Western Liberal Democracy Can Never Function In Africa

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has said Western liberal democracy was “forced” onto Africa, which is why it failed there.

Obasanjo stated this on Monday while delivering his keynote address at a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa”, in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.

The former president claimed that because Western Liberal Democracy ignores the opinions of the majority of people, it can never function as a system of administration in Africa.

Obasanjo described Western Liberal Democracy as a “government of a few people over all the people or population, and these few people are representatives of only some of the people and not full representatives of all the people.  Invariably, the majority of the people are wittingly or unwittingly kept out.”

Rather than support Western liberal democracy, he promoted what he called “Afro-democracy.”

He asserts that it is improper for African nations to run a political structure over which they do not influence the “definition and design.”

Obasanjo said, “The weakness and failure of liberal democracy as it is practiced stem from its history, content, context, and practice.

“Once you move from all the people to representatives of the people, you start to encounter troubles and problems.  For those who define it as the rule of the majority, should the minority be ignored, neglected, and excluded?

“In short, we have a system of government in which we have no hands to define and design, and we continue with it even when we know that it is not working for us.

“Those who brought it to us are now questioning the rightness of their invention, its deliverability, and its relevance today without reform.

“The essence of any system of government is the welfare and well-being of the people—all the people. 

“Here, we must interrogate the performance of democracy in the West, where it originated, and with us the inheritors of what we are left with by our colonial powers.

“We are here to stop being foolish and stupid. Can we look inward and outward to see what in our country, culture, tradition, practice, and living over the years that we can learn from, adopt, and adapt with practices everywhere for a changed system of government that will service our purpose better and deliver?

“We have to think outside the box and then act with our new thinking. You are invited here to examine clinically the practice of liberal democracy, identify its shortcomings for our society, and bring forth ideas and recommendations that can serve our purpose better, knowing human beings for what we are and going by our experiences and the experiences of others.  

“We are here to think as leaders of thought in academia and leaders of thought with some experience in politics.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *