- Published on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 02:00
With elections rolling around, there seems no better time to spread my dreadful philosophy on democracy. So here it is: Democracy is the bane of all political existence and it should be wiped clean from the earth with a sponge, with no ifs, ands or buts.
Democracy isn’t for Africa. And I’m not even sure if it’s for the developed world either, but that’s their mess to sort out. There are a great number of cultural and historical reasons behind this. The diversity of cultures and the construction of arbitrary borders are but to name a few. One needs to only look at the current state of most African democracies to see that democracy is not working. In Nigeria, elections have led to a break out in violence, with the north having its security tightened; and the whole world has seen what happened in Kenya.
Despite the “great strides” made since 1994, South Africa is also hardly a functioning democracy. The tight hold that history has on this country’s political system is a far cry for the “rule of the people” for which many people fought.
The tight hold that the ANC has on this country has stifled democracy to a point which some have said she is gasping her last breaths. Year in and year out people protest against the ANC. They strike over service delivery, wages or the price of maize meal. And yet every five years they go in their droves to vote.
Moreover, the lack of political choice (either you vote for the party who freed you or those white people who remind you of apartheid) has this country masquerading as a democracy rather than actually being one. Shouting “amandla” at me at Mzoli’s does not a democracy make. Phrases such as “I would kill for Zuma” and “anyone who votes for the white party is insane and should be lynched” are not signs of a rational cognitive process but something far more chilling.
What this mode blesses us with is not wise chiefs who care for their villages, but cognitively impaired politicians who care for their profits. It starves us of good leaders and social cohesion.
However, we are a passionate people who still hold a tribal spirit within us. We are those people who, although we have been confined in arbitrary borders based on economics more than anything else, are still proud to be Zulu, Igbo, Shona, Kikuyu or Banyankole.
And we still have respect for our elders. Hence, we keep on voting for the “big man” with the big car rather than the innovative young thunder cat who can actually get things done. These identities used to inform our political decisions before democracy and, much as we try to fight it them, inform our political decisions today.
So, all those who advocate for democracy can, to put it lightly, go shove it under a rock somewhere, for it has brought Africa nothing but years of conflict, corrupt leaders and international interference. It clearly is not feasible in its current form.
So let us remember good folks, before we laud the international community for this decrepit creature they call a political system, let us remember that everything ain’t for everybody.