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By Tibor Machan

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In a different linkage, state infiltration of NGOs in Nigeria has been claimed ± for example, infiltration of women's organisations by the wives of military leaders. It can be concluded that there is no guarantee that the simple proliferation of voluntary associations in civil society will serve to promote democracy. This will depend on the nature of the organisations and whether they are committed both to democratic rights and principles and to democratic practices in their own internal organisation.

2, cited in M. Robinson 1996, p. 5). Beetham and Boyle also note that interests groups can become undemocratic in circumstances where wealth, organisation or personal connections give them undue influence to modify or frustrate government policy (1995, p. 108). Civil society organisations are generally conceptualised as being independent and autonomous from the state. The reality can be quite different. Fowler (1997, p. 32) provides an amusing list of acronyms of `NGO pretenders', including GRINGO, a Government-Run and Initiated NGO, but the more serious point is that non-governmental organisations can often be closely connected to the state.

Examining the relationship between the two variables in the opposite direction, that is, the impact of economic reform on democratisation, 38 Foreign Aid and Political Reform also highlights some incompatibilities and contradictions between the dual agendas. One claim is that economic liberalisation (in the form of IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programmes) undermines democracy, a point made by Barya and by Oxfam UK. Barya asserts that economic conditionality and political conditionality are `necessarily contradictory and cannot be successfully be accomplished together', citing the Codesria Bulletin that structural adjustment programmes undermine economic sovereignty and strengthen authoritarian regimes who implement inherently anti-democratic socio-economic reforms (Barya 1993, pp.

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