Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Management of Political Power and Consequences in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Solution Outline

Written By

Akmel Meless Siméon

Submitted: 11 October 2018 Reviewed: 22 March 2019 Published: 09 September 2020

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.85998

From the Edited Volume

Off and Online Journalism and Corruption - International Comparative Analysis

Edited by Basyouni Ibrahim Hamada and Saodah Wok

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The objective of this study is to analyse the management of political power and its consequences in sub-Saharan Africa. To achieve this, we have been interested in two countries of the subregion, Burkina Faso and Mali, because of demonstrations, repressions and crises linked to elections. The study also concerns the Odjukru society, because it has a democratic political system. Both qualitative and quantitative works present the results of the field. It explains the democratic deficit through corruption, despotism, arbitrary arrests, etc. The study also analyses the consequences of poor governance (health and agro-economic problems). It finally describes a traditional Odjukru institution, Ɛb-eb, and shows how it can help in the rooting of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa.


  • power management
  • democratic deficit
  • traditional democratic institution (Ɛb-eb)
  • consequence
  • sub-Saharan Africa

1. Introduction

This article deals with the management of power and its consequences in sub-Saharan Africa. The matter of the administration of the city in Africa is a thorny problem that concerns many actors.1 In the aftermath of independence, the people of sub-Saharan Africa, fresh out of the colonial yoke, showed their joy. Unfortunately this enthusiasm turned into a nightmare, as some leaders chose to perpetuate themselves in power bypassing democratic rules. Also, the repression and the gerrymandering of the constitutions have become a mode of management, thus causing socio-political crises. To this situation, the coups of states, the rigging of elections, tribalism and other ills that plague African societies have been added. On this issue, Igue [1] shows that African countries with enlightened leadership have undergone advanced development, while those who are immersed in obscurantism languish in poverty and victims of poor management of the city. Lopes [2] portrays the situation of discomfort experienced by the people, through the mythical history of a veteran, who made war in Algeria in the year 1960. Returning to the country, he went into rebellion and took part in a coup organized by young officers. He was appointed Minister of Defence and had great ambitions in this post, when he was suddenly sent as ambassador to Algeria by a ministerial reshuffle.

Mali and Burkina Faso, which live at the pace of independent (modern) countries, are facing the same situation, which is not the case for traditional societies, including Lodjukru. These communities are of interest to the study for several reasons:

  • The existence of a democratic deficit. In fact, repeated crises, conflicts, ethnic wars, confiscation of power, arbitrary imprisonment, corruption, health and agro-economic problems indicate that democracy is heavily rooted in sub-Saharan Africa particularly in those countries.

  • Ɛb-eb, an instrument of good governance. In the Lodjukru, power is passed down from generation to generation without competition and without violence, in a peaceful way, which justifies the stability of the city. The Ɛb-eb, a traditional democratic institution, appears as a blueprint for a solution to poor governance in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. From these observations follows a series of questions from a series of questions, the main one being “How can Ɛb-eb, a traditional Odjukru institution, address the democratic deficit, which has caused adverse consequences in sub-Saharan Africa?”

To this research question, the following questions are related are related to secondary issues: “What are the determinants of the democratic deficit?” “What are the consequences for people?” “What strategy do Odjukru use to stabilize their cities?” The objective of this study is to explain the poor governance and the role of Ɛb-eb in democratic management in sub-Saharan Africa. The thesis supported is “The traditional institution Odjukru can contribute to good governance in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa”.

Burkina Faso,2 Mali3 and Lodjukru4 are our areas of investigation. The choice of these localities is linked to political instability (repeated coups, repressions of demonstrations, etc.) on the one hand, and the existence of a traditional, saving democratic institution is unknown on the other hand. Respondents are selected according to the criteria including availability, knowledge of crises and their consequences. We have made a sensible choice, because we are talking about targeting the resource people who are able to educate us more. In total, 102 respondents, men and women, are concerned with the study. The documentary analysis, the semi-directive interview and the questionnaire were mobilized to collect the information. The deepening of the results necessitated dialectic and comparative methods to understand the persistence of socio-political crises. The theory of resilience allows, through the traditional institution (Ɛb-eb), to circumvent the evil governance in sub-Saharan Africa.


