HomeEditorialMulti-Party Democracy In Africa A Tool That Serves Imperialist Interests

Multi-Party Democracy In Africa A Tool That Serves Imperialist Interests


Case Study: Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Ethiopia… 

The 20th century saw many conflicts in Africa, breaking out along ethnic divisions. For instance, according to an African researcher Abdalla Bujra, it took only the Ibos to start a major civil war in Nigeria – a highly fractionised  society. The Ibos were cohesive and well organised. Besides, the civil wars in Uganda, the Sudan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone were and are being carried out by rebel movements which are organised across ethnic lines. Therefore the influence that tribalism and ethnicity have had on many conflicts in Africa some years ago, cannot be in doubt. Yet, many researchers hold different views about the true nature of conflicts in Africa today.

Dr Anke Hoeffler, a researcher at the Centre for the Study of African Economies, at the Oxford University suggests that from the 1990s, Africa has seen a reduction in the prevalence of civil war and that some countries with long and devastating civil wars are now at peace. Angola, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Rwanda are said to be such examples.

However, in the past few years, conflicts and bloodshed are beginning to show up their ugly heads across the continent once again. The causal factors have been attributed to the search for “democracy”, the holding of political elections, bad economic policies, boundary and territorial disputes, among others.

Some Causes Of Conflicts In Africa

It is believed that political and economic development failures have been the root cause of Africa’s political instability. Others also suggests that the rising conflicts in Africa are as a result of bad economic policies which are often imposed and directed from abroad, notably Washington, London and Paris.

An example is the recent IMF imposed policies of fuel subsidy removal which almost threw Nigeria and other West African countries into chaos. Although the situation was finally put under control at some point, it can be remembered that the clashes between the people and the security forces left scores dead and many others wounded.

Conflicts have also broken out between many African countries as a result of the artificial boundaries created by the colonial rulers which often put some neighbouring countries at odd with each other. Some examples include: the Eritrean–Ethiopian War that took place from May 1998 to June 2000. The tension between North Sudan and South Sudan, Africa’s longest civil war, where countless people have died is another clear example.

In spite of these, the globalist and their corporate mainstream media, also try hard to link conflicts in Africa with climate change. The BBC recently reported: “Climatic factors have been cited as a reason for several recent conflicts. One is the fighting in Darfur in Sudan that according to UN figures has killed 200,000 people and forced two million more from their homes”.

Even though some of the above-listed views regarding conflicts in Africa are to some extent credible, they are just a tip of the iceberg, especially when one critically looks at the emerging bigger picture: wars of democracy and electoral disputes in Africa.

The Bigger Picture

For the past 15 years, the most dangerous and most frequent cause of conflicts, divisions and wars in many peaceful African countries have not been as a result of tribalism nor ethnic divide as the media would have us believe.

However, many of the civil wars recently seen in Africa have been as a result of “democracy”, electoral disputes and political clashes which often left tens of thousands of people dead and many others wounded. A few list of the countries which has experienced electoral disputes/clashes  where many people were reported to have lost their lives are: Ethiopia(2005), Kenya (2007), Zimbabwe (2008), Burundi (2010), Guinea(2010), Ivory Coast (2011), South Sudan (2011), DR Congo (2011)Uganda (2011),  and many more.

Nigeria’s elections that were held in April (2011) were hailed by many as the fairest in the nation’s history. Yet, at least 800 people were killed in campaign violence. The presidential election set off rioting amidst sectarian killings in northern Nigeria that left more than 800 dead. Also in Rwanda, intolerance of political opposition was unchanged since the 2010 elections. Many were reported to have died as a result of the electoral violence.

Recently in Liberia where the elections were boycotted by the opposition, many feared that the situation could even give way to civil war again.

Although the elections in South Sudan  (2011) was relatively peaceful, however there were clashes in the disputed border area of Abyei and in two other states that lie north of the border with the South (Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan). The Sudanese government was again accused of attacks on civilians in Darfur.

Meanwhile the thought of the clashes in Kenya and recently in Ivory Coast sends a cold shiver down my spine. The images were too gruesome and very disturbing. But these were as a result of the so-called democracy. After the Kenyan massacre, it took the mediation process, facilitated by the then Ghanaian President and African Union Chairman John Kufuor, and Kofi Annan, then UN Secretary General to end the bloodshed, with a power-sharing deal that saw Odinga become the prime minister and Kibaki serving as the president.

