|Bottle-necks of Development in Africa (HABITAT)|
This continuous frustration of the democratization process is a major bottleneck to any developmental agenda. Africans, like all other human beings, want to enjoy the basic freedom and rights. They want justice, equity, transparency, responsibility and accountability. They want respect and human dignity. They want a decent life and an opportunity to feed, shelter and clothe their families through honest, hard work. They want to create a strong civil society which can hold its leaders accountable and responsible. Such leadership would create an environment which would facilitate creativity, innovativeness, self-confidence, persistence and progress. They want to sustain mechanisms of governance which ensure the security of the people rather than the security of Heads of States. That is the type of democracy millions of Africans are striving for. And that is what they would like the leadership in the world to help facilitate morally, economically, and politically.
In his day, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana is said to have urged Africans to seek first the political freedom and all else would be added unto them. Today Africans are seeking for political freedom which is more democratic, just and fair form of governance so that the economic benefits may be added unto them. It is impossible to do much for the African community until there is political freedom, peace and justice. As one looks at the bottle-necks mentioned in this statement it would appear that Kwame Nkrumah was right. Only, he did not add that it must be political freedom embracing liberty, equity, justice and peace.
Incidentally, the recent power sharing in South Africa offers an interesting alternative for Africa. Everything notwithstanding, the dominant political culture of "winner takes all" was forfeited for national unity in an experiment which however, awaits the test of time. South Africans have enormous mountains to climb and it is prudent to see how they will accomplish the feat. Nevertheless, the traditional acquisition of absolute power and the control of national resources by "the winners" is one major motivation for dictatorships in Africa. Those who "win", even with a minority vote, inherit the land and all its wealth ....literally! And therefore, make all efforts to retain that power, the privileges and trappings which go with it. Of course, the historical and the political reasons for the South African experiment are very different but it nevertheless, offers an interesting alternative approach to power as Africa continues the search for good governance in the African context.