By G. Martin

Focusing on person political thinkers and starting with indigenous African political concept, the publication successively examines African nationalism, African socialism, populism and Marxism, Africanism and pan-Africanism, concluding with modern views on democracy, improvement and the African state.

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In the former, administrators appointed by the African leaders resided in the urban centers, while in the second, the peasant majority constituted a source of agricultural labor whose conversion was not considered essential or urgent. Sub-Saharan African rulers and their Muslim advisers attempted to achieve political and social integration on the Islamic model. As the case of the conversion of a king of Malal in the eleventh century—as recounted by al-Bakri and al-Dardjini—clearly illustrates, the exercise of political power by the leader was based on indigenous religion and the consent of the people.

The Muslims were more interested in incorporating non-Muslims into the Islamic state than in their immediate conversion. Thus, while conversion was desirable from a religious point of view, it was not necessary from a political point of view. Over time, the Arab conquest resulted in the Islamization of the majority of the North African population. ”10 I s l a miz atio n o f States and Soci eti es o f th e Wester n and C entral Sudan ( Ei ghth to E ighteenth Century) The Islamization of sub-Saharan Africa was not the result of external conquest by Muslim invaders; rather, it was due to the influence of Muslim Arab merchants.

These systems were based on the rule of law, and the rules and procedures of governance were established by custom and tradition. In these systems, succession was institutionalized in such a way that family, clan, and ethnic competition for power was minimized. The African concept of power fused the secular and the sacred; the leader was both a secular and religious leader, and he acted as intermediary between the living and the dead—between the people and their ancestors. Indigenous African political systems were essentially democratic in the sense that (1) they were based on an elaborate system of checks and balances according to which advisory bodies—such as the Inner or Privy Council and the Council of Elders—acted as effective checks on the potential abuse of power by the leader (chief, king, or emperor) and (2) through the agency of the village assemblies these systems allowed ordinary people to have their voices heard and influence political decision making.

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