Although Western countries consider their democracy to be mature, keen analysis of realities on the ground negates this position. Democracy wasn’t born in the west but everywhere. Again, what do the western countries get right and African countries get wrong as far as democracy is concerned?
Is western democracy failing in Africa? Yes. Why? Because it is fake, and half baked. How can there be acceptable and true democracy without justice and wealth? How can there be spot-on democracy without economic democracy that enables every human to get basic human needs? How can there be true democracy while the one in the west is different from the one in Africa? If anything, this is what sets African countries and their western counterparts apart.
Western ‘democracies’ are ‘ideal’ because of the wealth they accumulated through robbing others by means of colonisation. This is what is missing in Africa. That is why western democracy seems to fail squarely in Africa. This failure heralds the return of nasty dictatorships and military juntas, which are now crawling back methodically under the guise of assuaging the situation.
Those who evidenced the cheers in Guinea, Mali and recently Burkina Faso after democratically elected governments were pulled down, will agree with me that there cannot be any meaningful/successful/ideal democracy without economic muscles. If poverty that’s become normalized and internalized in Africa continues unabated, many governments will be pulled down. I wonder when I see civilians in the streets cheering the army after taking over as has been the case in the above countries. In Sudan, what did cheering-Sudanese get after the junta’s that is now butchering them every day took over? Whenever I see muttons cheering the hyaenas, I break down. Whenever I see a young chimp celebrating the scorching of the forest, I temporarily and theoretically don’t get it. In the long run, I practically get it. I know what ignorance causes to the body harbouring or housing it.
Many people blame the African Union and other regional bodies for failure to put a stop on the coups. How’ll they do so without any economic wherewithal? Without addressing poverty, Africa will remain dangerously precarious.
Apart from poverty, African governments are in harm’s way because of corruption, nepotism, ineptness, bad governance and dependence. Shall they not smell the coffee and do something about them, it is about when but not if they’ll be ousted. Citizens who cheer them are doing so at their peril.
Almost all dictators from Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Idi Amin to Jean-Bedel Bokassa chanted the same jingle when they took over. Again, what did they offer? Nothing but the replication of the same!
Let me offer an answer from one great revolutionary, Museveni, president of Uganda. When he ousted Tito Okelo, the head of the then military junta, said that “the problem of Africa are leaders who overstay in power.” What did he offer? He just overstayed. What have Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Daqalo in Sudan, Abdel-Fattah al Sisi in Egypt, Col. Assimi Goita in Mali and Lt. Col. Mamadou Doumbouya in Guinea offered? Just the same. What do you call doing the same thing over and over again expect different results?
Has western democracy in Africa failed or Africa has failed it? How many governments should be brought down for Africa to smell a rat if not the coffee?
By Nkwazi Mhango
Lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL), an expert in Terrorism and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe and contributed many chapters in scholarly works.