Africanisation of democracy versus militarisation of Africa

Eventually, Africa has been dragged into a deep political impasse and torn between the awkward processes of Africanisation of democracy and militarisation of Africa’s politics. Africa’s democracy is like a human body without its systems, which lacks a pragmatic and universal overview for its sustenance, and this triggers the military to push Africa back to the military epoch with a renewed vigor.

It takes a great deal of many factors to have an Africanised democracy. Foremost must be a re-definition and abuse of democracy to mean government of the few, by the few and for the few in terms of power and resources manipulation. This tallies with the fact that as a result of massive corruption and other ‘ legalised’ plundering by the leaders, our continental democracy is a blessing to few and a curse to majority who are battling with poverty and insecurity. The African genre of democracy is orchestrated not on the solid foundation of principles and values of democracy but on the dictates of personal interest. This degenerates into a profound crisis of confidence between the leaders and the led.

Consequently, political parallelism is now a prominent feature of Africa’s political space. There is now a bloated fundamentalism between pro-democracy and pro- military Africa. The balkanisation of Africa through Africanisation of democracy and militarisation of Africa will leave in its wake devastating consequences. Already, Africa’s unity has been desecrated tremendously. Political instability will be entrenched further and will make it unconducive for foreign investments. Economic ties amongst African countries will suffer a great set back just as the case of Niger and Nigeria regarding the recent coup in the former.

Under the prevailing circumstances, militarism will now be regarded as the real opposition party to our Africanised democracy owing to the escalating wave of coups that is now penetrating Africa. From Burkina Faso to Mali, from Sudan to Niger and now Gabon, the political dimension is the rejuvenation of Khaki boys. The fear of the military is now the beginning of wisdom to life presidents such as Paul Biya of Cameroon, who is now making reshufflement in the military ranks to ensure that he carries his power to the grave. Like the spontaneous Arab spring that culminated in the ouster of some North Africa’s leaders, we don’t know the next country that will be militarised.

Beyond the surface decoding, Africa’s democracy is largely reactionary and boosting power only as an individual end product. This does not corroborate with the political culture of power as a tool towards collective end result. Indeed, power struggle among African politicians is a do-or-die game, period. Just as in shifting cultivation farming system, the average African politician is manipulating power system and shifting it from one level to another with the primary motive of self-aggrandisement and power elongation. This is why we have had some African leaders who have been richer than their countries. The essence of governmental responsibility is neglected and consequently, there is a general feeling of disenchantment among the people. The next thing is the military to stage a coup.

Africa’s package of democracy is also gifted with unrefined politicians who possess certain political idiosyncrasies. If we are to deploy discerning measurements to assess their political philosophy, they showcase political bankruptcy that propels multicentric scenarios. With sheer immunity, they harm democratic institutions, structures, values and practices without being mindful of the repercussions.They always want us to accept their weaknesses as their strengths. No way! It is not possible for them to move Africa forward. To save Africa from drifting into anarchy, we need real progressive politicians who can reform Africa’s democracy to avert further pauperisation of Africa. But that will be at the cost of forfeiting the influence of the Western powers.

If the African politicians fail to live with the existing realities and make the necessary amendments accordingly, then we cannot escape the eruption of military interventions in Africa. This military uprising is sending a political lesson that as long as Africa’s democracy will continue to be bankrupted, more military coups are coming to Africa. While the military is not exonerated from the continent’s political predicament as it is also the bad product of our colonial experiences, yet the coupists are justifying their adventure by taming the political exuberance of some political figures, their perpetuated vision of fraudulent elections and socioeconomic maladies resulting from decadent governance among others.

The concept of ‘jobless’ Africa’s politicians should be a major theme for understanding the general Africanisation of democracy. The job of an elected politician is doing the needful that will greatly impact on the people. But many prefer to squander our resources by doing the needless. It is pertinent to cite an example such as misplaced priorities in which a leader can plunder resources on unviable physical infrastructure where most basic schools lack teachers and learning facilities. Paradoxically, it is the construction of physical infrastructures at the expense building humanity.

We also ought to have an overview of ‘dutiful’ politicians and one name that compels mentioning is Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno state. Most of his governmental actions are reaffirming the universal message of democracy as people’s focus. He is down -to -earth and selfless. He is in the power house as a servant and not a master. Of course, the masters in our government houses must be jealous of him. We need more Zulums in African politics. However, the irony is that the Zulum phenomenon can hardly spill over other parts of Nigeria and beyond.

The pillars of democracy are falling down in Africa and that’s why Africa is falling between pseudo democracy and military despotism. Just take one fundamental pillar such as election and see how it is greatly scandalised. It remains the greatest risk of our political terrains. Sadly, the African power mentality is a symptom of the colonial disease that ravaged Africa’s history.

Let’s all lament that Africa is in a big dilemma. Neither Africanisation of democracy nor militarisation of Africa can meet our political aspirations. This political deadlock is the poor outcome of Africa’s deeply-rooted colonisation.

Abdullahi writes from
Ringim, Jigawa state via
[email protected]

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