Furthest Right

How to Adapt Democracy to Support Nationalism

Doanld Trump changed the world not because he implemented a New World Order like George Bush did in 1991 with the Neoliberal ideology, but because he simply wanted to put America First, like the American Constitution intended in the eighteenth century.

Trump basically questioned the Neoliberal sycophants in a manner that was unconventional but refreshing, inducing working taxpayers to support him. He still supports liberal despite some of his more intellectual supporters seriously questioning such a philosophy, but because America is deemed a “republic” the question is temporarily sidelined.

In Africa though there are no republics of the same nature and to tell the truth, the old Colonial Master still active in Africa via the Commonwealth of Nations which thinks Republicanism is a moral sin or at least very bad idea.

CNN opened the floor by asking Why Western-style Democracy is not suitable for Africa:

There are two forms of democracy. Democratic decisions can be taken by majority vote, which is the Western form. It has the advantage of being transparent, fast and efficient. But the downside is that it ignores minority positions.

The alternative is to take decisions by consensus. This has the advantage of taking all minority positions into account.

So too do many traditional African societies. Just because a group does not take its decisions by voting does not mean they have no understanding of the essence of democracy.

A Twitter account called “Afrikanomics” responded, as did an account named “Project 2050” after the Nigerian development plan. Then the author of the CNN article himself responded with his own ideas for the rest of us following this line of thought.

Afrikanomics wrote:

In 2019 the ANC won a 57.5% majority in the National Assembly with the support of only ±26.5% of eligible voters. Western-style multi-party democracy is possible but not suitable for Africa.

Project 2050 replied in a thread:

I slightly disagree that its western style that has caused our National issues as African nations but rather poor leadership, a rotting value system and greed. Our cultures in their own right has also mitigated against our own growth. I will use Nigeria to question his position

The title is appealing to Africans because we naturally refuse to take the blame for our own demise rather place it on other externalities other than ourselves. Let’s imagine that Nigera makes a democratic switch before 2023 elections

Q1. How many persons will be elected to the National council? Will it be one person per ethnic groups in Nigeria or will it be based on ethnic size. My take is that the major ethnic groups will make claim to majority seats in the National Council as we have it today. No change.

Q2. How would we pick the people to represent us at the National Council and what will be the total number? My thinking is this, if we do not currently know how many ethnic groups we have in Nigeria and how many ethnic groups have lost their identity to larger ethnic groups, like the Fulani or Hausa groups.

To represent each ethnicity we may have over 1000 persons at the National Council. This may not give us the desired cost saving of this proposed style. Our cost to fund the National Council might be greater than the cost of the election.

Would reps be from our current political parties or from the current traditional settings? The Umbrella or Broom in Nigeria have their political structures ingrained into the communities and would (not may) hijack the process of selection.

Will they need to have a minimum qualification or will our traditional qualifications suffice? This is a big subject that today even causes a challenge. Our current minimum qualification is  a primary 6 leaving certificate, thus creates a huge challenge because the socioeconomic and political climate globally has moved beyond high school certification but we are still stuck with the most basic certificate. Traditional leaders are not mandated to have western education but only need age and wisdom to rule.

Q5. Will youths be allowed to represent groups in d National council? In the African traditional leadership settings, it was a taboo for youths to talk were elders were talking. Only hereditary monarchies or rotational monarchies had young Oba’s or Sultans ruling the people, mainly because they were seen as sons of the gods. I have always been of the opinion that our real challenge isn’t style of government but our ability to bring every ethic group in Nigeria to function together as a nation-state.

In conclusion: we need to build systems that are just and fair, eliminating marginalisation of smaller ethnic groups. Our structures pre-colonialism were efficient to handle small to medium individual ethnic groups because the socio-economic and political needs of their society were not as demanding as we have today. Can our traditional democratic style of leadership efficiently and effectively help Africa navigate the murky waters of modernization, technological advances, defence and globalization?

The answer to this big question is not a Yes or No, but rather we may need to modify and tweek our African traditional democratic style of leadership to develop a modern and dynamic style of Leadership that is responsive to the Africans socio-economic and political needs today.

The author (a Ghananian at the Free Africa Foundation in New York) responded as follows:

Building an African democracy based on our tradition can be accomplished in four easy steps.

  1. Let each identifiable group of over 500,000 people choose their own leaders (criteria must be transparent). Groups may be ethnic, religious, political, cultural, civic, economic, etc.

    Political configuration should be federalism. A prez caught looting shall have his “shua” cut off immediately This model crafted by the Sovereign National Conferences in the 1990s. Benin had 488 delegates in 1990. Congo Brazzaville had 1500 in 1991 and SA had 228.

    Assoc. of fishmongers, market women, etc. A group with 1m people will choose 2 leaders/delegates. A person may belong to more than one group. A person may be a university professor, of the Yoruba ethnic group and the Bar Association

  2. Say there are 500 groups and therefore 500 leaders. Place them in a National Council.
  3. Select the president from the National Council.
  4. Take decisions by consensus.

Advantages: (a) No more election fraud; only 500 votes to be counted. (b) Huge sums of money wasted on election campaigns in the West can be avoided with savings devoted to development. (c) Anybody can become president as long as they are a leader of a group.

This shows us a new model of democracy, where instead of democracy being imposed by an external power, the existing power structure adapts to have a democracy of consensus instead of a vote that favors an ad hoc plurality.

In a democracy of consensus, leaders are delegated to meet and find solutions, and they debate until everyone is on board, much like the jury at a murder trial. There is no counting the votes and assuming that 51% of the population represents everyone.

Perhaps the West can learn from Africa and get around the leadership failure of democracy, which is that people compromise to be on the winning team instead of stating a clear plan and sticking with it. Future generations could then word on reducing the toxic narcissism that democracy induces on a social level.

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