The Fallacy of Democracy in Africa: How We Have Been Deceived


Foreign concepts should not be adopted with blind enthusiasm, and Africans should develop their own home-grown solutions to their problems rather than continuously relying on American and European ideas.

Democracy in Africa has often carried connotations of mistrust, deception and lies.

When alien concepts are imposed on other lands without fully appreciating what they entail, disaster and chaos are real certainties. When these concepts are imposed without incorporating the original concepts of such lands, it becomes a futile exercise. Democracy in Africa, a Western concept intended to represent the wishes of the people, has not really taken firm roots in the continent. Or anywhere else in the world really.

The hypocrisy and deception enshrouding the concept called democracy is the reason why that concept never yields satisfactory results for the people. It is an idea which people have never really fathomed because of its foreign roots. The assumption is always that what works in the United States, the United Kingdom or France must definitely work in Africa.

There is no appreciation of the political and societal dynamics unique to Africa that are put into discussion. As a result, all we have are electoral disputes, presidents who do not leave power, massive corruption, abuse of state institutions and so forth. The list of the myriad of problems that bombards Africa is endless.Multi-party politics is not inherently toxic. But when people fail to understand it in its entirety, then that becomes problematic.

The reason why democracy has become fallacious is that we welcomed the concept with blind enthusiasm. Africa failed to fully grasp what works for her. African countries failed to understand what really works for their needs all in a bid to be amenable to Western whims. Such capricious ideas from the West have compelled African countries to take pride in institutions that do not really work for them. The most ideal situation is whereby African countries first understand their own dynamics in all facets of life and implement political systems that are in alignment with those factors.

Multi-party politics continues to barrage African citizens with countless problems because of the unwillingness on the part of the leaders to adhere to such ideas. There are no strong institutions to rein in these leaders and more often, they act as they please with little to no accountability at all.

Because these concepts of democracy that Africa sticks to are ideas that originate from the West, the latter keeps on meddling in the affairs of African countries. Picture a scenario where our own traditional systems of political and economic administration had been preserved and modified to fit the current needs prevailing in today’s world. A scenario whereby there are African solutions for African people devised by African people from the original African systems of political administration.

An environment where there is less reliance on American and European ideas to stem the tide of problems afflicting Africa.While there are other African countries which have suited fairly okay to the tenets of democracy, for example Botswana, the majority of countries on the continent still grapple with this idea. Democracy for the most part has failed to provide political answers. And where there are no political answers, it is a guarantee that a legitimacy crisis will ensue, as is the case in Zimbabwe. Elections failed to give the ruling president Emmerson Mnangagwa the trust of the people.

Such deficit is due to the way they allegedly tampered with the whole electoral process.But perhaps the major reason why democracy carries connotations of mistrust is how those who preach it are the ones most disloyal to it. Like, the United States of America. Throughout the course of history, the US has committed some of the most heinous atrocities against mankind and no one dares to stand up to them, for that comes with horrific consequences.

The US is the instigator of senseless wars, and still it is the one claiming the moral high ground as regards human rights and democracy. Such hypocrisy is nauseating and appalling. It makes those Western concepts very flawed. The wars in Iraq, Libya were never about democracy but oil. The same goes for Venezuela. And recently, Bolivia. Any country that dares to go contrary to its dictates is assailed with illegal economic sanctions which severely cripples economies.

All over the world, the US starts chaos, subverting the will of the people in those countries. It carries out mass surveillance on its citizens and when Edward Snowden blew the whistle on this, he had to flee the country. The same goes for Julian Assange. Africa is attacked for failing to uphold “democratic principles,” an alien concept that is barely followed by its originators with the religious diligence it requires.

African should be wary of this and develop ideas that are suitable for their own lands without adopting other foreign concepts with blind keenness. Where such foreign concepts are adopted, it should be done in good faith with the care of people at heart. Until then, solely relying on these foreign concepts without reverting to our own ideas will continue yielding fruitless results.