Democracy is literally “rule by the people”. The democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote -more clearly, it is one in which people campaign competitively for the people’s votes to achieve the power to make public decisions.
At the very basic level, democracy can be defined as the “rule by consent from the ruled”. It is also about values. We give consent to our leaders to express – put in practice, promote – certain values on our behalf. If democracy was not about the expression of values, there would not be so much effort to impose it on others. In other words, what is being imposed, beyond the dogmatic rhetoric, are one’s values. And this is where the plot thickens. Because societies by nature jealously guard against distorting their value systems, they tend to resist any form of transposition that is placed upon them. The question, thus, becomes this: whose values shall prevail? Democracy finds expression – positive or negative – in that question.
Now, considering the above explanation, some African leaders are using their political powers to waste their resources, use the poor to rule forever instead of improving their citizen’s livelihood. To make it worst, many African countries are collapsing due to inability to transform power peacefully. Some of the continent’s leaders have gone far amending their constitutions to make them last longer in power after failing several times to improve citizen’s lives. The international community continues to watch but can not act as required. Why should there be democracy in Africa meanwhile the AU leaders have countries against democracy? The problem seems to be the African Union itself.
Yes, the AU is reluctant because most of its leaders’ countries are even against democracy and want to stay in power for long. In 2009, African Union (AU) chairman, Libya’s leader late Muammar Gaddafi who ruled his country for 27 years, condemned democracy in Africa that it leads to bloodshed. Speaking at the AU summit in Ethiopia, Col Gaddafi said Africa was essentially tribal and political parties became tribalised. Gaddafi concluded the best model for Africa was his own country, where opposition parties are not allowed. This later on resulted to bloodshed in Libya. Currently, the issue of democracy seems to be a challenge in Africa. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, current AU chairperson sticked into power since 1980. It’s widely known that he wouldn’t step down until he dies or queen Elizabeth of England resigns. AU being led by such figures can not definitely solve conflicts like in Burundi, Sudan and South Sudan among others which started because of the issue of democracy and term limits.
If you look at the AU Agenda 2063, it talks about a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. However, the agenda did not include and explain the issue of democracy and good governance in Africa which is the main issue pulling the continent backward. The question comes to my mind why should we continue to kill ourselves meanwhile we have (AU) the ability among ourselves to solve our issues peacefully? At this point the priority of the 2063 Agenda could be security, democracy and good governance.
Ironically, the continent’s countries lack unity like in United States (U.S.), European Union (EU), United Arab Emirates(UAE) countries. Poverty, insecurity, poor governance is a history of African violent leadership struggles and have dominated their headlines.
In February 2000, Nelson Mandela in an interview with John Battersby, Johannesburg, South Africa, said “one of the most difficult things is not to change society – but to change yourself.” These African leaders must desist from amending their constitutions which allow them stick in power.They should give chance for the third world African youths and other professionals to transform Africa better than it looks now.