Friday, August 9, 2013

How does African constitutional monarchy compare with constitutional monarchy in Europe?


How does African constitutional monarchy compare with constitutional monarchy in Europe?

Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II argues that most countries in Africa are already practising what we know as sub-national monarchy, while just a few with constitutional monarchy system already in place. Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II has a vision for the future for African countries to one day embrace the idea of constitutional monarchy as an institution whose objectives are to play a supporting role to any democratically elected government. With the aim to establish trade, restore dignity and integrity, symbolism and economic development.
Coat of Arms of HSH Prince Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II

This article is aimed at bringing forth the experiences that African countries already have and compare them with the successes of those European countries who have established constitutional monarchies. AFRICA has a rich history when it comes to the monarchy system, and yes there were negatives in the past but surely a lot of positives as well. It is from such experiences that Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II argues the fact that constitutional monarchy in this modern democracy is the key to any country’s success in every aspect of governance.

African History: On Constitutional Monarchy

According to history, Africa had dynasties throughout the continent whose origins date back from the eleventh or twelfth centuries. Take for instance Ethiopia: Haile Selassie I, born Tafari Mokonnen Woldemikael was Ethiopia’s regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. He was the heir to a dynasty that traced its origins by tradition from King Solomon and Queen Makeda. Empress of Axum, known in the Abrahamic tradition as the Queen of Sheba. Haile Selassie is a defining figure in both Ethiopia and African history.

At the League of Nations in 1936, the Emperor condemned the use of chemical weapons by Italy against his people during the second Italo-Ethiopian war. His internationalist views led to Ethiopia becoming a charter member of the United Nations, and his political thought and experience in promoting multilateralism and collective security have proved seminal and enduring. His suppression of rebellions among the nobles (mekwannint), as well as what some western critics perceived to be Ethiopia’s failure to modernise adequately, earned him criticism among some contemporaries and historians.

Haile Selassie introduced Ethiopia's first written constitution on 16 July 1931, providing for a bicameral legislature. The constitution kept power in the hands of the nobility, but it did establish democratic standards among the nobility, envisaging a transition to democratic rule: it would prevail "until the people are in a position to elect themselves. The constitution limited the succession to the throne to the descendants of Haile Selassie, a point that met with the disapprobation of other dynastic princes, including the princes of Tigrai and even the emperor's loyal cousin, Ras Kassa Haile Darge.

In 1932, the Kingdom of Jimma was formally absorbed into Ethiopia following the death of King Abba Jifar II of Jimma.

Emperor Haile Selassie famous quotes, “A house built on granite and strong foundations, not even the onslaught of pouring rain, gushing torrents and strong winds will be able to pull down. Some people have written the story of my life representing as truth what in fact derives from ignorance, error or envy; but they cannot shake the truth from its place, even if they attempt to make others believe it”.

Extract from Emperor’s speech addressing the United Nations in 1963, “That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained and until the ignoble but unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique, and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and goodwill; until all Africans stand and speak as free human beings, equal in the eyes of the Almighty; until that day, the African continent shall not know peace. We Africans will fight if necessary and we know that we shall win as we are confident in the victory of good over evil”.
English translation of 1963 Speech delivered to the United Nations and popularized in a song called "War" by Bob Marley.
“Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgement in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgement”.
Emperor’s address to the League of Nations, 1936.

It is with such leadership of the past that make individuals like Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II argue that Africa can rise up and draw inspiration from the past and change the future by the way of constitutional monarchy. The wars and political intolerance that we currently see in the African continent could be the thing of the past if constitutional monarchy as an institution is in place.

Relevance of African traditional institutions of governance:

In 2007, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) published a very enlightening report named “Relevance of African tradition institutions of governance” on the impact of the native traditional kings and chiefs of Africa. The main facts and observations showed monarchy to be superior and beneficial generally around. The following items were garnered from this report. The thirteen major findings were that native traditional kings and chiefs were a great advantage to the life of the people, not to perfection, but a definite improvement. It showed that invented or imposed chieftaincies were largely unsuccessful, where the traditional ones thrived and prospered.
Some of the real advantages were because these kings and chiefs were like fathers to the people and promoted and enhanced greater general moral and satisfaction, because they treasure the following:
·         Traditional democracy principles and practices,
·         Strengthened human rights and freedoms,
·         Promote greater fairness,
·         Cohesion,
·         Unity and community feelings generally,
·         Worked to solve important problems on local levels,
·         Added strength,
·         Stability,
·         Security and continuity of leadership,
·         Created better reconciliation of ethnic conflicts,
·         Operated exceptionally well in dispensing justice,
·         Enforcing contracts and maintaining general accountability.

