Motives of “born again democrats”

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Even though I am wary of quoting Winston Churchill to make a useful point that could be relevant to the progress of people of African descent, he was reported to have said: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…”.  Ex soldiers who should have retired from running African nations several decades ago, are using their resources and influence to stay in power, describing themselves as “born again democrats”. Most electorates in Africa are still learning the ropes about how to make sensible choices and decisions in their voting patterns. What can be done to rectify the situation?

It might be banal to suggest that the education system of each country should incorporate some consciousness raising and training about this sort of thing, but the sad truth of the current state of affairs remains as follows – voters in African communities are easily manipulated into voting for public figures who entice them with bags of rice, for example. They also vote for politicians, based on where they come from or what their religious faiths might be, instead of holding these aspiring post holders to account for the visions they have for making things better in their societies.

In an ideal world, the principle of “one person, one vote” makes sense. But there needs to be some orientation and training provided, so people can understand the pros and cons of their circumstances and the consequences of their actions, in abstract and practical terms.

Are the ruling elite classes in African countries aware of the need for this work to be done? Of course they are, but in many cases, they prefer to exploit the lack of political sophistication of their local voters, to suit their own short term goals.

Perhaps some of the privileged and well educated folks who want to see progressive change in African societies should be aiming to inform voters about the power of each individual vote, to make a difference to their societies over longer periods of time.


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