Opinion

FEATURE STORY: Is The Democracy The West Is Exporting To Africa Meant To Develop The Continent?

To imagine a small Island, the United Kingdom, has a GDP larger than the whole of Africa combined, at first thought, brings one to think that we lack ideas, innovation and competent people.

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.

Evans Mwewa
WhatsApp: +260 977430702

Copyright © 2020 ZR.

14 Comments

  1. Mwape

    Brilliant

    • Yambayamba

      DEMOCRACY is the new CHRISTIANI/BIBLE GOSPEL sedative being used to subdue Africa today. Just look around the world and it is very easy to conclude that countries that have done well post-colonial era are those that have NOT swallowed the DEMOCRACY GOSPEL line and sinker. For instance, China and India are comparable in size and population. But one (China) has managed to develop quicker post-colonial period and has managed to take millions of its citizens out of poverty. And no one can accuse China of practicing Western Style Democracy. India on the other hand, arguably the biggest DEMOCRACY on earth in terms population, doesn’t seem to have made much of a dent in its majority citizens’ microeconomic indicators for the better. The question is, why? Singapore is another example where “Democracy” is locally defined and designed for Singaporeans. As a result, Singapore has been able to achieve economic miracles that have become the envy of the world.

      Also, most countries in the Middle East aren’t democratic. But they have done quite well economically. Yes one might argue, well, because of the oil. Yes the oil, but we have countries (Nigeria, Angola, extra) in Africa with plenty of oil, and insist on adopting Western Styled Democracy, and yet they can’t compare to the Dubais of this world in terms of development. So again the question is, why? Surely, we can’t just blame everything on corruption as though corruption does not exist in those countries that have NOT swallowed the DEMOCRACY GOSPEL line and sinker but have managed to do very well developmentally.

      In Africa, we currently love to point to what Kagame has done in Rwanda. But what sort of “DEMOCRACY” has Rwanda been practicing under Kagame? In short, it is examples like these that are quickly discrediting the insistence on WESTERN STYLED DEMOCRACY being preached in Africa as a prerequisite for development. It is a false fallacy that Africa should quickly recognize and stay away from or it will be another century wasted. After all, the same Westerners NEVER cared about the so called “Democracy” when they were in charge of much of Africa.

      Nonetheless, this does not mean everything about Western Style Democracy is wrong and bad. But what is wrong is the way it is being “sold” to Africans as the only way out of their economic quagmire. And the unfortunate part is that the meaning of Democracy today has largely been reduced to the ritual of “holding of elections,” not much else. This is what is wrong!

  2. Frank Chombela

    Who says democracy doesn’t thrive in multiethnic countries? To answer this question, let’s look at the opposite case. Somalia is probably the closest one can get to a homogeneous society in Africa ethnically, linguistically and religiously. Yet it’s failing to establish a governance system. Most disagreements in Somalia are settled by a gun-fight. There’s no such thing as agreeing to disagree. Secondly, the USA isn’t a homogeneous nation. Yet democracy is thriving there. Perhaps the writer should reflect a bit before spreading uninformed views.

    • Lawrence

      Well said frank

    • Mutu Muntu

      Homogenous countries in Africa abound. There is Lesotho, Eswathini, Botswana, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Eritrea etc

      • Frank Chombela

        Botswana isn’t a homogeneous society as there are different tribes there. Algeria same. There are Bedouins from the desert who are dark and exploited. But the point is , where’s democracy in those countries u have mentioned despite the homogeneity u allege?

        • Frank Chombela

          Eritrea has Moslems and Christians and is an autocratic country.

  3. molin mukiya

    ba chris tamwabatemwafyeba upnd anyway just like zambia watchdog fights pf

  4. Benson muzhinga

    I quote,”democracy does not have to be multiparty politics which we all know is conducive to regional and special interests of manipulation.” The meaning of this article is encourging bill number 10.Read the article properly and get its meaning.

  5. Benson muzhinga

    I quote,”democracy does not have to be multiparty politics which we all know is conducive to regional and special interest manipulation.” The meaning of this article is encourging bill number 10.Read the article properly and get its meaning.

  6. Trevor Armstrong

    I grew up in Kitwe. Zambia has been independentl since 1964. For goodness sake stop the diatribe against the bogeyman West. If you want economic independence do what every other country has done and invest in yourselves. It take sacrifice and tenacity but eventually you make real decisions. If you ask for others to spend their hardship on you then expect them to make the real decisions. There is no other way. I wish you the best.

  7. Chekelako

    Failures always blame others ….Evan’s mwansa has not achieved anything worthwhile in his life. Its bcos of his shallow reasoning. Don’t listen to failures

  8. Mwaba macco

    I feel your statement

  9. Chipasha

    It sounds new and good.

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