They also made an important contribution as liaison between the government and their people, who ordinarily resisted many things as the people all too often thought of the governments exploitive and oppressive. Hence, cooperation has increased. Greater checks and balances on corruption, lopsided greedy or power hungry special interest groups and the overall short-sightedness of government has come with the integration of these chiefs into the upper chambers of a number of parliaments. The house of Chiefs, patterned after the House of Lords in Great Britain, can be found in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe ensuring better decisions or legislative outcomes on a general basis. (The Almanach de Bruxelles monthly newsletter, no. 132, March – April 2008) The evidence is in that constitutional monarchies are a great help, asset and benefit generally among the nations so privileged to have them.

Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II argues and proposes that Africa and West Africa look into the system of constitutional monarchy as it is the only system that has a proven history of unifying the nation and develop its economy. There is a sense of accountability by the government in the constitutional monarchy system.

Constitutional Monarchy and Executive Powers:

If we look at another example for instance in Asia, specifically Thailand and Japan. A prime minister is head of the executive government which includes a parliamentary cabinet. Generally, the prime minister takes charge of the day-to-day government business, while the monarch is only a ceremonial figure. While Prime Minister Runs government business, constitutional monarchs still usually hold onto a position of head of state, but with little power and bound by the constitution. For example the Queen of England still must approve anyone who holds a major political office, but she does not run the country.

Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II shares these views on constitutional monarchy and argues that if implemented successfully, it would play as a supportive body to the democratically elected government and improve global inter relations.

What are your comments?


  1. I agree with you Nicole when you compare the monarchies in Africa to those in Europe. And indeed, without copying what the Europeans have done, Africa can do it the African way and adopt the constitutional monarchy system. I also agree with the ideas and the vision that Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II have for West Africa on economic development and constitutional monarchy.
    We hope you will continue to write these articles as they do keep us informed on what the history has for us as readers.

  2. Constitutional monarchy as we know it:

    There are questions the world should ask as to, ‘why did the constitutional monarchy work in Britain?’ What are some of the experiences that the other countries like in Africa can draw from the successes of British Monarch? I do agree with the arguments raised by Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II on this article in terms of West Africa adopting the constitutional monarchy system.

    Constitutional monarchy (also known as limited monarchy) is a form of government in which an elected or hereditary monarch acts as Head of State. Unlike an absolute monarchy, where the king or queen is the sole source of power, in a constitutional monarchy the monarch's power is limited and shared with other parts of the government. The best-known example of constitutional monarchy is in the United Kingdom where Queen Elizabeth II acts as Head of State while an elected Parliament holds the power to make and pass laws.

    Characteristics of the British Parliamentary system:

    Parliament is the supreme legislative body of the government with the power to make and pass laws. It is bicameral, with an upper house (the House of Lords who are generally appointed) and a lower house (the House of Commons who are publicly elected). The Prime Minister and Cabinet hold the executive power in the government and make the decisions about how the government is run. The Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers are also elected members of Parliament. The Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister chooses the Cabinet, usually from his or her own party.
    As Head of State, the Sovereign (Queen Elizabeth) is considered the official head of the government. She retains an important (although symbolic) political role in the country, formally appointing prime ministers, approving certain legislation and bestowing honors.
    The power of the monarch in the modern British system is mostly symbolic and ceremonial, summed up by the saying, "the Queen reigns but she does not rule." In other words, as a constitutional monarch, the Queen plays an important role in the government, but does not have any real power. She cannot make or pass legislation and must remain politically neutral. As Head of State, she performs many official duties but almost always acts on the advice of her elected ministers.

