An open letter to the African electorate
The power to effect political change in Africa has always rested in the hands of the African people. How this power has been used in the past has been based on the African view of democracy. Several leaders in Africa, who led their countries into independence, failed to deliver economic freedom, other have even been found to be corrupt and oppressive and yet others have stayed on in power beyond their usefulness to their countries through the manipulation of the electoral system. It however now the time for the African people to adopt a modernist view about democracy and start using their powers to elect leaders capable of delivering good governance. Democratic systems of government with the right structures and strictures will deliver good governance. Good governance is desirable, equitable and facilitates development and progress for all the people in the country, engenders good health, education and social harmony, protects them from disorder and incursions from other states, and promotes economic growth and prosperity.
The most objective and modern system for selecting the most suitable people to rule a country in a republican democracy is through elections. The road to good governance therefore begins with an election. It is for the people to critically evaluate candidates against a framework and subject them to rigorous analysis. Elections need, political parties, party policies, principles and philosophies, promotion and propaganda of these policies and above all personalities that will stand for election.
What the electorate need to look for is a strong party, a party that is set up under egalitarian principles and that is representative of all people in the country no matter their station in life, class, tribal origins, gender, religious beliefs or creed.
Indeed what the electorate must find desirable is a party that reflects their aspirations, a party that must be capable of negotiating between the different interest groups in the country and must have the capacity to merge these interests into a common good capable of being articulated to the people.
The underlying ideology of the party must be robust. It must deal with basic principles. It must be flexible so that it lends itself to adaptability in a changing political and socio-economic environment. Whilst most valuable principles emanate from traditional values, the principles that rule a party must be capable of modernisation to deal with dynamic change in the environment. For instance, in Britain recently, the Labour Party had to transform itself into a New Labour Party, ditch some of the main tenets of the party, that had no place within a modern 21st century agenda, in order to win the 1997 general elections. A party founded on valued principles is a party that has solid foundations and is capable of renewal.