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Designing Viable Republican Constitutions for Modern African States: Why the Institution of Traditional Kingship Must Be Abolished

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Abstract:

In this paper I argue for the adoption of an unmitigated republican constitutional system by modern African nation states as a necessary condition for the realisation of their democratic aspirations. I identify the continued retention of the traditional kingship institution, even in a much whittled down form, as a major impediment to the establishment of full-fledged republics in contemporary Africa. I then argue for the total abolition of the kingship system on the following grounds: (i) that it was founded on historical injustice to begin with, (ii) that it has no relevance or utility to modern African states, and (iii) most importantly, that its continued existence is antithetical to the requirements of a modern democracy. This last point, I take largely for granted. I provide a short elucidation of ‘republicanism’ as a constitutional philosophy. Finally, I suggest some constitutional measures that African nation states may adopt to eradicate the traditional kingship institution and thereby ensure the survival and flourishing of their republics.

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