2. The democratic deficit and its consequences in the study areas

2.1 The determinants of the democratic deficit

This part of the study identifies the factors related to poor governance. To achieve this, we approached the respondents in these terms: “Why do crises persist in your country?” “What are the disadvantages?” Here are some of the answers obtained:

Before coming to power, politicians hold sycophancy words. But when they’re elected, they make it their own. The people so pampered do not represent anything to their eyes. When they have to leave, it is the refusal and we drag in power.5

Today, history gives reason to this Frenchman and it is a pity. Africa is really not ripe for democracy. People who consider themselves to be intellectuals and the future of the country behave like vulgar characters. And that is unfortunate. It’s power for power. Even if they are unpopular, they still cling.6

The question arises as to whether the politicians are in power for us or not. They look at themselves as earthenware dogs. They’re interested in their belly. We use the people as sheep of panurge. People are standing up against each other for petty interests; if not how to understand the socio-political crisis? While some are enriched, the housewife’s basket shrinks considerably.7 We do not talk about the force shots. The country is champion in this matter, all because politicians are obsessed by power for power. Violence thus becomes a means of accession to power. The consequences are dramatic. Everywhere, there are deaths, the wounded, the destruction of public buildings, the mass displacement of people, famine and other disasters. In addition, favouritism, corruption, poor governance and unemployment are common to African countries without exception.8 The analysis stems from two comments:

  • The first component concerns the determinants of the democratic deficit. Through the written, oral and lived experiences, we distinguish the coups of states and the authoritarian drifts. The facts concur and confirm our assertion. In Mali, the first coup d’etat was recorded in 1968. Becoming president, the power of Kamani has turned into a single authoritarian party. He had a constitution adopted by “referendum” in 1969 and tolerated only one party, his US-RDA. In order to prevent possible subversions, leaders have set up popular militias framed by the party, which unfortunately is gnawed, 3 years later by internal quarrels. The promises of departure have turned into illusions, because they have never been respected. Taking advantage of the deteriorating socio-political situation and economic difficulties, a coup d’état led by young officers of the Malian army overthrew Kamani on 19 November 1968 [3]. After their seizure of power, the putschists abolished the constitution and founded the Military Committee for National Liberation (CMLN), which became the supreme organ of the country. In the days following the putsch, Moussa Traoré, a strong new man, promised in a communiqué a democratic regime, individual freedoms, trade unions, multipartism and free elections [4]. Instead, it is authoritarianism, dictatorship during the 23 years of management of power without sharing the reign of terror. Moussa Traoré adopted a new constitution on 2 June 1974 by referendum with the Stalinist score of 99% of the votes. He imposes the passage to the Second Republic and endowed the country with a single party, a national assembly and a president elected by universal suffrage for 5 years, which was already all found. No contradiction was tolerated. Annoying political opponents were arrested and eliminated. Thus, after his arrest and detention in Kidal (northeast), Keïta died on 16 May 1977, at the age of 62 years, under dubious circumstances. Yarra Dhar suffered the same fate in 1973. On 16 March 1980, the general secretary of the UNEEM,9 Abdoul Karim Camara, better known as “Cabral”, was arrested. On 22 March 1991, during the demonstrations organized in his memory, the situation escalated. Lieutenant-Colonel Amadou Touré (ATT) overthrew Moussa Traoré [5], who became president in 2002, but was deposed in 2012 before the end of his term by Captain Amadou Haya Salah, “third coup of state” [6].

Burkina Faso, “the country of men with integrity”, was not spared. Indeed, on 3 January 1966, 6 years after the independence of the country, Maurice Yaméogo, the first president of the Republic of Upper Volta, was overthrown by Abdoulaye Sangoulé Lamizana, who was in turn deposited on 25 November 1980 by Colonel Sayé Zerbo. On 7 November 1982, Doctor-Commander Jean Baptiste Ouedraogo overturned Sayé Zerbo and became the head of the state at the helm of the People’s Salvation Committee. Thomas Sankara laid down Jean Baptiste Ouedraogo on 4 August 1983. On 15 October 1987, Thomas Sankara was overthrown by soldiers under the direction of Captain Blaise Compaoré, his brother-in-arms. He died in circumstances not yet elucidated. He fell, following a popular uprising on 31 October 2014. On the night of September 16 to 17, 2015, Gilbert Diendéré took the lead of a coup of state and evicted the president of the transition Michel Kafando, before returning power, following the external pressures [7].

