Democracy Africa Style

I found the following meaning of the word” democracy” in Wikipedia which you can see at

Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal (and more or less direct) participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law. It can also encompass social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination. The term comes from the Greek: δημοκρατία – (dēmokratía) “rule of the people”,[1] which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) “people” and κράτος (Kratos) “power”, in the middle of the 5th-4th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC.[2]

The first sentence gives a wonderful concept of what democracy should mean and be in an ideal world. As I get older, I am sorry to say that I am getting rather more cynical. Sadly,”Democracy African Style” does not encompass the original Greek concept of this word. What in effect happens in Africa is that the majority give the power to certain people to rule over them and in most cases not in the voters best interests. The individuals voted into power become a brotherhood for self enrichment of family and friends. Once in a position of power it is extremely difficult to get them out. I defy anyone to name one African country that has not followed this trend and sadly I include South Africa near the top of the tree.

More Africans have died at the hands of Africans in power than were ever killed by the colonial powers. Here again I defy anyone to prove me wrong. One of the root causes of this is plain tribalism which is still rife throughout Africa.

During the rule of the colonial powers in Africa the clarion call was to free the inhabitants of this tyranny. In my humble opinion the tyranny that exists in Africa is far worse and a great deal more sinister.

Most of us have read Alan Paton’s book “Cry the Beloved Country’’ which he wrote during the apartheid years. This book was on the banned list.  As a parting thought I wonder what the contents of his book would be if he wrote it today. The title would stay the same but the contents would in all probability be vastly different.

Butch Hannan

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