Consolidating democracy prerequsites
These conferences have been convened as a result of citizen and elite pressures for public dialogue about the democratization process in countries such as Benin, Mali, Gabon, Zaire, Congo, Nigeria and Zambia.
In addition, opposition groups in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Guinea, and Côte d'Ivoire have called for national conferences in their countries.
Nevertheless, some thought that this new thinking, although necessary, was not a sufficient basis on which to start building democracy.As Larry Diamond has argued, "It is unrealistic to think that countries in Africa can suddenly reverse course and institutionalize stable democratic government simply by changing leaders, constitutions and/or public mentalities.If progress is made toward developing democratic government, it is likely to be gradual, messy, fitful and slow, with many imperfections along the way." Although the nature and circumstances vary from one country to another, two basic patterns in the modes of transition to democracy were identified.Some scholars argue that transitions from above are more promising in terms of their ability to "deliver" democracy, because they tend to be more specific about their time frame, procedural steps, and overall strategy.
Transitions from below are said to be plagued with a great deal of uncertainty.Transitions from above occur when functioning rulers respond to an impending or actual crisis by initiating democratic reforms.