By Simon Peter Luswata
The new generation in Africa appreciates the efforts and contributions of the founder father’s of many African countries whom the president loves to refer to as freedom fighters.
What their cause was during the days of colonialism and for a short period post colonialism was honest and that explains why they received popular support.
Anyone one in their right senses would support President Museveni and his counterparts to fight Idi Amin because it was clear everything about his regime contradicted the ideals and ideas held by the then elite.
I want to start by stating that I don’t support coups, they never and I doubt they ever will solve the problems of the continent “Africa” and I agree with the president that it’s only elections that can solve them.
However, I will disagree with him about what the definition of elections is; Elections are not only mean one person, one vote, by secret ballot,at regular intervals but mean the central institution of democratic representative governments.
Why? Because, in a democracy, the authority of the government derives solely from the consent of the governed. The principal mechanism for translating that consent into governmental authority is the holding of free and fair elections.
All modern democracies hold elections, but not all elections are democratic. Right-wing dictatorships, Marxist regimes, and single-party governments also stage elections to give their rule the aura of legitimacy.
In such elections, there may be only one candidate or a list of candidates, with no alternative choices. Such elections may offer several candidates for each office, but ensure through intimidation or rigging that only the government-approved candidate is chosen.
Other elections may offer genuine choices–but only within the incumbent party. These are not democratic elections. Democratic elections are not merely symbolic….They are competitive, periodic, inclusive, definitive elections in which the chief decision-makers in a government are selected by citizens who enjoy broad freedom to criticize government, to publish their criticism and to present alternatives.
That definition above may not necessarily be a reality in some of the African countries where the coups have happened.
We are not fair enough if we only focus on the legitimacy of the coups but rather consider the underlying conditions that have paved way for the juntas.
First the president wonders what their ideology is. He partially answers the question and I would like to agree that these coups are driven by selfish interests, foreign intervention and greed.
But, all that not withstanding, some of the fallen presidents have come short of the expectations of the people,.
They have abrogated constitutions, shrunk the civic space and marginalised the opposition.
In Mali for example it was the citizens that took it to the streets to oppose President Keita before the military came in.
The contentious elections held in Guinea made it clear that the President Alpha Conde was missing something therefore as we condemn the unfortunate events we should as well look at the “why”.
We should as well never be picky when condemning the coups, even the one in Egypt is regrettable.