IS IT IMPORTANT TO LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY?
Is it really important to live in a democracy? This has been a question that crosses most minds of the people concerned with defining international relations at one point in life. It once struck my mind of the possibility of living in a dictatorial government in this century!! The thought lingered in my mind which prompted me to dig deeper into democracy. Through several questionnaires and research I made locally majority of the people seem to be aligned to democracy. Most people decry other systems for lack of inclusivity, limitless powers to governments and depriving freedom to people. Further research into this topic made me realise that most if not all countries at one point in time had greedy leaders who had to be toppled to quench their desires and wishes to cling to power for eternity. Thanks for this opportunity for everyone to share with the world their experiences and individual opinions on this topic. What a time to have this topic when there is a threat of another world war with increased nuclear tests.To try and answer this we cannot ignore the fact that countries in Africa were once former colonies of western countries. This periods were associated with slavery and discrimination of the natives in their own soil. Africans began to rebel and eventually fought their way out into freedom through colonization. History on democracy can be seen in this whereby Africans needed to be ruled by leaders of their own choice and be able to enjoy similar freedoms as their oppressors. This fight for liberalization is democracy in its simple tenets. Therefore, Democracy can be defined as a system of government whereby citizens of a sovereign state are actively involved and passively represented in decision making process in local and international affairs. In different fashion I can define democracy as a fight or struggle for liberalization.
There several forms of democracy but basically this can be active through exercising their right to vote in general elections and constitutional referendum among others. Representative or passive involvement is when citizens eligible to vote elect leaders to represent their views through parliament sittings. Democracy has been implemented partly if not fully in majority states in the world. Democracy can be termed as a contrivance for the societies where their opinions can be expressed.
In a democracy welfare of a state can be realized where every citizen has been reserved civil and political rights, social, economic and cultural rights as well as freedoms. These include right to life, right to religion, right to proper housing and freedom of expression among others. In comparison, other forms of government certain rights are insurmountable as such citizens live as captives in their own state. Therefore, democracy translates to respect for human life, proper housing, religion, sexuality hence it all deciphers to morality exists in a democracy. This has tried to merge the gap between the rich and poor or as what Karl Marx calls bourgeoisie and proletariate
In Kenya, the north and coastal areas have been marginalized for many years in the past thanks to devolution which was brought about by citizens voting in a new constitutions the areas have experienced development. Democracy fosters improved economy as the taxpayers are given a chance to take responsibility to propel their nations forward. This can be illustrated in nations which adopt democracy. With dynamic nature of international relations and robust development of the political world in the last few decades there has been the emergence of non-state actors such as United Nations, European Union and NATO which have played a pivotal role in providing civic education to local citizens which target at accomplishing national revolution through constitutional; legal reform, public policy and public awareness by re-introducing a complete overhaul of the national paradigm prototype for engendering robust public participation and engagement. Certain nations have made enormous strides as non-state actors intervention where leaders are stuck to power are toppled and democracy introduced and as such the nations have rose to become middle level income countries.
Democracy lacks “democracy” this means it does not accommodate everyone it is pegged on majority versus minority. Divisions in the society. Matters that are controversial in the society often have those who are in favor of or against these include elections, referendum, abortion and sexuality. This allows the creation of social cleavages which divide and disintegrates unity among the citizens on the basis of race, gender, tribe and religion. For instance African countries are hesitant to pass issues on sexuality involving homosexuality since it conflicts with it cultural customs this denies the individuals who chose homosexuality in Africa to enjoy democracy on majority-minority basis. Thus, democracy forces the few to be subjected to the laws passed by the majority.
The increasingly dynamic and contemporary world of Artifical Intelligence promises to pose hindrances for democracy. Artificial Intelligence massive power violates democratic values and rights. online search algorithms and predictive police data models could easily corrupt the democratic process without necessary oversight. Social media platforms are using crude means that are seen to increase their business profit margins. Uncontrolled use of technology is a threat to democracy since most of new technology are build and designed to perform comparatively to human beings. Such capabilities in the near future can manipulate all democratic avenues. This is seen in elections where competitors implore use of propaganda to outdo their rivals. This has also been seen in the now emerging topic on fake news.
Living in democracy is humane, Reasonable and more responsible for the above reasons aforementioned it is best to live in a democracy. This should not only be applied in public sectors but also in the private sectors as well in activities such as job placement, academic institutions enrollment. This will provide an avenue for African countries do away with vices such as bribery, embezzlement of funds and corruption that cuts across the globe bringing about transparency and accountability.
As I post my submission to this topic it is my hope that democracy be upheld and made a basic need. Those threatening it should be shun and separated from the rest. Through democracy I have a chance to write and compete with my friends in this topic. However, the high Indebtness of African countries to western countries and recently China, Africa is at the verge of being sunk by the heavy tides of uncontrolled borrowing which seems lucrative. This has been seen in Zambia where they had to give out their port to the Chinese Government. The king is dead long live democracy.
MASINDE MULIRO UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY