There is robust literature linking poverty to lack of political power and voice of the poor. It has also been shown that this lack of power and voice operate in turn to intensify the poverty of those concerned. I argue that the failure to engage with this lack of power appear to be the bane of efforts to engage with poverty the world over. Thus, several initiatives ranging from the welfare systems, to grants and aids, and even the rights-based approach to poverty reduction in which socio-economic rights forms a significant part appear not to have made meaningful or substantial difference to worldwide deepening of poverty levels and the desperate condition of the poor. The main thesis of this study is therefore that taking a historical view of the matter, a political approach to human rights which regards politics and resistance as counterpart of socio-economic rights appears the most feasible approach in a rights-based approach to poverty reduction, both in the creation of new socio-economic rights norms and in the enforcement of existing ones. And having regard to the important place and role of the judiciary in constitutional democracies and the potential impact of courts’ interpretive function in either constraining or enlarging the political space for struggle and action, I also argue that a judicial conception of democracy that is rooted in African political philosophies is the conception that is more likely to provide the necessary space for political empowerment of the poor and consequent redistribution of wealth in African states through effective transformation of socio-economic rights. The thesis is therefore focused on the likely impact of South African and Nigerian courts’ existing conception of democracy on poverty-related struggle and political action in both countries through the analysis of relevant cases from both jurisdictions. The analysis reveals that these courts’ conceptions of democracy are both against and unsuitable for enlarging the space for the necessary politics and poverty-related struggles. I articulate therefore in the thesis an African conception of democracy that is based on African political philosophies as can be deduced from historical and anthropological evidence and relevant African philosophical literature as more likely to enlarge the space for political action and empowerment of the poor.