The Ten Modern Tenets Of Democracy


According to The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, Tenet means: One of the principles or beliefs that a theory or larger sets of beliefs is based on. Indeed, it is the basics, and the central role of a theory or beliefs; and in our case and discussions here: Democracy.

Then the question that follows is: What is Democracy? Democracy according to the above quoted Dictionary, means: 1. A system of government in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives; and 2. Fair and equal treatment of everyone in an organization (or polity) etc. and their right to take part in making decisions.

In all, the word Democracy can be correctly said, to have originated from a Greek (precisely Athenian) word: Demos; which means mob, but which will today mean: Masses. Democracy therefore, in the olden times of the Athenians, mean rule by the mob; and today would rightly mean: Rule by the masses.

Indeed, it was Abraham Lincoln (in his Gettysburg speech) that gave the word Democracy its present universal definition as: “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people”. The words to note here are: Of the people, by the people, for the people.

He (Lincoln) further explained that Democracy should mean at all times, a: “Direct self government over all the people, by all the people, and for all the people”.

Furthermore, Webster, defined Democracy as “the people's government, made for the people and answerable to the people” (Please see: “Qualities of a Good Leader”, by: Ejike Osuji, 2002, pp47-53).

Then, having all these preliminary understandings in our mind, the question that follows is: What are the tenets that must be respected, and indeed be clearly seen to be respected, before democracy can function properly in any polity, organization or social setting. We will hereby identify ten (10) of them, and highlight them. We believe that, if they are properly practiced in any given polity, organization or social setting, total (repeat: total) peace, progress and prosperity will definitely reign in such environment. The ten (10) tenets we have identified (as underlined) are:

  1. Governance (of any polity, organization or other political, economic and social milieus) should at all times, be of the people, by the people, and of the people.
  2. The freedom of the generality of the people (of any given polity or society) should always be guaranteed in the running of the affairs of their political, economic and social environment.
  3. Transparency and accountability to the people (by those who lead) should be at all times practiced (and must be seen to be practiced at all times).
  4. Opinion of the generality of people should at all times be respected, especially on matters of public importance. Therefore freedom of expression should be guaranteed at all times and in all situations without any kind of infringement.
  5. The right to dissent and effective opposition should be guaranteed in the operation of contemporary governments (politics).
  6. Governments should at all time respect the key fact that “power belongs to the people”.
  7. Complacency (apathy) on the part of the people does not augur well for a true emplacement of democracy, and therefore leaders must encourage the generality of the people to participate in the governance and administration of their milieus.
  8. All eligible voters must be allowed to vote their representatives and leaders in all elections that leads to their governance; and their votes must be made to count.
  9. Fair and equal treatment of everyone no matter his/her gender, race or intelligence.
  10. Truth and Justice must remain the all time creed of any democracy and must be seen and felt to be practiced at all times and also entrenched for all times. Indeed, truth and justice, equality and freedom, must always be seen to have been upheld without fear or favour.

These are the core-ten-tenets of Democracy in modern times. If they are totally (repeat: totally) enshrined (mentally and manually), respected and practiced at all time; peace, progress and prosperity (the great three “Ps” needed for development) will surely reign in whatever milieu and polity that so does. Their efficacy-in-practice towards great development (man and materially) are never contestable. Indeed, many of so-called developed societies have entrenched and practiced these tenets for their people, and that is why they seem ahead of others who do not. An emplacement of their precepts and a total commitment to them in practicality surely helps.

Written by Ejike Kingsley Osuji
[email protected]

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