Research Articles (Political Science)

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    Kenya’s New Lunatic Express: The Standard Gauge Railway
    (2020-10) Taylor, Ian
    Abstract: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to integrate Africa into an ambitious Chinese-constructed infrastructure network that seeks to link the economies of participating countries to that of China’s. However, serious concerns about its cost for the host countries, the legacy and sustainability—alongside the social and environmental costs—of its projects have raised questions as to its value and long-term future. The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), linking Mombasa to Nairobi and beyond has been portrayed as a centre piece of the BRI in East Africa. Both the Chinese and Kenyan governments have represented the SGR as an example par excellence of Sino- African cooperation and the ubiquitous “win-win” partnerships that this is said to engender. However, serious issues with the SGR in terms of its cost, viability and practicality has meant that it is increasingly being seen within Kenya as an expensive white elephant beset with numerous intractable problems.
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    The 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance : trying to make sense of the late ratification of the African Charter and non-implementation of its compliance mechanism
    (Sage, 2019) Engel, Ulf
    In principle, the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) could be a powerful instrument to bring the African Governance Architecture to life and to help ensure that its universal values, including respect for human rights and the rule of law, are implemented across all African Union member states. Yet how serious in reality are the latter on this question? Ratification of the African Charter has taken five years and, as of late 2019, the implementation of its compliance mechanism is still pending. This article asks how these empirical puzzles can be best addressed. In the absence of robust data on member states’ preferences and with a view to developing hypotheses for further research, this article inductively interrogates how data on the various regimes’ political liberties may or may not relate to the ratification of the African Charter and the implementation of the ACDEG compliance mechanism.
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    A profile of socio-political attitudes and values prevalent under religiously active mainstream Afrikaner elites
    (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 1993) Kinghorn, Johann; Kotze, Hennie
    There is little doubt that South Africa is one of the world’s social test tubes. In many ways it is a microcosm of macro-global issues. This applies equally to an area which is not being studies as much as it should be: the interface of religion with socio-political processes. There can be very few countries where this interface plays in and of itself as significant a role in the general flow of history as in South Africa. Religion – and indeed a very complicated configuration at that – is a social force knowledge without which no adequate understanding of the South African dynamic can be attained. Of course this is a statement often made. However, little empirical evidence and theoretical analysis to support it exists. The purpose of this paper then is to contribute in this area by abstracting one section of the South African configuration – the mainstream Afrikaners. It is to be shown how an entry into this group’s dynamic through a religious filter will allow us not only to understand the interface between religion and society better but will also shed light on the actual political processes.
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    The liberal peace security regimen : a gramscian critique of its application in Africa
    (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, 2018) Taylor, Ian
    Current security regimens are grounded in the advancement of liberal peace. All inter-governmental organizations, most states and most donor agencies more or less accept as common sense the self-evident virtuosity and truth of the liberal peace project. However, there is a profound contradiction within this project in Africa in that while this security regimen might reflect the impulses of a neoliberal hegemony, the very basic foundations of a domestic hegemonic project are in the main wholly absent. Equally, the nature of underdevelopment and dependency in the continent continues to undermine even basic autonomous state formation. These disjunctures mean that there is a distinct contradiction in promoting the current dominant security regimen in post-conflict scenarios in Africa. Instead, the liberal peace needs to be understood as a transnational project aimed at opening up African spaces for continued foreign penetration and exploitation.
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    Christian ethics in South Africa : liberal values among the public and elites
    (Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Theology, 2018) Kotze, Hennie; Loubser, Reinet
    This article uses statistical data from the World Values Survey (WVS) and the South African Opinion Leader Survey to examine liberal values and attitudes among the following samples of South Africans: Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa and isiZulu speaking Protestants, Catholics, African Independent Church (AIC) members and non-religious people (public and parliamentarians). We find that South Africans have softened in their traditionally conservative attitudes toward homosexuality, prostitution, abortion and euthanasia (but not the death penalty). We conclude that the South African public has gradually become more accepting of the liberal values of the constitution (the product of elite-driven transition to liberal democracy). That being said, South Africans have not become liberals as such and many mainline Protestants and members of the AICs (in particular) have remained fairly con-servative in their views. Additionally, elites (parliamentarians) continue to outpace the public with regards to the acceptance of liberal values and practices.