Democracy as defined by Wikipedia is a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislation. Democracy in Africa is one that is of more harm than good to its economic development. The definition of Democracy in Africa is one where the people are forced to sell their control to a minority few who decide what suits them and not what the people needs.
Democracy in Africa; Harm than Good!
1: I am NOT in favor of authoritarianism as a political system.
2: Democracy has some value, especially for relatively homogeneous countries with well-developed institutions.
3: I think Africa should look East (Singapore/China) for a development-focused political system.
2. Democracy supposedly puts options before RATIONAL CITIZENS who EVALUATE the platforms of the contenders before voting for the one with the platform that can help produce economic development and other positive outcomes.
3. The key assumption of democracy as a political system is the rationality of the citizens and their capacity to dispassionately evaluate and choose the best of many options.
4. In a good democratic system, RATIONAL citizens would review:
a. The CVs of the political candidates to assess their record of achievements.
b. Their work experience to assess their leadership abilities, and
c. Their values and lifestyle to ascertain integrity and consistency.
Why is Democracy in Africa an impediment to its Development?
The problem with this key democratic requirement is that a vast majority of our people do NOT possess the literacy level required to make the evaluation. 80% of my and probably your extended family cannot go through this intellectually rigorous process.
Sub-Saharan Africa has a literacy rate of about 60% (quite generous in my opinion) and most of the well-educated people don’t vote. So the uneducated 40% ends up choosing our leaders.
Our people typically outsource the supposedly rational decision-making process to extrinsic factors like tribe (Is he Zulu?), religion (is he a Christian?) charisma (is he fun?), accessibility (can I reach him for a favor?). None of these factors have anything to do with the job.
Nobody would choose the CEO of a company via a general election. It is “stupid” to expect that people who can’t be trusted to choose the CEO of a $1m company can be trusted to choose the CEO of a country with trillions of dollars in GDP.
Solutions and Alternatives
These above are the reasons why democracy in Africa is the biggest impediment to its economic development. It never picks the best leaders on its continent. The need is to migrate to a meritocracy that gives political power to the best regardless of charisma, tribe, and religion.