These data raise the issue of governance in African countries. Indeed, democracy borrowed from the West is being harmed, because the principles attached to it are trampled on by leaders. Of the Greek demos (people) and kratos (power, authority), democracy generally refers to the political regime whose principle is that of the government of the people by the people and for the people [8]. He is the only legitimate holder of sovereignty, absolute and perpetual power, which he delegates to representatives through elections, with a view to better management of the state. Democracy is based on fundamental principles, including individual freedom, which is a right of everyone, to act independently without arbitrary measures. In the context of the study, freedom of opinion is not always respected. Yet at the international level, it is associated with freedom of expression and is the subject of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) [9]:

Every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, which implies the right not to be concerned for his opinions and that of seeking, receiving and disseminating, without considerations of borders, information and ideas by any means of expression whatsoever.

The claims of the freedoms are confiscated, though protests are constantly banned and suppressed in blood, which reaches the spirit of democracy. If this fundamental right is flouted, the electoral challenges also confirm the democratic deficit in those countries. Inseparable from democracy, election became a democratic rite [10]. It is the subject of international recognition, as the right to take part in the public affairs’ branch of its country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives, is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.10

In many countries such as Mali, voices are rising11 to denounce unsavoury practices aimed at the rigging of elections. Civil society and NGOs are inviting themselves into the debate in order to ensure transparency in the elections [11]. This situation raises the question of the credibility of the results in Africa. In the aftermath of independence, in the single party, elections were everywhere supervised by the Ministry of the Interior, which had the possibility of filling the ballot boxes and thus manipulating the data. We therefore understand the Soviet or Stalinist scores proclaimed after the elections (99.98%) in countries of the subregion. The practices and strategies for confiscating power have not changed war today. More than 50 years after independence, the so-called independent electoral commissions having replaced the Ministry of the Interior are corrupt, which justifies the challenges at each deadline. This practice violates one of the fundamental principles of the separation of powers enunciated by Montesquieu [12]: In order to be able not to abuse power, it is necessary that, by the disposition of things, power should stop power:

The electoral litigation yesterday revered, today electoral litigation yesterday revered, today is in trial. Indeed, instead of being a factor of appeasement of conflicts by an impartial settlement of electoral disputes, it offers the image of a field mined by corruption with an dependence on politics and jurisprudence on “eclipses”. This “indecent” environment has created a public disaffection with regard to electoral litigation. This explains, moreover, the involvement of the international community in the process whose processes in place to guarantee electoral credibility and peace roughly compete with the electoral litigation with mixed successes [13].

Since 2000, elections have been held in almost all African countries. The existence of formal electoral processes does not prevent certain family dynasties from persisting. In addition, many elections are fraught with violence, and election crises can sometimes be resolved only by unsatisfactory power-sharing agreements [14]. Excerpts from newspapers confirm the reservations concerning the credibility of the results of the electoral commissions.

Legislative annulment in Divo and Kouibly: The Constitutional Council and the CIS reject the fault [15]:

Ex-vice president of the CIS angry after his defeat: A major fraud team led by a trio of ministers has settled. I do not intend to fly [16].

24 h after the decisions of the Constitutional Council, a former vice-president of the CEI: it is an electoral scandal, of the ministers accused [17].

Babo [18] also questioned the need to hold presidential elections in Africa. For him, a question of the political model imposed by the West, too costly in money and in life, is necessary.

  • The second remark concerns the impact of poor governance on the society.