    Britain's constitutional monarchy developed over a long period of time. Until the end of the seventeenth century, British monarchs had the right to make and pass legislation. Over time, the powers of the monarch were limited, both by laws enacted by Parliament and by changing political practices and customs. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the day-to-day exercise of political power was gradually taken over by Parliament, the Prime Minister and the cabinet eventually developing into a modern constitutional monarchy.

    It is with such nature of symbolism that make the arguments and genius ideas by Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II to be also successful in West Africa.

  3. For the Africa to move forward politically, it is also important to know and understand African history. Nicole has given us a clear vision of where African leaders come from and how they obtained leadership previously. To a certain extent the previous way of government worked for some and did not work for the others, hence Africa has a long history of coups as well and political parties opting for one-party states government. The idea of constitutional monarchy as a way forward to economic development in West Africa is a brilliant one. Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II argues that West Africa will only know peace and prosperity with the effective implementation of constitutional monarchy. Its is a system that connects the people with the government of the day. The government do not work in an autocratic way, everyone has a say and all views are respected via the constitution. It is therefore proper for Africa to consider the constitutional monarchy system as Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II put it.

  4. I agree with your article that Africa has a history of good African leader with experience on monarchy system. A lot can be learnt from those experiences by the leaders of today to implement what would work in favour of today's society. Also when you compare constitutional monarchy system that has been a success story in the European countries, it becomes evident that other countries in Africa could also make constitutional monarchy work in Africa. I am positive that the ideas that Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II have for West Africa, are excellent and all what is needed is for the African leaders, especially in West Africa, support these ideas with the understanding that the benefits will be all Africans at the end.

  5. I have been reading other articles on Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II about the vision he has for Africa and West Africa on how constitutional monarchy can benefit Africa if implemented correctly. I thought that Leopold Dochield Zu Leone II ideas are genius and with him as a driving force behind constitutional monarchy system, Africa can only prosper to greater heights, attracting foreign investment, penetrating the Chinese market and grow economy. Constitutional monarchy brings political stability and sense of belonging in the nation. Great idea indeed.

  6. It is true that in order to improve the current state of affairs in any country, there has to be change. Also for Africa to really see economic development, the current way of government need to change and what better way to address that than constitutional monarchy. I agree with the arguments raised by Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II that Africa need to consider constitutional monarchy system as a system that works hand in hand with the government of the day and is above party politics.

  7. For the African people to realise their own potential, the question of change must not be feared or avoided by those in power. There are a lot of untapped markets in Africa like tourism, manufacturing, steel, trade industry and mineral resources. It is important for Africans to be hands on in developing Africa so that the returns stay in Africa, in that way real profits will be for African nation. The reality is that economic development can be associated closely with constitutional monarchy run governments. This system is above party politics and it makes the government to be accountable to parliament in all decisions that are made. The history that is shown on this article is brilliant and Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II needs to be complimented and supported for having this vision for West Africa. It is never too late to start building now for a better future for the children of Africa. Rise up Africa and embrace change through constitutional monarchy. I support this move.

  8. I agree with Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II on the transformation process in other African countries that need a new redefinition of relationship between the governments and the whole political spectrum and constitutional monarchy. Republic governments have had their chance to change the situation in Africa and improve the lives of the people. Instead of moving forward, we have seen the escalation of conflicts, wars, military coups, poverty, poor health facilities and corruption. The ideas by Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II on constitutional monarchy are brilliant and could lead to true economic development.

  9. The comparison of the European constitutional monarchy successes to the African context is actually a very good idea as these monarchies have a rich history and experience on such government. It is well within the African leaders to draw experiences from those successful countries and apply the concept keeping in mind the African needs and the areas of developments. Constitutional monarchy has not failed other countries instead it galvanized economic development and had sustainable political stability. I am in agreement with this point.

  10. I like the comparison of history to the other successful European countries that have a lot of experience in constitutional monarchy already. This indicates that if Africans can use this model in the African context; there would be more benefits in terms of attracting foreign in investment and economic development. I support the arguments raised by Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II.

  11. It is interesting to read your article on constitutional monarchy and its benefits. The examples that you refer to on section "Business benefits on travelling with monarchy" show that with the monarchy by your side, you are bound to attract foreign investors and there is an element of trust in doing that business deal. It is evident that Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II has a plan that will work for the West African people through constitutional monarchy. The implementation of the constitutional monarchy system will see the end of Africa depending on other countries in terms of aid etc. It will prosper in terms of economic development and skills development.
    I do agree with the article.

