Do Voters Realize that They are the Centre of Democracies and Never the Politicians?

Do Voters Realize that They are the Centre of Democracies and Never the Politicians?

There is an interesting concept called democracy which has the same accepted definition far and wide but with different contextual interpretations across different demographics. For instance, I believe, there is some difference between saying we have a democracy, we are a democracy and we are the democracy. And how we understand these concepts converges down to how we move through life.

A case in time is my country Kenya for instance. We are a powerhouse in the East African region and the continent of Africa as a whole. I identify myself as coming from a democratic nation. In other words, the rule of the people is paramount in my country.

That is a great milestone. We have come from afar like any other nation globally. But simply identifying ourselves as a democracy isn’t enough, it means we are yet to reach the level of saying that we are the democracy (as the citizens) or rather I am the democracy. Why am I saying so?

Elections and Democracy

One way to exercise my democratic right as an individual is to vote. And the second way is to respect the fact that the majority choice carries the day. In terms of the democratic right to vote, Kenyans have been good with that except in the recent past when voter turnout as a percentage of total registered voters has been dwindling. Nevertheless, we agree that we have been doing well.

In the second part of respect for the majority choice, we are struggling as are a majority of other countries in Africa and the world at large. Assuming fairness, there has been a struggle by a part of the political class and even the voters as well in respecting the choice of the majority. It doesn’t mean that the majority choice is the best, but because we identify as a democracy, we ought to walk the talk.

Post-elections

Unfortunately, we seem to have been wired to believe that by participating in an election then our democratic right ends there. And that explains the ranting by the populace as a hopeless and helpless pact which can do nothing in the face of political strangulation and misuse.

We fail in playing the active democratic role of being the democracy. We forget that the politician is our employee, and he should work for us. Sadly, the cards change, and we epitomize the fact that the politician is a demi-god to whom we should be answerable instead of it being the other way around. We trade our ignorance on the manipulation platter of the politician and go attend senseless rallies of loose verbal bowel movements instead of us being at the forefront of questioning the politician on his progress in addressing our issues and interests.

It is rather weird that the people we mandate to represent us come to us and hold hands with us that they have nothing to do about our situations before even exercising the powers we have granted them. They tell us their hands are tied. Why then did we choose them to represent us? It means they are not ready to serve us and thus should be relinquished their duties.

Systems and the people

I do agree that there is no perfect democracy but allow me to use the word mature democracies for today. In some of the mature democracies, the major difference is that systems are larger than the politicians or rather simply the people are larger than the systems. In young democracies, the politicians are larger than the systems or rather the systems are larger than the people.

Understanding the preceding statement can better explain why over five decades after gaining  freedom from our colonizers, we still blame them of our miseries. The truth is that the colonizers left, and we colonized ourselves with some few individuals ending up becoming ‘modern colonizers’ on their own right through ruthless and archaic methods. And we killed ourselves further by getting leaders who well understood how to be better colonizers than their former masters. And we were left to dance to their tune.

Nevertheless, we believe we have what it takes to brag that we are democracies. Better still we have a choice to dance ourselves to the new tune of we are the Democracy. Then and only then can we differentiate between being taken for a ride and taking the ride.

For now, let’s enjoy being taken for a ride because our politicians are the centre of our democracy. Perhaps one day we will wake up and decide to take the ride. And I am hopeful we will notice the difference it will make to us given we will be the centre of our democracy.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at info@dailyfocus.co.ke
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