2.2 The consequences of the democratic deficit

Numerous in the study areas, they are perceptible at the social and agro-economic level. The respondent’s words are eloquent, because they summarize the dramatic situation caused by evil governance:

We don’t talk about the force shots. The country is champion in this matter, all because politicians are obsessed by power for power. Violence thus becomes a means of accession to power. The consequences are dramatic. The deaths, the wounded, the destruction of public buildings, the mass displacement of populations, the famine and the emergence of metabolic diseases (diabetes, vascular heart accident, high blood pressure). In addition, favouritism, corruption, poor governance and unemployment are common to African countries without exception.12

The above data indicate the actual existence of discomfort situations. In Mali, Modibo Kéita died in detention under conditions never elucidated. Yoro Diakité13 and Abdoul Karim Camara14 suffered the same fate. In Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara15 disappeared tragically. On 30 October 2014, tens of thousands of demonstrators descended into the suburbs of Ouagadougou [19].

The consequences of the democratic deficit are shared by several West African countries. This is the case with Côte d’ivoire. Indeed, the socio-political crisis of 19 September 2002 to 11 April 2011, linked to the frantic quest for power, has made more than 3000 deaths, not to mention the destruction of public and private property. Food, water, gas, deaths due to drug shortages and diseases such as typhoid and cholera are part of the disasters caused by the democratic deficit. Patients suffering from metabolic diseases (diabetes, stroke, hypertension) have seen their health worsen. Indeed, the complexity of the crisis, because of its political ramifications, has caused a situation of discomfort. An embargo by the European Union has suffocated the country. The health system has been deprived of medicines indispensable to the care of the sick. In the face of this difficulty, saturated emergencies are overwhelmed with patients. There are many families whose parents have relatives have succumbed to their illness due to lack of medication. These respondents confirm:

During the crisis that shook our country after the 2010 presidential election, we saw a lot of disappointing things. The Westerners have caused the death of several patients with diabetes, hypertension, cardiac accident for nothing. How can one be foolish, to the point of being insensitive to the suffering of innocent people? An embargo on drugs is never seen before. Sick people died because of poorly enlightened politicians.16

Peace is trampled underfoot leaving free field to hatred and interethnic conflicts fuelled by politicians guided by a single concern, power. The internal refugees and those who fled the violence to meet in Ghana, Guinea, Togo and Benin are counted by the thousands. The patients, victims of trauma, swarm in the health centres. Everyone for all, all for all, God for all or acting solidarity has given way to everyone for himself, God for all.

Rwanda had also suffered the agony of the democratic deficit [20]. The United Nations [21] estimates that about 800,000 people, mostly Tutsi, lost their lives during these 3 months. Those among the Hutus who showed solidarity with the Tutsis were killed as traitors to the Hutu cause. For a hundred of days, it was the fastest genocide in history and the largest in the number of deaths per day. The story of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was confused with that of Nigeria. Leader of the rebellion, he was for two and a half years (30 May 1967–8 January 1970) the self-proclaimed president of the secessionist region (Biafra) at the cost of hundreds of thousands of deaths [22].

If the dead are of life is recorded throughout Africa, the manifest willingness of some leaders to change the constitution in order to perpetuate themselves in power or position and their children as heirs also justifies the democratic deficit and its consequences:

In Africa, however, it is generally difficult to admit that the Constitution, even a liberal one, guarantees democratic life. The rulers seem to be above the constitutions they despise, as they do of the peoples they govern. They seem to be accountable only to old metropolises and international institutions. The diagnosis of evil has already been made, but the causes have rarely been seriously sought [23].

The force shots negatively affected the agriculture and the economy of these countries. In Burkina Faso, as it was to be expected, the force shot perpetrated on 17 September 2015 by the National Council for Democracy (CND) had many economic repercussions due to the cessation of activities in 10 days. According to the Extraordinary Council of Ministers of 28 September 2015, the losses amount to more than 50 billion FCFA. As a result, the government must turn to the partners to fill this gap, in order to close the budget year and to face the new challenges engendered by the coup. The elections scheduled in October 2015 were no longer relevant. The government intends to step up security measures. The extension of the transition already seems in the line of fire. According to the government, the force shot led to adverse consequences. If there are losses in human lives and social injuries, the general strike of the workers has led to the paralysis of all activities at the economic level, for several days. The work stoppage caused a slowdown in production in the business sectors, particularly the secondary and tertiary sectors, with direct consequences of less than 0.3% growth on public finances. According to the figures provided by the Minister of Economy and Finance, in terms of taxes, the recovery losses incurred during the coup period were estimated at about 11 billion CFA francs. In terms of customs revenue, they are estimated at about CFAF 9.7 billion; in terms of cash, direct losses amount to CFAF 30.80 billion. If the losses are huge at the macro level, they are also huge at the micro level.

