But far from it, there is a bigger issue behind this failure, which is the west’s interest in our land, diamonds, oil, gold, platinum, tea, cocoa, etc. making a naive mind to think that our failure to manage these resources is due to incompetence.
So what must be done? Well, you can’t find a solution to a problem you don’t understand. Resources are managed through political decisions. Let’s, then, try to understand why the west is brainwashing us to accept what has terribly failed.
First, we need decolonised, open minds to be in political offices of influence, who are willing to invest in critical thinking and, to a great extent, leaders who will avoid passive acts such as praying for rain but those who will invest heavily in irrigation in the face of droughts. There is hardly any rain in Israel but the nation of Israel is probably the world’s premier in agricultural technology. It’s a mindset.
Africa won’t eat democracy, it needs practical solutions to quench its thirst for sustainable development. But sadly enough, Africa spends more time and resources on politics than it does on development. One country that has smartly shied away from this western political rhetoric is Rwanda and the world can attest to what Paul Kagame’s decolonised mindset has done to the once genocide torn nation.
The multiparty political system in multi ethnic Africa has destroyed democracy in the name of pluralism. I think the west knew this a long time ago. It’s a divide and rule system, designed to keep us busy fighting each other while the west feeds on our natural resources. The west, to start with, was against political independence, it unwillingly gave up political power and had to find a way of weakening our newly acquired political mantles.
Where electoral parties are not based on differing fundamental values, as is the case in the west, they unnecessarily interfere in the direct relationship between the constituent and his supposed representative. We have seen this more vividly in Zambia, with the UPND, where MPs listen more to the needs of the party president than those of who voted for them, leaving electorates “disenfranchised”.
The west, through its controlled mass media has changed the true meaning of democracy to further its goals of reaping where it has not sowed; Iraq and Libya immediately come to mind. But, the word democracy, which derives from the Greek word “demos” meaning “the people”, simply means people participating in the important societal decisions which affect their lives. Nowhere does it imply western plural politics.
But since in the actual setup, each individual cannot meaningfully participate in decisions for the whole, it has come to mean decision-making by “representatives”, who are said to decide and act on behalf of the people. The western idea of the necessity of “multiparty elections” for other nations is an oligarchic myth.
It leads people to believe they have choice in political decisions and thereby maintains the political status quo. Multi-party politics in the early days of the US Republic, for instance, was frowned upon. George Washington even discouraged the idea because he feared parties would interfere with elected officials’ ability to represent the common interest.
One needs to realise that political parties started as value based electoral movements which took part in parliamentary political systems with proportional representation where voters could find participation through representation by voting their VALUES, such as the Conservative, Liberal, Labour, Christian Democrat, Social Democrat, etc. Parties, themselves, had little to do with a way of defining democracy. Parties, based on values, proved to be an easier way of representation.
It’s like a thousand people arriving at a common bus terminus with various destinations. When a bus arrives for a named destination, all those going to the destination will willingly board the bus with others waiting for their bus to arrive. Noone is considered stupid for choosing a bus of one’s destination.
What our leaders must realise is that democracy, as the possibility of the people making collective decisions for their common good, is something that cannot be taught or imposed from the outside. We all know what we want as a free people.
The enormous popularity of the Cuban revolution in the face of outside interference and economic isolation, in my opinion, suggests that this approach of a non-partisan people power electoral system may be the best for economic development in the Third World. Allow me to describe it in brief.
There is no campaigning in Cuba, the candidates do not promote themselves and money is not a factor in their election or decision making. Their biographies, including photos, education, work experience and other matters are posted conspicuously throughout their permanent, unchanging residential districts for months before the elections.
In the Cuban view, freedom is the participation in power by the people and it should make a lot of sense to all of us who value cooperation and consensus because it promotes integration and equality among people and a strong sense of a community based on good education of all and public control of mass media to maintain a unity of purpose.
Overall, the neo-liberal capitalist road to development has not been a resounding success for most people in the Third World. Many people have been wondering when the progress will come. The multiparty political system has destroyed real democracy in that politicians no longer prioritise people’s needs but their grip on power.
Let’s not be lazy. We must go to a round table with thinking heads and devise a democracy that can work for us. Democracy does not have to be multiparty politics which we all know is conducive to regional and special interest manipulation.
Is it not strange that those in opposition today would rather see a failed government? Just in whose interest is such a wish? Yes, you guessed right, a politician and not an ordinary person in rural Zambia. It’s only democracy, if priority is given to the needs of ordinary people and not individuals fighting to be Head of State.
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