Ghana’s democracy: the everlasting probation.

It’s quite safe to say that Africa’s political processes are often tainted with lack of transparency. Every election period brings its share of wonders, worries, apprehension with regard to the hope of fair and free elections and the grounding of the true liberal democratic system hoped for by all western donors and observers.

First thing first, it is obvious that one round of transparent election does not account for democracy. It’s obvious yet western leaders do seem to be in a rush to compliment the winner, the loser and then to straight away turn their back on the whole thing and pretend that undemocratic matters belong to the past.

Now as I said before it is obvious that one round of transparent election does not account for democracy, it appears that no one has taken the time to define the approximate number of rounds that would be needed to bring about long-lasting peace and satisfaction to political analysts, journalists, and other outside witnesses and shareholders. At least in the case of African elections, and time will tell, probably also in the case of newly respectable Arab regimes. This remark was brought to my mind when reading a Reuters’ piece on the coming Ghanaian general elections. The title “Ghana poll tests Africa’s “model democracy” suggests uncertainty or potential political destabilisation and the introductory paragraph gives it all “Ghana’s cliff-hanger presidential election on Friday will test[1] the country’s reputation as a bulwark for democracy and economic growth in Africa’s so-called coup-belt“. Yet, it is explicitly said here that opposition and ruling party have lawfully succeeded each other in power five times since 1981’s coup. Now, one would have to agree that 1981 was, indeed, only 31 years ago and that Ghana’s democratic system would be a fairly young one.

Yet when you take the case of Portugal, for instance, which fully embraced democracy from 1974, that is to say seven years before Ghana, you do not hear anyone questioning the outcome of its elections, nor did you seven years ago, when Portugal was, too, in its 31st consecutive year of democracy.

Then it all boils down to this: if we are not ready to embrace the possibility of a Southern democracy, why don’t we stop interfering in its politics?


[1] My emphasis.

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