In Ouagadougou, for example, fishmongers and bakeries have seen their goods rot due to lack of customers. With the curfew which is fixed at 19 h, night workers (marquis, restaurants, etc.) have recorded many losses. The traders of Rood-woko who are supplied with various products, thinking to do good business in the approach of the festival of the Tabaski, had to disillusion. Customers are without money; that is to say, the future is hard enough for Burkinabe. Depending largely on external aid, the state will still turn to the partners. In 2014, economic activity slowed down considerably, with GDP growth estimated at only 4% compared to more than 6% in previous years. The decline in economic activity was caused by the fall in international prices of the country’s two export commodities (gold and cotton); by the repercussions of the Ebola crisis in the region, which has disrupted the tourism sectors and services; and by the popular uprising of October 30 and 31. The sharp drop in tax revenues, combined with an increase in the wage bill, required a sharp reduction in public investment spending.

It has thus compromised the implementation of the government’s accelerated Strategy for Growth and Sustainable Development (SCADD). With this new blood loss of 50 billion, the economic equilibrium is questioned. It will be necessary to quickly find alternatives for economic recovery [24].

Mali is not spared. At the time of independence, the country was a net exporter of cereals. The 1970s, marked by a series of catastrophic droughts and a growing share of local needs, was filled with international food aid and imports. At the same time, the Office of Agricultural Products of Mali (OPAM) held the legal monopoly of grain marketing [25]. With the force shot on 19 November 1968, bringing Moussa Traoré to power, the first measures taken by the military government in economic matters were the dismantling of collective fields and the removal of monopoly OPAM. Indeed, this structure had accumulated huge deficits (20.4 billion CFA francs in 1981). It only bought less than 5% of local production. This situation explains the pressure of the main donors of food aid for a reform of the grain market. Negotiations between the Malian government and the donors culminated in 1981 with the establishment of the Program for Restructuring the Cereal Market (PRMC).

In 1980, a report by the World Bank drew up a fairly damning picture of the situation of the Malian economy. It considers that the structure of the Malian economy, with a state orientation, is characterized by a series of complex mechanisms of transfer. About 90% of the country’s budgetary resources guarantee employment for only a tiny fraction of the Malian workforce in a parastatal state sector. This relatively privileged part of the population benefits almost alone from an assured supply of consumer goods. Resources do not come only from the rural world but from all productive activities that are potentially more profitable. They are unable to borrow and invest. “In the end, all the internal mechanisms of the Malian economy function in the sense of a withdrawal of resources from the poor to the nonpoor and from productive to non-productive” [26].

Comparative analysis shows that Africa, particularly Saharan countries, suffers from poor governance. As a result, one question comes back as a leitmotiv: “Is Africa ripe for democracy?” To this question concern, an anticipated response seems to be found. In the early 1990, Jacques Chirac stated: “Democracy is a luxury for Africa”. Insult or reality? On the question, part of the intelligentsia felt offended, infantilized, ridiculed and humiliated. Great was the emotion, what more normal. But the observation of daily life and political events in Africa has finally convinced us that democracy is modelled on the Western model. Indeed, did the French state17 not mandate Pierre Mazeaud18 to write the constitutions of Chad, Togo and Niger? How many African countries are exempt? Despite their importance, they are difficult to swallow as pills administered to patients for the simple reason that they are inadequate. This is the justification of Kyelem’s thesis [23]:

Despite their beautiful mount, African constitutions are totally alien to the peoples of Africa. They are products of the Westernized elite, destined for its own contemplation and to reassure the international community of its fidelity in the mimicry. The Constitution in Africa is usually a legal varnish making up a personal or oligarchic power.

