Sunday, 15 May 2011

Democracy!!!!!!! - Whose definition and under whose terms?

My Dad once said, in his Ashanti culture, a king can be overthrown by removing the king’s shoes in public. Thus, an action that symbolises lost of power and authority of the King. My immediate reaction was an astonishment mix with amusement. However, with the recent uprising in the Middle East and in Africa has made me rethink of my dad’s story. If indeed, what he said is true to the Ashanti culture, then in my opinion this signifies a huge power to the people and a sign that Ashanti king is accountable to the people despite their royal treatment and display of power. This view I hold is further affirmed by the fact that before our current system of governance, our kings and Queens did not just declare war but they also fought with the people at the battlefield. This display of warrior leadership cannot be said to our current Leaders who sit at the comfort of their homes and send brave men and women to fight for them. My politics teacher once said that the man who declares war is the last man to die (I think she quoted someone but I can’t remember whom).

The widely known definition of democracy is that it is a form of government where all citizens have equal contribution towards the participation of governance in a given State. Thus, “one man one vote system”. Also, Democracy is a Greek word which simply means ‘power to the people.’ Hence, it bate the question, does power really lie with the people in this colonial imposed democracy on the African Continent? My answer is no. The African people will never hold power in this Western style of democracy, simply because: 1. It is a system developed in the west for a western culture, 2. It fails to give room to merge with a culture opposing the western civilisation. 3. It is a cruel imposed system which is yet to be fully understood by the west after over a thousand years of implementation. Hence, just over 50 years of “political Independence,” it is somewhat naive and inconceivable for anyone to expect Africa to operate this “one man one vote” system of governance in the same level as the West.

Indeed, it is widely known that Ghana is a democratic country. This in my opinion is far from the truth. Ghana just as any African country can never be democratic as Africa is yet to rediscover it true cultural identity. The Day Africa rediscover it culture will be the first and the most significant step towards the creation of a system of governance understood by the people and for the people. Until then, Africans will continue to fight over election being rigged and no number of revolutions will bring about true democracy. The Western media propaganda depicting some country in Africa as democratic is a curse and a major hindrance toward a true and strong people’s power system of governance.