  12. To me, the fact that constitutional monarchy has a history of success in other European countries like Britain for a long time is an indication that the same system could actually be used in other continents like African. Africa really needs a system that will bring democracy, economic development, political stability and unity at this time, and constitutional monarchy is a system that will suit Africa and West Africa's needs for the future development of the continent. I support the ideas shared by Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II, the genius mind at work.

  13. The ideas that Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II is raising on constitutional monarchy for West Africa are genius. Your article above brings to us all what constitutional monarchy is all about. With the constitutional monarchy in place, there is peace, unity, political tolerance and economic development for the nation. I support these views for West Africa.

  14. I am encouraged to read the positive comments on this article, it is evident that there is a need for change with people’s comments in agreement with and constitutional monarchy system seem to be the only way that is destined for that change. With the brilliant ideas that Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II have on constitutional monarchy, there is a possibility for this to take some shape for the future indeed. I was also interested in other articles with the similar arguments on constitutional monarchy versus republic governments and democracy. There seem to be glaring difference in terms of positive growth on economic development, political stability and improvement on GDP when the monarchy is involved.

    For an example: Anthony Musonda from Zambia commented “Why should what has been good for the West be bad news for Africa? Monarchy in the West may have been rendered less relevant by the development of the modern state, but it serves as a symbol of unity, stability and continuity of the state. In Africa, where the modern state may not be as developed as in the West, the monarchy will still serve as a powerful symbol of identification.”

  15. If one looks into the successes of the European countries on constitutional monarchy over the years, you would find that the same system could actually work in Africa. Mind you, that most of the African countries before independence were ruled the constitutional monarchy way, only that they were not in control. If you look at it, if the same system continued with African countries in full control post colonial system, things would have been far better now as there would have been continuity. England has ruled with constitutional monarchy for decades and decades, and they are still going stronger even today. I agree with the comments above and the ideas raised by Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II on this matter.

  16. I support your work on this article, it is really informative, keep up the good work and we would like to see more of your writing as well. Constitutional monarchy has a good history of being run successfully, take for an example in England, the system has been in place for years and is still going stronger ever time. The vision that Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II has for West Africa is brilliant and needs to be supported by the African leaders as these changes will ensure that there is political stability, democracy, free and fair elections, economic development and a sense of belong for the nation. Well done.

  17. This is truly a new political landscape for Africa. When you study about the successful nations that are ruled through constitutional monarchy over the years, one would agree that this system can also be successfully implement in Africa. Political history shows us that the first step to economic development is political stability for any country, the better way to achieve this, is through constitutional monarchy. The ideas that Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II proposes on constitutional monarchy and economic development for Africa are brilliant. With the visibility of the monarchy in any state, the government always have an upper urge in terms of business agreements and attracts foreign investment compared to the other kinds of governments. This is the reason that made the governments that are run with constitutional monarchy to be successful in terms of economic development, political stability, democracy and unity. It would benefit Africa more if the constitutional monarchy system is also used as an institution that supports the democratically elected government. I agree with your views on this article.

  18. The ideas that are raised by Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II on constitutional monarchy and economic development for West Africa are genius. Political stability is what is needed for the nation to prosper and have international exposure in terms of trade and foreign investment. Constitutional monarchy is a system that will ensure that political stability is sustained and will support the democratically elected government of the day.

  19. I would like to take this time to thank you all for the contributions you have made on this article, much appreciated indeed.

  20. A lot of studies have been done to prove that the countries run the constitutional monarchy way have a rapid growth on economy, trade industries, minerals and the GDP is always above expectations. For instance, British, Qatar, UAE, etc. Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II himself has his origin in West Africa Sierra Leone, he grew up as an adoptive son of a German aristocrat, very ambitious and intelligent. His vision is to one day see Africa being self-sufficient to have her own economic power that would keep the Africans in Africa and grow Africa together in an environment that has true political freedom, economic development, where peace and justice prevail. This, Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II argues that, can only be achieved if constitutional monarchy is adopted as an institution that governs the nations.