and poverty eradication and development; the impact of globalization and integration of peripheral economies into the global economy; poor leadership, poor economic performance and instability; and linkages with the global capitalist system. An extensive survey of the literature on civil-military relations and the causes of coups d'etat reifies the theoretical framework proposed for discussing the Gambian case (chapter 2).

This serves as the analytical context for the second part of the book which focuses on the Gambian experience, starting off with the coup d'etat (July 1994) to the transition programme (1994-1996) and the return to civilian rule (from 1997). It also analyses, in some detail, the 1996 and 2001 presidential elections and addresses the key issue of the predicament of the opposition parties. The section on the state security system is followed by one on the human rights record of the government which the author designates 'the lynchpin' of the book. Accordingly, the subject in all its disaggregated dimensions (political, civil, economic rights) is the subject of robust analysis; the narrative brings out the essentials of the political system and is a firm basis for comparisons with the 'system' in the first republic.

The discussions thereafter on economic policies during the period also include 'Vision 2020', the government's prospective plan for...

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