Pseudo-democracy is not good enough!
Was 2016 a good year for democracy in Zambia? Government would say ‘yes!’ The opposition would say ‘no!’ Former US president Lincoln famously said that democracy was “government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people”. The definitions of ‘of’, ‘by’ and ‘for’ have been discussed ever since, but no matter how one looks at it, democracy is about people, and in this context we are talking common people! The question is whether or not our government is about common people? First of all, our government is not made of the common people, since it only includes people with a Grade 12 certificate. Neither is it made by the common people, judging from the many reports of irregularities during this year’s elections. The opposition was demonised, harassed and arrested, the biggest government-critical newspaper was closed, and there were reports of rigging. And our government is definitely not made for the common people, as our law-makers seem more concerned with how many houses, cars and allowances they can amass. Zambia may be better off than many other African countries, and some people believe that ‘big man democracy’ is exactly what the masses need. I disagree! Zambia has held regular so-called democratic elections since independence, but without its democracy becoming visibly more democratic. We can definitely do better than this pseudo-democracy in 2017!
Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly