17 February 2010

Article: The Failure of Democracy in Africa

Mukui Waruiru's article "The Failure of Democracy in Africa", published on 31 October 2007 online in "Taki's Magazine", voices a sentiment that I have personally heard expressed by other black Africans too.


Excerpts: "Pure democracy is a system that works well in particular cultures, and not all cultures are equally capable of building harmonious democratic societies. [...] [In] Sub-Saharan Africa, [...] the introduction of pure democracy 50 years ago resulted in disaster for the people of the region. [...] If anything, in many countries, Africans enjoyed greater personal freedom and prosperity under colonial rule, than they do today under independent governments. [...] Putting restrictions on the vote using poll taxes, literacy tests, and property ownership qualifications, has helped many Western nations to preserve liberty and order for centuries. [...] Universal suffrage is a very recent development in the West. [...] Given that Britain and the US took so long to build well-functioning democratic systems, it is unrealistic to expect African nations to have set up successful democratic societies, given the high poverty rates and the low levels of civilization of most of the population. [...]

"Ian Douglas Smith, the former Prime Minister of Rhodesia, [...] was falsely labeled as a racist and white supremacist [...], unlike the architects of apartheid in neighboring South Africa, [...] Smith recognized that the low levels of education and cultural development of most of the blacks, made the establishment of a successful pure democracy a difficult undertaking. [...] Facing a possible future of either a Marxist dictatorship or anarchy, the Rhodesian leadership declared independence and prevented Britain from imposing majority rule in the colony. [...] Blacks were allowed to have 16 seats in the 66 member Rhodesian parliament, [...] [e]ventually, white and black Rhodesians would share power in the Rhodesian Parliament, under a 50-50 arrangement. [...] But the international community would not accept anything less than black majority rule. [...] Smith can accurately be described as a prophet, because he predicted disaster for Rhodesia [now called Zimbabwe] once it came under the control of the communist terrorist, Robert Mugabe."

Mukui Waruiru is the founder of the African Conservative Forum, a Christian human rights and public policy organization based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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