On the question of democracy in Africa, and in view of the current development in the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the jazz out there is that what besets Africa is, so the false claim goes, the lack of democracy in the form of democratic processes and institutions.
What those who make this rather outrageous claim, firstly, assume, rather falsely, is that there’s no democracy in Africa and; secondly, imply that with democracy – and if there was democracy in Africa – things then would be different and run differently from how they are or seem to be run, politically and/or otherwise.
What they also, however, do not know or know but simply conveniently choose to forget is that, the problem is not the lack or absence of democracy and democratic process and institutions in Africa. As a matter of fact, there’s democracy in Africa and there are institutions in Africa and, yes, there’s a commendable degree of democratic processes in Africa much like anywhere else in the world, such as periodic elections to political offices and so forth.
One might question the efficacy of such elections but that’s a completely different case.
What the problem is, however, and fundamentally more than the presence and practice of democracy or anything else of that supposed magnitude and magic, is the wanton abuse and misuse of power by those in and with power, often to serve their insatiable greed and personal interests.
It must be emphasised that even within any democracy anywhere in the world, examples abound, it is possible for the powerful to manipulate democratic processes by and through various interest groups and other means, and therefore abuse and misuse power the same way it is abused in Africa by the powerful political class for self-interest, political and self-preservation.
So, in essence, the [political] issue with[in] Africa is not necessarily that of [the] lack or absence of democracy and rigorous political processes. It is, by and large, simply that of [the] wanton abuse [with impunity] of the democratic processes and, using political power by the powerful; that is, those in and with power. Because power gives options; it opens up access to many different possibilities.
It must be stated also that no political system and process is rigorous enough not to be manipulated and/or abused. What is however required but appears to be lacking or almost absent in Africa is to ensure that there’s less abuse of political power and processes by those in and with power.
If, however, democracy and its espoused values and processes is one way to help ensure that there’s less abuse of power by those in power; it must be advocated for and efforts made to ensure it is upheld are commendable.
But certainly by no means should it be said and promoted as the be-all-end-all magic solution to the wanton abuse of political power in Africa by most of those in and with power.