Democracy in Africa – eye on Ethiopia 2018


posted on: March 9th, 2018

It is very difficult to define the word democracy. In the most basic terms democracy is government by the people. This means every person within a country has the power to vote for his or her leader. In recent years numerous African countries have moved towards democracy.
Democracy means power to the people. Democracy can encourage the Government to act in a certain way. If a President thinks there is a risk they may lose in the next election, they will try and gain public support.
A vote is a powerful tool. If there is high voter turnout, the Government in power will make policies to gain votes. If they fail to do so, then they may lose the next election, and the people can replace them. In a stable democracy, it is not likely that a Government will do nothing. To gain votes they must make social changes, in line with what the people want. This shows another aspect of democracy. The power of the vote can lead to huge social change.


At the time of writing Ethiopia is at a critical point in its political history. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stepped down on the 15th February 2018. This was because of mass public protest in the country. The Oromo people have called for a greater political voice. They are protesting to make sure they will be represented in the Government of Ethiopia. People in a country can make their voice heard and bring about political change. Non-violent protest is an important means of bringing about political change. It is another important aspect of democracy. As the example of the Oromo people shows, the people can bring about democracy and change. This is an important example for all African nations.
There are increasingly more African countries moving towards becoming a democracy. Countries like Botswana, Senegal and Cape Verde are some typical examples of African countries that are regarded as democracies. However more recently, countries like Ghana and Nigeria are moving closer towards democracy. At it’s strongest, democracy can protect the people of a country from abuse by their leader, and ensure protection of their human rights. This is the true value of democracy. It acts as a check on the power of the leader. Democracy is becoming an ideal which more and more African countries are seeking to achieve.

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