AFRICA’S DEMOCRACY: DYNASTIC RULE OR SIT-TIGHTISM RULE?
Zeroing down to Kenya's election,Shaka Ssali, the host of live one-hour call in program of the Voice of America Known as: “Straight Talk Africa”, made the Kenya's Election of March 4th,2013 his question of the week. His question was: “Why do most people think that this week's election in Kenya is the single most important poll since the east African nation gained her independence in 1963”? While some participants attributed their answers to the new Kenya's Constitution, the perspective of my answer was around the emerging dynastic rulership in the continent! The Repetition of history which centered on the Odinga's and the Kenyatta's made the poll enthralling! It will be recalled that, the two nationalist, Jomo Kenyatta,the father of Uhuru Kenyatta and Oginga Odinga, the father of Raila Odinga Where President and Vice President of Kenya during their reign, but they later became political
rivals. But, under the leadership of the third Democratic President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, the reverse was the case! While Raila Odinga Was the Prime Minister, Uhuru Kenyatta was the Deputy Prime Minster. So, the election was truly a repetition of history, between the Odingas and theKenyattas. Similarly, with the victory of Uhuru Kenyatta and his subsequent swearing in as the fourth Democratic President of Kenya, the ranks and files of Africa's-democratic-dynasties have expanded!Though, President Kenyatta's case is not like others who inherited power from their late fathers. President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo Succeeded his late father, former president Laurent Kabila in 2001, when he was assassinated. President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo succeeded his late father,former President Gnassingbe Eyadema in 2005. President Ali Ben Bongo of Gabon Succeeded his late father, former President Omar Bongo in 2009 when he died. It Is worthy of note
that, Omar Bongo is the third longest African leader of modern times. He ruled for 41 years. Late Muammar Al-Gaddafi ruled for 42 years, while Emperor Haile Selassie ruled for 44 years before he was ousted from power. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was also planning to install one of his sons, Gamal Mubarak before he was consumed by the “Arab Spring”, a concept the British Prime Minister, David Cameroon described as“Democratic Re-awakening”. However, some African leaders have succeeded in turning their countries constitution to their certificate of occupancy. They create political structures that enable them to manipulate the electoral system to perpetuate themselves in power! To them, democracy begins and ends with periodic elections. They use all the paraphernalia of power at their disposal to destroy every state institution and make themselves the institution! “Sit-tightism” has become synonymous with some African Leaders.For example,
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, he has been in power since August, 1979. President Eduardo dos Santo of Angola, he has been there since September 1979. President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, he has been there since 1980. President Paul Biya of Cameroon, he has been there since November, 1982. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, he has been there since January, 1986. King Mswati of Swaziland, he has been there since April 1986.President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, he has been there since October 1987. President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, he has been there since June 1989.President Idris Debby of Chad, he has been there since December 1990. I can goon in naming them, but, let me stop here! Nonetheless, since democracy is a journey and not a destination, I do believe that Africa can still improve onher democratic credentials and pursuits! Like what the former South African President, Thabo Mbeki said in the article he wrote for the
NewsAfrica Magazine of January 14, 2002, which was entitled: “Africa's Time Has Come”. He said: “We… agreed that, we must strengthen democracy on the continent; we must entrench human rights culture; we must end existing conflicts and prevent new ones. We Have to deal with corruption and be accountable for our actions”. “The AfricanUnion and the New Partnership for Africa's Development constitute the ways andmeans we have chosen to take us forward towards the realization of these goals.An important precondition for the renewal of Africa is the complete liberationof the people of the continent… Africans themselves … have realized thatdemocracy is fundamental to regeneration and that responding to the correctdemand for democracy is being faithful to the people we aspire to govern”. Finally, while interfering with Africa's domestic politics may not be fashionable, re-awakening democratic consciousness and zeal through what the former
United States Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton described as “Smart Power”, may be an intervention of necessity, and not intervention of choice! Comrade Edwin Ekene Uhara is a young Nigerian activist and public affairs commentator. He is also the National President of Young Nigerians for Change.+2347065862479, +2348076134054 edwin o'[email protected] No. 29, Ben Mbamalu Crescent, Achara Layout, Enugu State, Nigeria.