What about the CongoEthiopia? Even that supposed success story for African Democracy, Senegal, saw blood in the streets.

Wars That Sought To Establish Democracy:

Apart from those wars that broke out in the mist of elections disputes, many brutal and more aggressive wars have been launched in other African countries under the guise of establishing democracy. There was the Mozambican Civil War (1977), Liberia (2003), Uganda (1990s), Libya (2011) and many more. These have resulted in untold deaths, destruction of societies and to a larger extent the destabilization of Africa.

Take a look at Libya where over 100,000 people were slaughtered by NATO all in the name of “Multi-Party Democracy”.  After completely destroying the   jamahiriya system, what has been the result? Are the Libyan people better off? What aboutthose suffering in cages and the chaos that will forever follow the periodic elections?

Those who propose Western multi-party democracy as the way out for Africa have argued that it promotes peace and stability, and fosters national unity at the same time. However, Western “democracy” in Africa creates just the opposite. In Kenya, the Kikuyu, an ethnic minority installed in power by the departing British Empire has to win the election or risk losing everything to their larger tribal rivals, the Luo. What was the result? Elections were held, thousands died and hundreds of thousands displaced. This upcoming election may see even worse, writes Thomas C. Mountain an independent journalist reporting from Eritrea.

Africa, What Are Our Priorities?

The  concept of democracy  has been given a misplaced priority over other more serious and important human necessities in Africa, whilst African indigenous democracy such as that in the Libyan Jamahiriya, are brutally opposed by Africa’s former colonial occupiers.  Take a look at Liberia and Nigeria; they have Plenty “democracy”, but No electricity. Poor African countries spend billions of dollars every 4 years on political elections, yet they don’t have billions for healthcare, education and other social needs.

Guiniea worms, malaria fever and many diseases are killing our people because “there is no money”, yet billions are always available for democracy. Our healthcare systems are in complete jeopardy because money is not available. As a result, even our leaders, who are the major stakeholders of our various countries, have NO confidence in our healthcare. Many of them therefore always travel overseas to seek medical treatment and some of them even die there.

Take a look at President Umaru YarAdua the former president of Nigeria who passed away in Saudi Arabia (2010) whiles receiveing medical treatment. Again, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa,   the third President of Zambia died in France (2008) whiles receiving medical treatment. Also in Ghana is the former finance minister, Honourable Kadwo Baa Wiredu, who passed away while receiving medical treatment abroad. Many of the women also travel abroad just to have their babies safely delivered because they have no confidence in the healthcare system. Yet, whiles we continue to cut the budget on healthcare and education, the amount allotted to holding elections continue to increase every year. What are our priorities?
Even in Ghana where the people were hailed by the Obama administration as a shining example of democracy, the country was on the brink of civil war when many opposition leaders threatened and incited their supporters to rise up and occupy the electoral commission. Members of the opposition were directed to arm themselves with machetes, cutlasses, and all forms of weapons and be prepared to turn Ghana into “Kenya”, if their expectations of winning the elections were dashed by the outcome of the official results. Thousands besieged the electoral commission’s head office with anger chanting war slogans.

The AFP Reported:

“Dozens of angry protesters (in Ghana) wielding machetes and sticks attacked passing vehicles and local journalists after partial results from the run-off vote gave the opposition candidate a lead”.

It took the maturity of the then political leadership to put the love for the nation ahead of political aspirations, to help prevent a potential civil war.

In fact, the coming 2012 elections in Ghana is an exercise that poses a serious threat to the peace and security of Ghanaians as a whole with some opposition leaders already declaring war in the country. Therefore the question that needs to be asked is: what kind of system is it that always puts African nations on the brink of civil wars every 4 or 5 years? For how long must the ordinary Africans continue to die as a result of election conflicts because of political differences, and for the benefit of some corrupt, puppet politicians who seeks to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses? How could these cycles be avoided and to ensure national unity?

Nkrumah’s Proposal: A One-Party State Democracy

After considering the case of Ivory Coast where election contest ended in war, one point became clear: If Gbagbo and Ouattara were both members of the same party (one-party state), any competition for president would have unlikely led to a war. Because regardless of whoever wins, their party would emerge as the winner and the followers of either candidate would see themselves as members of the same party. The situation would be exactly as Republicans in America, voting to elect a leader. Whether the winner is Ron Paul or Mitt Romney, will never result in any conflict among the supporters. The supporters would always emerge united because they would see themselves as members of the same party.

