Synopses & Reviews
This volume advances a slowly coalescing consensus around the imperative to ground discussions of leadership in Africa in the longue duree of the continent's specific history, culture, economy, and politics. It illuminates the conditions under which political leadership in postcolonial Africa has been produced, and the extent to which those conditions have shaped the kind of leaders and leadership paths which have consistently emerged across the continent. More often than not, popular rhetoric on leadership in African politics has tended to swing between the extremes of absolute condemnation or unqualified approval, with leaders themselves little more than a convenient lightning rod, victims of a tedious routine in which snap judgment tends to precede, or at times displace, academic deliberation. In a long-overdue departure, this volume approaches leadership as an intersecting variable, one that influences and is at the same time determined and influenced by the constraints and opportunities of its immediate ecology. In this approach, leadership is as much an analytic model that explains, as it is a conundrum that is presented for elucidation."