The daily experience of traditional societies shows that democracy is not in exile in Africa. Many anthropologists, including [27], have indicated the major role they can play in democratic advancement. The Odjukru sample is an illustration of this.


3. Ɛb-eb: a traditional institution serving democracy in Africa

This part of the study describes Ɛb-eb and explains its link with good governance. It is of Odjukru invention. In the village of Armɛbɛ, here are three cycles of Abrmâ, between 1800 and 1831, and three rich notables of the age-class Nigbesi decided to offer food and drink to the people in order to obtain their blessing on their reign. The initiative of the group would have become a custom and then an institution with the accreditation and organization introduced by the assembly of the age classes [28]. This tradition, which leaves unclear the names of the authors, the process of institutionalization and the first modalities of diffusion, remains the first at least to attest to the endogeneity of a large sociocultural institution among Odjukru. The place of birth of the latter can be placed at the penultimate site of Armɛbɛ, near Aklodj-Ɛb-Sig-Ɛm, a rare village to be preserved, in the old form of the ritual. How is Ɛb-eb organized?

It is every 8 years after the initiation of an age class that the ceremonies of the coronation take place. Opened after the initiation of the third subclass kata in the small rainy season, it follows from village to village, 2 years in a row, following the same traditional order. The coronation obeyed several stages, including the offering of attieke. The first obligation of the candidates towards the village is the offering of food and drink. The offering of the political investiture varies in terms of distribution from one locality to another. It goes to the whole village, except the outgoing rulers, the nomination contestants and the uninitiated. It is after this common meal that the calendar of ceremonies is stopped. From the initiation announcing the season of the coronation, the candidates are called to remain in the village. Distant voyages are outlawed. After the offering of attieke, there will be more productive activity. The period of war already begins.

The second retreat is solemnly formalized on the consecrated day. The news is spreading in all the villages. The day before, from everywhere, the parents bring to the candidate the most splendid pieces of loincloths, adornments and ornaments of the family patrimony. Children, grandchildren and friends address food, drink, toiletries, an emulation of love, piety and generosity. A great Jaj19 formerly accompanied the retreat. Returning to the interior of the houses, with the fall of the night, the candidates will officially appear at the Agora only to undergo the investiture. Retirement lasts at least a week; every day, superb and varied toilets, good food and price drinks. In the various courses, songs and dance often commanded from distant villages; every night and every morning, big drum praising the village and exalting the great men. How do the candidates receive the coronation of the ruler?

The day of the exit is that of the coronation itself. Four acts fulfil it: The installation of the candidates and the arrival of the outgoing rulers, the speeches, the ceremony of the coronation and the Declaration of Rights. In the afternoon under the excitement of the hero, the drum, active at dawn, begins the ceremony. In the large place, chairs, whose transport can be an obligatory service of the subordinate age class, are prepared, rich and royal, by the families. Adorned with their most splendid loincloths, lavishly covered with gold, the candidates come as kings of the Akan model, surrounded by singing artists, Kokoba,20 praising friends and relatives. At the entrance to the central street, the district greets them and leads them to the main square, where they settle down, under the repeated salute of the drum, while their courtiers of the day reward the drummers with a rain of silver coins. Following the same procedure, the whole village accompanies the arrival of the rulers at the end of the year. The protocol that opens up any great political assembly takes place with solemnity, first the protocol that opens up any great political assembly takes place. At the sound of the drum, the autobiographical speeches, where each candidate praises his lineage are heard. According to the odjukru, it’s Nɛɲ-idj or the art of boasting.