But in the case of the current multi-party system, the competing sides see themselves as  two opposition groups or “enemies”. Also, the current practice of “winner takes all”, makes the competition a do-or-die affair. Therefore when one candidate wins, the losing side can easily mobilize his people against the winning side as was the case in Ivory Coast, Kenya and currently Russia. In such a situation, it also becomes much easier for any foreign influence to manipulate the opposition groups against the winning side. After all they’re different candidates, different parties and with different motives

However, if Ivory Coast were to be a one-party state, the conflict between Gbagbo and Ouattara would not have happened. Because as members of the same party, they would always find a way to work together, regardless of whoever wins. Also, their followers would see themselves as the same people with the same vision. They would see the bigger picture: like soldiers of the same army. Each candidate may have a different ideology, but at the end of the day, the people and the party are one.  Under such a system, national unity can easily be forged better than the current multi-party system where the people have been divided along political differences. The members of the same party cannot easily be fighting among themselves as they would with an opposition party. This system, according to Kwame Nkrumah is what Africa needs; not the current multi-party system which has brought about divisions and conflicts between different political groups which takes the entire nation on the brink of war every 4 to 5 years.

Therefore In His Book “Consciencism” (pg.100) Nkrumah States:

A people’s parliamentary democracy with a one-party state system is better able to express and satisfy the common aspirations of a nation as a whole, than a multiple-party parliamentary system, which is in fact a ruse for perpetuating, and covers up, the inherent struggle between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’.

The globalists and their imperial powers know this fact. Therefore they used the old tactics of divide and conquer strategy for their imperial objective. First, they divided Africa into many smaller and weaker nations. Then they divide the nations into many political groupings, manipulating one group against the other. There is no doubt that multi-party democracy is the new strategy that is been used to promote this “divide and conquer” strategy. But in the case of Africa, the division is becoming bloodier and much more dangerous. Africans need to wake up to this reality

Gaddafi’s Proposal: A No-Party State Democracy

On the other hand, Libyan revolutionary leader Mu’ammar Qaddafi, who drew on the experiences of other revolutionaries before him including Kwame Nkrumah, proposed a more traditional style of democracy, in fact completely doing away with political parties. Instead, in 1977 the Libyan people were all given local People’s Congresses where they themselves became the legislators, thus also doing away with politicians.  Government administration and departments were replaced by People’s Committees, which were nominated from the Congresses and accountable to them. All proceedings were broadcast live across the nation, long before the west dared to broadcast the embarrassing images of their politicians who misbehave and make a mockery of those who voted for them.

“The Green Book” was penned by Qaddafi to explain this original concept of direct participatory democracy, and a new word was invented to describe the “self-governing masses society” or “state without a government” or “people’s authority”: Jamahiriya. These ideas are taking root among many not only in Africa but around the world, with anInternational People’s Conference Organization providing information on this “jamahiri” democracy, and an International Green Charter Movementadvocating it along with other rights and freedoms which were originally legislated by the Libyan people in their People’s Congresses during their June 1988 sessions.

No matter whether one advocates “one party” or “no party” democracy in Africa, both are clearly more suited to African history and culture, where consensus and participation are traditional values in society, rather than delegation and representation, which are the pillars of the more remote style of “democracy” which European colonial powers developed and then imposed upon their former colonies around the world. Even now in European countries, the people have apparently had enough of the spectacle of this style of democracy, which excludes them whilst essentially serving elites: the recent political developments across Europe are testimony of this.

They too are looking at alternatives, some advocating “one party” democracy under the ideology of communism, with others (greens, anarchists, and a wide range of other ideas) advocating a “no party” democracy. So far, both groups are united on protests against the state, which is seen as benefiting wealthy elites at the expense of the masses of the people, leading to increasing instability in Europe.


  1. Kwame Nkrumah (1964) “Consciencism”. Panaf Books: London
  2. http://notunprojonmo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/African-Conflicts-Their-Causes-and-their-political-and-social-env.pdf


By: Honourable Dr Saka

The author is a regular writer and a political analyst on African affairs, and a well-known social commentator in Africa. He is the editor of “The Doctor’s Report”, your most reliable source of critical analysis on African affairs. Please visit his blog at:http://honourablesaka.blogspot.co.uk/  He is a strong Pan-Africanist, a youth activist and the founder of the “Leaders of Tomorrow”, a transformational and inspirational group of possible future leaders. He can be reached on Email: honourablesaka@yahoo.co.uk

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