“Democracy is government of the people, for the people and by the people.”- Abraham Lincoln
Though there is no singular model for democracy, this Abraham Lincoln quote forms the basis on which most people judge the order of governance and politics in democratic countries. Today, many nations around the world are governed under the umbrella of democracy and this has aided the level of collaboration and peace among them.
Historically, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, in resolution A/62/7 (2007), encouraged governments to strengthen democracy through the promotion of national consolidating programmes and also decided that September 15 of each year should be observed as the International Day of Democracy. Consequently, September 15 is annually earmarked to recognise the day. This usually provides an opportunity to observe the state of democracy around the world. This year’s commemoration was themed, “Democracy Education” and citizens’ were enlightened on issues concerning their rights and responsibilities in nation-states.
Truthfully, democracy as practised in many African countries is a shadow of what citizens believe it should be. Malpractices such as election rigging and political thuggery are still very visible. Aspirants who make sweet promises to the masses before elections often disappoint them upon official resumption. Corruption has been merged with the practice of democracy –instead of serving the people, many leaders dip hands into their nation’s pockets for selfish reasons. The real traits of democracy viz. accountability, transparency, responsibility and selfless leadership remain faded. However, with the recent concerns shown by citizens of African nations, especially the youth, things have started changing. Democrats are being held accountable.
Democracy cannot thrive through the activities of African governments and her political leaders alone; participatory efforts from youths, adults, senior citizens and even the corporate members of civil societies are necessary. Urging individuals, leaders and international governments recently, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon said, “On this International Day of Democracy, let us redouble our efforts to support all people, in particular, the young –the drivers of this year’s momentous events –in making democracy a working reality. This day belongs to them. Let us honour their commitment to a lifelong journey in democracy.”
Youths are remarkably handling serious responsibilities in various spheres globally. This year already, 19-year-old Proscovia Alengot Oromait was elected a member of the parliament in Usuk, Uganda. Miss Alengot is replacing her father, the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Usuk, who died earlier this year. She won the seat of Usuk’s MP with 11,059 out of 21,103 cast votes. Though questions have been raised by diverse political commentators about Miss Alengot’s ability to competently perform her parliamentary duties, fellow youths around the world are wishing the youngest Ugandan MP ever a wonderful tenure in service. They truly hope to even see her exceed expectations and are ready to give her the cheering support she needs.
By Ayodeji Morakinyo.
Ayodeji is a guest blogger whose writes for Commonwealth and African Youth Journal. You can visit his blog to read more articles www.moraks.blogspot.com.