Three rites make the liturgy of the coronation during the liturgy of the coronation. The first rite is the perception of rights. Each candidate carries out the ultimate right in drink and money, the amount of which varies from one place to another. The second rite is religious invocation. Taking to witness God (Fonjamba) and the Earth (wus), the dean of the age of outgoing rulers passes power as his class has received, entrusts the country to the cadets and demands for their longevity and wisdom “that they are masters of power and that they assume it”, but not that the power is their master and assumes them (Ɛb-kidrɛl). He seeks for the earth tenderness and prosperity; for women, fertility and virtue; and for the village, peace and wealth. The strained drink, first to the sky, flows on the nourishing Earth. The third and final rite is the coronation (fƐfritm). In large communities, a large age class can receive a collective sacrament in the person of its oldest age. But usually the coronation is individual. The officiant takes a pinch of kaolin in the personal container of each candidate. With the right finger, he punctuates the forehead of the recipient, between the two eyebrows arches, the place of the moral conscience. Then with a second pinch of kaolin, he paints the candidate’s right wrist in the direction of the forearm towards the hand.

Finally, he raises with both hands the arms of the consecrated who, docile, rises consecrated who, gets up full length, docile, before sitting down. At Usr-B, the insignias of power are then handed to them: a machete (Lab), symbol of work and war; a cane (kpamâ), symbol of the supreme authority; and finally a tiara of twigs (Arakp), symbol of justice and peace. This day in Aklodj-A the recipients offer salt, symbol of communion and union, to all the women of the village. The accession of an age class to power, in relation to the retirement of the former governing promotion and the rise of a young promotion, leads to changes in the political apparatus and the acquisition of new statutes. That is why the elders at the end of the investiture or later formally restate the Charter of Rights and Duties of the age classes. Holders of power, the Ɛbebu, assume the effective direction of political and religious functions. They invoke the gods and ancestors in the ordinary ceremonies, which must guarantee the prosperity, the fertility, the peace and the independence of the country. After each coronation, a collective hunt is carried out in their honour. The Ɛbebu has the right that any speech be suspended upon their arrival and taken over once they are seated. Alone, they are entitled to a chair in assembly. On the death of a Ɛbebu (father of the village), the inhabitants, during a great parade (Jaj), sack the goods (cultures and animals) that his blessing has made prosper on Earth. Finally, because they embody the village (baηn) and are unproductive, they spend their time keeping it. The rulers in exercise respond to the significant salvation of Bahn Kwa or salvation village [28].

The term ɛb-eb comes from the word ɛb (village, city) and from the verb eb (caring, caring for), which literally means accepting the society. It is an action of gratitude to the city which saw the birth of the individual and which gave him everything. Clearly, it is the management of power. In the modern society in the democratic mimicry, the question of power rhymes with competition. Old and young are embarking on the race to the supreme judiciary. As we have already mentioned, it is largely enamelled by serious incidents (casualties, deaths, destruction of public buildings). The parties involved in the presidential election, who became enemies rather than opponents, fought fiercely for power. The policy perceived as the art of governing has evolved in the battlefield. The structures responsible for organizing the elections are biased and accused of jamming of ballot boxes and of the rigging of results. This situation of discomfort destroys the social cohesion.

The Lodjukru makes another reading of the transmission of power. Two age classes are involved in the political system. The first one holds the power. The second class (cadet) is the one who receives the insignia of power. It is after 8 years of management of the city that the age class at the end of the term, holder of the authority, gives power to the class that succeeds him during the ceremony of the Ɛb-eb. No election is organized for this purpose. It is true that written texts relating to the transmission of power do not exist in Odjukru countries, like the traditional African societies. However, they are recorded in drums (Brem) and collective memories. As a result, young people to the old, each social category is educated and trained on the issue of governance. The transmission is therefore descending (elder to cadets) and is mainly done through the age classes. Unlike modern democracy, power is transmitted without arguments. The age group at the end of the term is aware that it no longer has the political authority. As a result, she is required to return power to the class that succeeds her, without bloodshed. The passing is in a festive, cordial, fraternal atmosphere, because the main objective to be achieved is the prosperity and stability of the city. In Odjukru countries, power does not fight; it is transmitted in a peaceful way. Coups and attempts at usurpation are prohibited, because the populations, all categories combined, have a democratic culture. Age classes know that they will necessarily be in power. Therefore, the struggle for power appears as a nonsense, a haste or even a social disorder. It disintegrates the society. Through this attitude, the society teaches the individual certain values, including respect for the fundamental texts (the Constitution), patience, self-giving and values trampled upon in the modern African democracies.

