Democracy: The Opium of African Continent

The transition of countries mode of governance around the world into democratic rule since the end of the cold war against communism have witnessed many countries especially in the African continent moved from autocratic to democratic rule.

African Heads of StateAfrican continent have witnessed several civil wars than any continent since the last 3 decades.

Rebel groups taking control of political power, military ruling in sheer dictatorial manner in most part of the continent, and even countries which boast of democracy has made efforts to allow incumbent in office for decades.

The large scale of underdevelopment in the continent has deprived the people of fundamental human rights. No thanks to the colonial masters, who have always wanted to control several of these nations, even after independence.

The introduction of democracy to Africa has further empowered more despots to device cunning alternative to remaining power through legitimate rule, maneuvering of the electoral system, intimidation of opposition and endemic corruption of important institution.

African presidents that have conducted elections which voted them out of office most times concede defeat because of international pressure as the case of the Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia who probably did so because of Jimmy Carter presence in Zambia during the elections. Joyce Banda of Malawi and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria are all victims of such.

In terms of resources, the African continent has everything necessary for her development. Unexplored raw materials lying fallow in almost every country, large base of human resources are been underutilized.

In terms of Population, Africa is the 2nd most populous continent after Asia and 50% of the people are below the age of 19!

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One of the signs of failure of any leader is the inability to raise a better successor for the people. Countries like Zimbabwe, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroun, Gabon, Chad, Rwanda, Gambia, Uganda, Sudan ,Uganda, Burundi etc have had sit tight presidents who are not ready to allow the proper democracy to rule.

More recently uprising has seen despot like of Laurent Gbagbo of Cote de voire, Gadaffi of Libya, Ben Alli of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt leave office through several “failed” revolutions that have left those countries in worse conditions than it were.

For Africa to grow as a continent, the people must ascertain if democracy or these “sit tightism” rule is the best for the continent.

One might tend to argue that large percentage of prosperous countries do not practice democracy. One question that must be ask is “If Democracy Is The Best For The Continent”

If democracy is preferred, the people, African Union and the international community must step up their game in ensuring that the people’s voice are not thwarted by microscopic few. Policy must be made to discourage and sanction these leaders on their sit tightism stand.

In recent times Egypt elected their first legitimate president in Morsi but was deposed in a coup-de-etat by a dictator who later imposed himself as a president. There was little out-crying or sanctions by international community and African Union.

The sham elections conducted in Museveni’s Uganda last month is a manifestation of African Union muted stance to tyranny.

The people who’s at the bottom of this political chain must begin to ask for accountability on the part of those they voted into office, avoid ethnic, religious sentiment which is being use an effective bait by the political elite and start seeing governance as a conclusive tool to national development.
Adebayo Afeez B.
Policy and international Affairs writer from Lagos, Nigeria

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