Why democracy is not working in Africa?: Liberia as a case study

 

francis-portraitUnder the principles of democracy, government everywhere has an inherent responsibility to provide an enhancement for its citizens to have access to basic services such as health care, education, shelter, food among others and to communicate important information to its citizens in a timely and consistent manner. But in Africa, the measure of democracy is only based on elections. My friend, election is not the end none the beginning of democracy. In-fact frequent elections have caused more problem in building the state than we think. Democracy is not guaranteed once nations’ social and economic institutions are not strengthen to the point that the citizens approach to issues of governance is coherence to developmental agenda of the country especially the involvement of the young people from the genesis of policy planning and implementation. Additionally, when these policies do not relate to the day-to-day economic wellbeing of the majorities of the citizens who have surrounded their rights for the purpose of maintaining peace, order and economic viability of their society, the revise might be brutish.

Even though election is one of the pillars upon which democracy is built, but if care is not giving in analysing elections related events, the nation will be in terror. We would argue that collective participation of people in structuring of power is at the core of all human rights- it is impossible to  uphold democracy, support and protect human rights without an understanding of tools to support citizens participation and commitments to those rights. In this way, democracy is foundational- to all rights ranging from the right to vote, to the right to health and education, to the right to free speech and the right to information. Timely access to information is one of the determinant factors to all of these and it has to be done through mature and independent media.

It’s globally known  that one who has power determined who get what and as such everyone want to be in the position of authority. Hence, people who want to be in this positions’ of trust will do anything within their reach to get to power and to remain in said authority. Therefore, the will craft a slogan that will resonate with the poor who are in majority and without better understanding of what the slogan is about, the poor majority will make sure that the progenitors of the slogan ascend to power.

But the irony is that these poor majorities when the power has already been given to someone or group of people who really do not understand how to adequately administer the affairs of the state can get frustrated and become violence at the end. Additionally, these people are always living in a visual circle of hope with less or no confidence in the government and their welfare and the future of their children keep retrogressing. In Liberia, for example, the same promise made by William V.S.Tubman in 1944 about improving the lives of the people of Liberia is the same platform many of our politicians are still moving on today. But the reality is that the lives of the people truly remain the same. Then how will democracy really work when the government keep crying of poor economics yet government officials lived in a very expensive and well-furnished compound; drive a car worth US$60000, send their children are in foreign countries for schooling; seek medical attention in developed countries such as the United States of America; take home for themselves a monthly salary of US$13000 plus other benefits. Whereas the electorates lived on less than US$1.00 per-day; died of common illness because of lack of quality medical services; their children are attending schools that lacked quality educational services and they walked for about 2 hours every day to access school; go to school on empty stomach; lived in shanty building and possessed only a pair of shoe and wear one suit for at least four days.

About the author:

Francis Egu Lansana studied Sociology and Political Science at the University of Liberia and he has over 10 years working experience with Non-Governmental Organization, Private Sector and Government. For further information, Francis can be reach through E-mail:fraela79@gmail.com and Phone #: +231886156316

 

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Education and thinking; A gateway to building a stronger nation

francis-portrait

I know someone is out there asking; “what is about education and thinking”?  My friend here I come to you with the answer that might not be the perfect one but it entails some details answers to your question. Education is the practice of sustaining learning, gaining of knowledge, talents, values, principles, and tradition and acquiring it involved different methods which include storytelling, dialogue, coaching, exercise, and fixed investigation. Education often takes place under the management of instructors, however, apprentices may also acquire it by themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any knowledge that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational.

Thinking can be considered as the act of generating thoughts. Proving that thought is an ultimate human activity accustomed to everyone, therefore, there is no commonly known covenant to details as to what thought is or how it can be generated.

The fact is that thought triggers many human activities and collaborations, ranging from its fleshly and abstract heritages, methods, and effects has remained an enduring objective for numerous disciplines.

Thinking provides the humans with the ability to sort logic of, construe, characterize, perfect the ecosphere and make forecasts about what they experience. Hence, it’s indeed helpful to  human as a guiding tool for setting up needs, goals, wishes and as tool for  making the agenda  in the pursue of accomplishing every dreams.

In every region of the world and with every human, development starts with thinking and education. When the citizens of a country become positively thoughtful, they will become patriotic and educated and will be adequately informed about their government. Thus, their ability to monitor, investigate and make the government functions adequately and more pro-actively will become easy and the affairs of the citizenry will be considered as a priority by the government. Adequate information sharing and quality education are very much cardinal to the growth of any country.

