EDITORIAL: Walking safely down a democratic path depends on who you are

The Brexit media bombardment has been so intense, so continuous and infectious that even non-British TV viewers are forced to partake of the party.

Boris Johnson, the in-incoming UK Prime Minister is the man of the moment and with him brings to mind a favourite pastime in the West; democracy, or lack of it, in Africa.

Democracy, we were taught at an early age, was a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It means that in an election the majority wins the day

In the United Kingdom, a country of over 67 million people that regards itself as a champion of democracy, the decision to choose the new Prime Minister was left in the hands of 0.2 per cent of the population- 138,809 people to be exact.

Those were members of the conservative party who were the only ones who had a say in who runs their country. Boris Johnson won by 66 per cent (92,153 votes). That is British democracy and no one is complaining.

In 2002, French President Jacques Chirac won the elections with 82 per cent of the vote. The following year, President Paul Kagame won the election with 95 per cent. The verdict from the West of both elections was; in France it was a “landslide”, in Rwanda it was “rigging”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been in office for the last 14 years and is not yet done as she is now on her fourth term because for her there are no term limits. In Africa, the mere mention of a third term can cause a stroke among the zealous defenders of democracy.

The above scenarios are an unshaken conviction that democracy moves in mysterious ways depending on the continent.

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