(FinalCall.com) – Kenya is another country in Africa challenged by its attempt to govern its people under a western-style democracy.
Although Kenya has a strong economy, the botched elections that recently took place put this beautiful country on the “Failed State” list with other African nations using western style democracy to elect their leaders. This list of considered failed states includes: Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, and Cote D’Ivoire. There are other countries in Africa who want to believe that this system of democracy is working although it is clear that their country stands on the brink of being classified also as a failed state.
The elections that took place on December 27, 2007 have kept Kenya in the spotlight of world news daily because of the violence that has spread outside of the capital, Nairobi. World leaders, in their effort to help bring an end to the violence that is destroying the country, have traveled to Kenya, called the leaders of both parties, and asked former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to try to negotiate a peace settlement.
As I watch and read the news reports about the tragedy in Kenya, where nearly 1,000 have been confirmed dead, 300,000 displaced, stores looted and property burned, I am convinced that the Westminster System of Democracy is a failure in Africa.
Africans, as most people of the world, long for democracy where the masses are free to choose their leaders without a trail of death and destruction before and after elections.
Africa needs a form of government that speaks to its culture and traditions. In many areas of Africa, the influence and importance of tribal leadership cannot be dismissed. Any system of democracy that is developed must take into consideration the reality of tribalism.
Africa cannot follow the European or American style of democracy.
The Europeans developed this democracy from Greek influences and have had hundreds of years to improve upon this system of government, contrary to the nations of Africa who have only enjoyed freedom from their colonial masters over the last 50-plus years.
Africa needs a think tank comprised of “the best minds” that can develop a form of democracy that speaks uniquely to the African experience, considering what’s in the best interest of the country, considering tribalism and inclusive of advice from traditional elders. In tribal tradition, when one of the “sons” of the tribe is running for office, it is expected that most members of the tribe will support him.
As this western-style democracy pits tribe against tribe, there are forces at work dividing the Nations of Africa: The North Africans (Arabs) against the Sub Saharan Africans (Blacks). As Africa fights, America and France are planning to build military bases on African soil. Africa is struggling to maintain its freedom and self determination, allowing military bases will erode this freedom.
America is the number one trading partner with Africa and Europe is not far behind. However, they no longer have an exclusive on Africa’s natural resources. The new scramble for Africa now includes China. The wealth that Africa is receiving from the sale of oil and other natural resources to the East and West should be used to further develop its infrastructure, improve education, strengthen the economy and create jobs so young people of Africa will not feel the need to flee the continent looking for greener pastures in the West.
All across Africa, African leaders seeking to be elected are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fund these multi-party elections patterned after western style democracy, a path that Africa should not and must not follow. In America, the cost of the current 2008 presidential elections will exceed $2 billion.
Kenya brings home the reality that trying to adopt the colonial master’s system of government for the people of Africa is a miserable failure.
The Heads of State that convened in Addis Abada at the African Union Conference, beginning Jan. 31, must keep Kenya at the top of the agenda if Africa and the World is not to face another Rwanda.
To send comments or questions to Akbar Muhammad email [email protected].