The Chronicle Gambia

“Democracy” – Please Don’t Get Upset!

Citizens vote on Election Day at Fire Station #71 in Alhambra, Los Angeles County, on November 6, 2012 in California

Dear Gambian-American,

So if this thing they call democracy is supposed to be underpinned by the ability to “choose” which individuals citizens want to be making decisions on their behalf, why should you be angry that someone decides a racist or an abuser better represents their interest than another elite you prefer? But I guess democracy also allows you to feel however you want and so I’m not telling you not to be, I’m asking why!

You may think racism is wrong and that Trump is racist but some person deep in the great state of Mississippi may think God choses Trump to be president and their vote is based on that belief. You may think they’re ignorant but your thoughts of them probably do not even factor in their thinking; so take a chill pill. Their vote may not have anything to do with how you see Trump.

If Trump was Muslim, some of you would have also voted for him because you’d think he represents your interest somehow. Didn’t we see some Nigerians who were marching in support of Trump? You may think they’re ignorant but you’d be surprised at how religious evangelicalism has permeated the African marketplace of religion given how we have been able to pray our problems away!

But since you claim to be a Democrat, should you feel angry because someone made a choice you don’t agree with? Doesn’t democracy mean that you accept that an idiot has all rights to be an idiot and that includes thinking you’re the idiot?

Regardless of how educated or ignorant you may think someone else is, people vote based on what they think represents their interest. People will vote for Trump because he’s White and others will vote against Trump because his opponent represent the interests of their race. In Africa, we have convinced ourselves that it’s wrong to vote for someone based on their tribe. And may be so.

But In America, when many of you voted for Obama simply because he’s “Black”, they call that the Black vote! I guess there’s nothing tribal about Blacks voting for Obama simply because he’s Black but be a Badibunka and vote for Njundu simply because he’s Badibunka, and they’ll call you ignorant! Why is that we consider Fula a tribe but don’t see the French as a tribe?

In a perfect system, you’d think people will see the larger interests of society and vote for that. But what you think is the larger interest probably does not apply to the man in the backwaters of Florida. And this thing they call “democracy” is not perfect and that is one of the reasons Africans need to stop copying and pasting it as if it’s perfect and a panacea to all our ills.

We had our own systems that were not based on this nation-state curse that the colonialists saddled us with. Certainly, we are not too dull to figure out what can work for us as people but alas the elites that have the rest of us in a stranglehold will do all they can to keep us backward. Our democracy will only be accepted by our leaders in so far as it does not challenge the power of the elite. And in the end, that’s where it all ends: At the altar of power!

In Uganda, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and Guinea Conakry, the people are participating in sham electioneering meant to represent the voice of the population but all that is at stake is power! The imperfections of this “democracy” become much more apparent when power over the people overrides the power of the people! Copy and paste it all you want but it’s not going to solve African issues until we sit down and formulate and adapt it to fit our unique circumstances.

For Africa to rise, the foundations it subsists on must be dismantled and that starts with the mindsets!

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