However, this need to be put into a context so that its fits into the cultural dimension of a region or country in-order that the people who are perceived to be the ultimate beneficiaries can easily understand the methodological approach. Once you connect a new idea to what someone previously know, learning will become easy.

When a leader of any country provides quality education and build policies that are developmental friendly, transformation and growth will force its way into that country. The way you think influences your behavior and the way you behavior helps to direct your destiny. One of the core reasons for Liberia’ 14 years war was triggered by our thought patterns.

To the citizens in general, self-esteem, integrity and personal accountability should be the core guide in the quest for quality education. Building a social capital is vital in actualizing development. More coordination and networking among different kinds of professionals and sector is the bed rock and the road map through which ideas can easily be cross pollinated and solution can be found to those problems that existed before.

About the Author:

Francis Egu Lansana is a civil society leader in Liberia. He works for Accountability Lab Liberia. His passion for community participation, governance and development is inspired by humanitarian groups and the world leaders who strive for global stability. He studied Sociology and Political Science at the University of Liberia. He has written several articles including his recent article on “Media for Change Makers” published by Peace Journalist Magazine in the USA and other media institutions like the bush chicken and  heritage news paper.

Contacts:

 

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Where bad governance exist, citizens are denied certain basic social eminities such as transportation. Inhabitans of Monrovia srcambling over commecial vehicle in Monrovia.In the absent of priority in setting up developmental agenda, achieving the goal of this agenda is far from reach. Since Madam Sirleaf was elected into power in Liberia as the first female democratically elected president of Africa oldest republic, there has been conferences putting together a road map for better Liberia ranging from Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), Vision 2030, etc, yet nothing much is done. Every system in Liberia is getting worse. Common example is, commuters from sub-urban settlement around Monrovia are finding it very difficult to get to central Monrovia for business transaction, a place where 90% of the government ministries and agencies are located.

If you live or visit around  Monrovia city sub-burb specifically Duala on the Bushrod Island, Gardnerville, Paynesville and Old Road you will realized that bad governance in Liberia has denied the citizens of Liberia the right from some basic social services such as transportation. Life is getting difficult day-by-day. Liberians are tired of empty promises said some college graduates whose spent their days to coffee shops in Monrovia not because they are without skill but because there is or are no space  for them to practice what they know.

Education in Liberia is like a waste because there is no system set for placing people on job based on what he/she knows. In fact getting job in Liberia doesn’t depend on what you know but “who know you”. The youth stressed. If you look around the streets of Monrovia today, you will realize that many young people in the streets are either selling or riding motor cycle. This is because they are not seeing actual transformation in the lives of their peers who have gone through the walls of academic institutions. As such the value or enthusiasm for quality education is dropping in Liberia.

University of Liberia, the oldest institution of higher learning in West Africa and the state only own institution of higher learning in Liberia is not among the first 100 ranked Universities in West Africa.  Yet, Madam Sirleaf whom majorities of Liberians voted because of her academic profile, instead of building the medium to give quality to the nation educational system, she condemned it by saying “the educational system of Liberia is a mess”.  We accept your condemnation Madam president. Yet we want to know your role as a head of the state in cleaning the “mess” you mentioned. A leader most condemn and recommend way forward.

Majorities of Liberians in Liberia today are like refugees in their own country. To afford daily meals is imaginable as the streets of Monrovia is getting flooded with petty traders whose income can feed them for only a day. Food prices are sky rocketing day-by-day, rise in school feels are not to be over emphasis and access to quality medical care for 98% of Liberians in Liberia is out of reach.

Judicial is a central pillar for building democratic state, yet this institution is no more trusted proven by many  inhabitants of Monrovia/Liberia always using violence to attain justice for themselves, read here .  Also it is noticed that  a good number of the state security personnel are in the service just for mere job seek but not for the protection of the state as their code of conduct says through the oath of allegiance.  This is evidence by  police corruption according to Transparency International Index report2014.

A member of the house of legislature will prefer to ride a car value at US$40000 while his or her constituency is without a clinic or a high school yet they claimed of been working in the interest of the masses.  Police are without proper uniform yet the directors of police are riding US$ 40000 worth of vehicle. Boarders are without proper security, even though polices are find in every street corners of Monrovia, immigration cars with the inscription “Boarder Patrol” can been seeing plying the streets of Monrovia there by leaving boarder entries without security.

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