By Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey
Humankind, in course of its original evolution, was not aware of the philosophy of good or bad governance, though, instinctively, was aware of leadership matters. But humankind was, and is “born free.” These inalienable liberties, freedoms and obligations to the Creator (one God, one nature) and unelected rulers, had been the part and parcel of human livelihood for millions of years.The Holy Books, Judaism (Tora), Christianity (Bible, new and old Testaments) and Islam (Q’uran), recognized and enshrined these human rights and obligations. The modern humanity scientists, evolutionists, archaeologists and historians, confirmed these rights and kinds of leadership and governance before and after Christ. Based on the researchers and findings, it could be concluded that the humankind governance were dictatorships of all kinds. Even today, Dictatorship and Democracy are still in the rivals. The search for sustainable “good governance” continues.
Dictatorship is said to rival Democracy, in terms of good governance. Dictatorship means the office or the term of office of a dictator; hence, absolute power. Dictatorship; absolutism; authoritarianism; Caesarism; despotism; monocracy; one-man rule; shogunate; Stalinism; totalitarianism; and tyranny. A form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)(see English dictionary). These were the first-ever series of the system of governments that raged for many years until Democracy was discovered by Europeans and American revolutionaries in the seventeenth century.
Democracy, as a mode and medium of interpretations, expressions or explanations of good governance, means that a Government is by popular representation; a form of government in which the supreme power is retained by the people, but is indirectly exercised through a system of representation and delegated authority periodically renewed; a constitutional representative; government; a republic (see English dictionary). There are so many related meanings of democracy, but the explanations above are sufficient, comprehensive and inclusive. Although Democracy is the mode and vehicle of modernization, in terms of culture, social, political and economic enforcement of natural liberties, freedoms and human rights. These rights include human obligations and duties for territories (nations) they occupy and own. For now, Democracy promotes scientific political and economic modernization and civilized human livelihoods. Dictatorship doesn’t. Dictatorship, of all kinds, have nothing for the human beings or the life in the wild.
In the philosophy of political science, evolutionists, archaeologists, historians and other studies of humanities, have proved that the instincts of human protectionism and violence are rooted in the traditions of the humankind. Politically, the world has been a domain of individuals strong warriors who could declare their leadership as emperors, Kings or chiefs and absolute rulers.This phenomenon of ruler ship or traditional governance is far from changing drastically in favour of “government of people for the interest of all the people.” This traditional rule of thump, could not even yield to the Holy Books of Judaism, Christianity or Islam (Tora, Bible and Q’uran).
However, in seventeenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, revolutions for Democracy were conceived by British (English) Glorious revolution of 1688 (see English Parliament versus King James (1633-1701); American revolution and independence in 1779 (see President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1782); the French revolution of 1789-1799 (see General Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821); the Russian revolution of 1917 (see General Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) and ultimately, the second world war of 1939-1945 against the fascist Adolf Hitler (1889-1945). Hitler was defeated by dictators (Russia) and Democrats Americans, the British and French acting in solidarity, necessity and common enemy, the fascism. It was from there then that the words like “liberalism, freedoms, human rights, the rule of law and democracy,” emerged and dominated the doctrine of democratic governance of the world. For them, it was time to bring the nations of the world together in order to found and formulate a world body that could carter for international peace and security. This marked the end of the world war 11, as the positive way forward for a peaceful and democratic world.
In essence, the victors of the world war 11 and United Nations (UN) founders: the United States of America, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), China, India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Liberia, Cuba, Haiti, South Africa and many more, held the first world summit of the UN, on 24 October 1945, in San Francisco, California, United States of America. the victors and founders formalized and endorsed the UN Charter, formed the General Assembly, the Security Council (UNSC) and the Secretariat-General. These arrangements ended violence and wars which bedeviled the world for a long time. But, nevertheless, the world continued divided into two main blocks of governance, Dictatorships and Democracies.
This time, the traditional and military dictatorship transformed. The Russian revolution turned “proletariat dictatorship” adopting the Marxism-Leninism based on 1917 revolution with communists, socialist and African liberators alliances, identifying it as “Eastern Europe.” Eastern Europe block and international allies were then led by USSR. This block claimed to sponsor liberties, freedoms and all the rights and obligations of humankind, thus saving humanity from the vices of capitalism, capitalist exploitation, slavery and colonialism.
The Democrats, under the leadership of the United States of America and Western European democracies, rejected what they called “communist claim is wrong because of its infringement of unalienable basic liberties, freedoms and values of human rights. The Western block, known as “Western Europe” embraced total Democracy in which a government and parliament are elected to represent the people and to govern in the name of the people. Such a government could be responsible for law enforcement, rule of law and protection of freedoms of assembly, expression and the press. Until then Africa was not a participant in the change. Africa was in bondage and chains of slavery and colonial administration of the “Western World Democracy.”
Until the end of the second world war, Africa and Africans were not aware of what was going on in the world. The knew only of white colonists who came to Africa by way of “the scramble for Africa, initiated and sponsored by King Leopold (1835-1909) of Belgium, with the intention of occupation, division and colonization of African territory by European powers during the period of New Imperialism, between 1881 and 1914. It is also called the partition of Africa and by some the conquest of Africa (see the Scramble for Africa 1880-1900).” King Leopold was joined in his initiative of “scrambling for Africa” by the very Europeans: Britain, France, Portugal, Belgium, Italy and Spain; who won the war against fascist Germany and founded the UN as victors. In the situation, there was no way, whatsoever, for Africa to ally with Western Europe, as far as they held the territories of African Continent and restricted the freedom of Africans. Africans did not only reject the democratic system of the declared occupiers, colonizers and en slavers of Africans but prejudiced and resented in its totally. Africa, based on the factual and genuine move, had to seek the alliance with USSR and its allies in order to liberate African lands and the people.
In conclusion, Africa knows its story that the humankind emanated from African Continent. Africa knows its traditions and its traditional governance until the nineteenth century, the years of invasion and occupation by Europeans. Africa, therefore, is facing the conundrum of whether to retain the dictatorship pattern of the USSR’s communist version of dictatorial (Stalinism) governance or embrace the Democracy of the former colonialists and therefore to accept and continue under neo-colonialism.
In my opinion, Africa should not take Dictatorship or Democracy of the Europeans, West or East, but to establish their own. The issue is not Dictatorial or Democracy per se, but a system of governance, capable of involving the people to govern and secure their indigenous and inalienable liberties and freedoms they deserve. It is time to seek for an independent system of government, away from the ingredients of Western Europeans Democracy. Under this system of governance, Africa shall continue to face indefinite poverty.