It’s been a few months since I last put out anything, the world of academia had hijacked me since July, I last had a post here on the 18th of September. This year 2019 I have put out about 47 blogs thanks to Afrobloggers and their June African Blogging, I doubled my annual blog post average and then got lazy to write, I overachieved and somehow it got to my tiny brain.
A lot has happened since and before I lay out my major reasons for today’s blog post, I want to request that you find the podcast called “The Missing Cryptoqueen”. When I started this blog I really wanted to share what I had come to know with the world, so please find that podcast from BBC Sounds.
I do not like the Springboks but am happy for them, they put on a good show at the rugby world cup, I have to mention them. I think they are being too modest about their achievement. Who else is enjoying the USA impeachment proceedings, they are better than Game of Thrones or Netflix.
Today I want to write about democracy, I have every right to even if I am far from being an expert on politics or political studies. But being human and an earthling… There is a lot going on in the world most of it is ugly and unprecedented especially in the governance and political arena. There is a rise in populism that I have not fully come to comprehend and I am sure I am not alone. The left claims it’s right-wing and the right is on the offensive with the same counterclaim.
Let’s face it, the demons of populism are all over the place and are both manifest in the left and right-wing political spectrums, populists on both sides wage campaigns that have the traits that hinge around the talk of nationalism and socialism and they are giving the political establishments a run for their heads.
It’s has become sort of easy and simple for political outsiders to come in and cause political earthquakes in any part of the world including in places like my Uganda where a musician is dreaming of the state House on the ride of the blowing winds of populism.
In other regions like throughout Europe, hang parliaments have become the new normal, and election after election is the trend, there is the talk of a third election in Israel the self-proclaimed only democracy in the Middle East.
In the past, there were impeachments in South Korea and Brazil that rocked the world. Then there is a new style of coups like the one in Zimbabwe that saw the end of Robert Mugabe, and the new Arab spring that ended the presidency in Sudan and Algeria. Lebanon that has just had elections has also seen people come out on the streets leading to the departure of the Prime Minister and Iraq has followed.
There is a problem, democracy is not working anymore, it’s a cold fact.
In 1975, a report prepared by the Trilateral Commission, “Democracy”, signaled the pessimism and defeatism prevailing in Western democracies at the time about the future and sustainability of democracy.
The report reflected a deep economic downturn, as well as social and political turmoil. This crisis of democracy was tightly connected with concerns about “monopoly capitalism,” rampant materialism, and corruption.
That report seems like it was published last month, only that back then it was just a crisis, unlike today when we have a total system collapse before us.
Today we are living at a time of growing militaries even in the poorest of countries at the expense of citizens, civil liberties are being thrown under the bus even in countries that used to be the role models of the world.
In Africa, we can agree that governments are becoming repressive all over again and returning to the past we only used to read about in history books.
With these democracies in place today, many inadequacies are a usual thing with the institutions that drive the system, there are barely any guarantees to political freedoms, the rule of law is a dreamy thing that is more of a song.
Wait what are human rights events. One thing is certain in developing countries like my Uganda, there is no place in sight for citizens to engage in the political processes, yeah…… town hall meetings are not a thing and all these show the opposite of at least textbook democracy.
In general, in other democracies in the world we are seeing more and more disempowerment of the masses like they don’t get to vote, there is a lack of opportunity that the system has created, when it comes to corruption then a special blog post is needed or a series of blogs to document it.
I have lost count of the unwarranted wars being waged by the biggest Democracies leading to deaths on both sides. Then there is the issue of social and cultural discrimination, tolerance to brutality as the world decides not to see some things, we have new words like ethnic cleansing to mean genocides, as miss-use of the UN veto power is the way to go.
Am forgetting the beasts of economic disparity and the widening rich-poor gap. Even in places like the land of milk and honey by 2009 50 million were facing food insecurities, if that happens that side of the world where the model of democracy is imported from.
The economic problem is further worsened by corporate financing and the terms of the corporations with their massive lobbying. So the role of money in politics is vital to the failure of democracy since it has created a new class system. “The rich don’t need to rely on the government for parks education or medical care or personal security-they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they became more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had” Joseph Stiglitz said these words and they are the reality that democracy has caused to humanity.
Democratic installations have caused widespread dissatisfaction with the system in place causing the political imbalances that are unstable if we look back to Greece before Syriza saved the day. Marginalization on all fronts, exclusion, and poverty is dehumanizing more than 70% of those in the world.
There is the talk of reforming capitalism and everything but no one is talking about reforming the governance style that can no longer work.
For the system to make sense I believe it has to be centered around human dignity, not just freedoms that can’t be defined. Dignity should be more than the absence of animalistic humiliation, dignity should be about the reason as the basis for every policy, security for all, real human rights, reconciling accountable governance with political culture and, transparency moving into the future, justice should be a priority, equal opportunities for all, innovation and inclusion.
If one is not delusional or refusing to notice the failure of democracy because they benefit from the decay, it’s yesterday that we put forward how we are going to work beyond the box to fix democracy or ditch it all together for something new.
We need to create new institutions to facilitate wholesome participation, equity in every social segment, we need to passionately champion the rule of law, we need to explore ways of healthy separation of powers. The media has to be independent and less reckless.
We need to redefine government legitimacy that most leadership lost sometimes back. It’s hard to stand up to the money but boundaries have to be drawn. The world has to rethink the instructions of representatives because not every society is designed for a parliamentary system.
If democracy is not reformed then maybe the into the badlands structure is just on the horizon for human systems.