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By Fitzroy Ambursley

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Structurally, the African single-party apparatus did not, despite some use of Leninist models, prove to be a strong instrument of mobilisation and social transformation. Rather, the partystate has been authoritarian within its domain, but its domain has been relatively limited. African militaries are certainly not the relatively professionalised, bureaucratic, and development-oriented militaries of the 'new' authoritarianism in current Latin American states. More often they resemble early Latin American caudillismo.

First, I sketch out the notion of an early modern patrimonial administrative state. Such states are, with few exceptions, authoritarian in nature. Next I analyse a similar form of rule in nineteenth-century Latin America, as well as its most interesting democratic exception - Chile. I then apply the argument to Nigeria under both authoritarian and democratic rule, stressing the nature of politics, the role of the military, the tensions between liberty and equality, and the impact of what is characterised as the 'ideology of development'.

49 Where shall we look for the signs of intellectual and political synthesis which would signify the emergence of a new democracy? Where have the forms of developmental democracy begun to take shape? Every national workshop bears inspection, for each, in its own way, contributes to the aggregate of democratic knowledge and practice. Consider Zimbabwe, where revolutionary socialists in power prepare to terminate a transitional period of liberal government in favour of a more restrictive, one-party political formula.

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