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Friday, May 5, 2023

Democracy Invalid for Africa

In many African countries democratically elected governments have failed; they have destabilised nations, subject to civil wars, rebellions, coups and famine. The failure of change over time politically in Africa is the most serious problem and cause of the suffering of the African people. The reason for African countries turmoil and poor economics is that the lack of basic government institution and early introduction of Democracy without paving a platform that enables equal distribution of resources to all citizens of the nation and creating a large number of middle class. African countries have not been allowed to possess competent high capacity state; rather they have been impeded through different means and disabled from building viable institutions, which could have created a momentum of governance by Rule of law that constraint the rule of people. As a result of the impediments African countries facing, judicial institution are not autonomous from the executive they are subservient of the ruler. Luck of strong state the absence of strong political institutions brings states into a cycle of conflict, violence, and poverty.

Political development must be understood in the context of economic growth that is charted to increase social mobilisation, justice and legitimacy. Democracy is not an effective choice for Africa. What Africa needs is a good governance and political stability graded by satisfying popular expectations for jobs and economic growth. Eventually governance with greater accountability with high social capital cohesive through high trust in the government. Noticeably in Africa governance is patrimonial, it’s to the benefit of the ruler, family and friends. In developed nations one becomes rich by innovation and introducing business product to the customers like Steve Jobs of Apple. In Africa you become rich by being a leader and associates stealing wealth from the poor country. Therefore; the elite with their followers fight among themselves to become a leader not to serve the public but to become wealthy. Resistance to the spread of good governance lay in the realm of material interests of African political elites. After colonialism ended there was brisk blowout of revolutionary ideas of nationalism by Kwame Nkurmah of Ghana and Patrice Lumumba of Congo. Africans raised hope that was quickly dashed by civil wars, which were designed, driven and endorsed by western powers and executed by sub-servants like President Mobutu Sese Seko.

Social mobilisation and economic growth are the main interventions for stable democracy. A country that has a confident threshold of per capital income can transition from authoritarian to a stable democracy. Modern Democracy has a social base. Middle class are the main advocates of Democracy embodied in specific organisation can organise civil society that is institutionalised forming a political parties. Economic growth is linked to democracy in a multistage process. Economic growth stimulates social mobilisation in turn produces demands for greater democracy. Industrialisation creates middle class and working class. Peasants flock to cities urbanisation expands that increases the middle class population. The middle class are critical to political change they have the resources and the education to organise effectively to protect their new wealth and property rights and participation in politics. Political thinkers from right to left all agree that a stable democracy have to rest on broad middle class society. A nation with large middle class is less susceptible to political corruption due to being wealthier and their interest tied up with broader public policies. A strong middle class has political value that cherishes individual freedom.

Social class remains important in the contemporary Africa under the layer of ethnic politics. Two major obstacles for good governance or democracy in Africa are societies with peasants and poor working class that are suspects to be easily mobilised and provide their vote for bribes and individual benefit such as handouts, ethnicities, individual benefits and public sector job. The political parties recruit from rural area who are poor and marginalised urban population who are less aware in public good. Middle class groups with small numbers of followers that contest elections are internally divided and most centered on individual leaders rather than political following for common good. These cause the cycle of violence, poverty and civil war in Africa.

A stable, well-functioning democracy in addition to a large middle class society involves the interaction of a number of different institutions. An effective state bureaucracy, independent court systems, well organised political parties, and free and vigilant media. Electing a president or parliamentarians will not suffice. In addition, there are a number of cultural conditions necessary like voting your conscious not ethnicity, must share a collective sense of identity and nationhood, must respect rules more than individuals, and voters cannot have a winner take all attitude towards their opponents. Rather need to accept power sharing. What Africa needs is not sham and pretended democracy but a strong nationhood, government institution and rule of law that can generate economic growth, social mobilisation and create a large number of middle class. A middle Class that becomes an agent of change transitioning from authoritarian to a stable democracy. Broad middle class society has political value that cherishes individual freedom, abide by rule of law, believe in power sharing, and vote their conscious these variables advances a stable democracy for public good. This is what Africa needs.


  1. Well written & concise article. But pls next time, Google the correct name of African leaders before posting. “Kuwame Nkuruma of Gahana”, should be Kwame Nkurmah of Ghana. “Patrice Luymba”, is Patrice Lumumba. “Mobuto”, is Mobutu. I’m saying this because I love your websight & would like to share your articles with ppl, so it’s good if it’s correctly written. You wrote Steve Job’s name correctly, after all.

    Other than that, great job & I wish you all success in future!

    • I really appreciate your input and thanks a lot! Now I have corrected the errors and I make sure I check for the correct names in Google next time. Thanks Mike!!


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