Like the great democracies, there is a separation of power. He′s a legal guarantor. The odjukru knows, like Montesquieu [12], that the spirit Odjukru knows that the spirit of inequality leads democracy to the aristocracy or to the government of one and the spirit of extreme equality leads to the despotism of one, as the despotism of only one ends with conquest. To avoid confusion of powers and choose representatives of the age class, various virtues including good morality, self-giving and dual vision are required by the sages, holders of gérontocratique power. Thus, the milͻwl21 provides the executive, and the mbwa22 represents the legislature, when the Aɲâ23 exercises the role of the judiciary. The distribution of responsibilities aims to prevent the promoted actors from becoming corrupt by implementing laws that are favourable to them. Of course, people are chosen to act on behalf of the age class. However, no decision is made without the consent of the members of the group. Clearly, power management is collegial. The cyclical administration of power can inspire modern societies facing a democratic deficit, which is justified in the first chapter of the study. Like the United States, where two parties (Republicans and Democrats) occupy and animate the political scene, the multitude recorded in Africa can be grouped into two major entities, to exercise a mandate of five renewable ones, cyclically. This provision will prevent coups of states and prevent attempts to confiscate power.


4. Conclusion

The reflection on the democratic management of the cities shows how complex this reality is and remains an essential concern of today’s African societies. The hypothesis of the three zones (Burkina Faso, Mali, Lodjukru) studied is therefore not fortuitous. The observation of the facts and the analysis of the data made it possible to identify different socio-political crises due to a democratic deficit. Thus, demonstrations on the deprivation of liberty, poor living and working conditions are part of the daily lives of the people. Repressions, most often bloody, are recorded in the countries raised. In addition to this, there are contested elections due to poor organizational conditions (ballot jams, result-rigging), thus causing poor governance and autocratic management. This situation of discomfort shows the inadequacy of democracy, modelled on the west, and the democratic inculture of the leaders. Good governance is not in exile in Africa. The example of Lodjukru, through the Ɛb-eb, is an illustration, because the transmission of power is peaceful. In short, if the countries of sub-Saharan Africa have a poor governance, circumvented in Odjukru countries, democracy in this region of Africa requires a profound analysis to adapt it to the sociocultural context of our societies.


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  • NGO, Researchers.
  • Independent country since 5 August 1960 under the name of Upper Volta and renamed Burkina Faso in 1984; Surface: 274 200 km²; Population: 19 512 533 inhabitants (en 2016); Capital Ouagadougou.
  • Independent country since 22 September 1960; Surface: 1 241 238 km²; Population: 14.5 million inhabitants (en 2010); Capital: Bamako.
  • Lower Cote d’Ivoire ; Surface: 2260 km²; Population: 148874 inhabitants; Chief Place: Dabou.
  • T.C, Teacher, 42 years old, Malian.
  • A.Y, State agent, 33 years old, Burkinabé.
  • D.L, Trading agent, 51 years old, Malian.
  • P.H, health worker, 40 years old, Burkinabé ; M.K, Teacher, 50 years old, Malian.
  • National Union of students of Mali.
  • Article 21.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • The Observatory for elections and good governance, a Malian NGO that has developed an expertise in the electoral field and good democratic governance since 1996.
  • P.H, health worker, 40 years old, Burkinabé ; M.K, Teacher, 50 years old, Malian.
  • A collaborator of Moussa Traoré, he was arrested in 1971 and also died in detention in 1973 under mysterious conditions.
  • Secretary General of the UNEEM, tortured dies in prison in the same year.
  • President, Founding father of the term ‘Burkina Faso’, dies tragically, in conditions never elucidated.
  • G.K, Ivorian, Employed in a company.
  • Event (french weekly journal) n°604, Thursday, may 30th, 1996.
  • President of National Assembly commissionof laws.
  • Military parade.
  • The Griot.
  • It’s the President of age Group.
  • The concept designates the Herault.
  • He raises the sessions.

Written By

Akmel Meless Siméon

Submitted: 11 October 2018 Reviewed: 22 March 2019 Published: 09 September 2020