The greatest challenge Africa will face in the next 20 years would be the struggle to enforce and maintain standard democratic systems of government. Of late I have heard of national elections in Lesotho, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Nigeria and most recently Zimbabwe which have subsequently led to devastating consequences in terms of the social, economic and political development of those countries and there is every possibility that this tend may continue unless something is done about it.
I strongly believe fellow Africans should perceive national elections or indeed any other election as a process in which the people are allowed to exercise their constitutional rights to elect candidates whom they feel convinced can lead them in the right direction to a positive development and not a time to literally bring their constituencies to a stand still, exploit ethnic differences, out burst of hidden anger, or get worldwide attention for the wrong reasons.
African politicians should not try to retain power or achieve it at all cost even when it means the loss of hundred of lives.
A democratic election must reflect the true wishes of the voting populace and not what or how politicians want them to be like.
I believe Africans should change their mentality towards elections’ this include governments also.
This could be attained by holding summits to sensitize African leaders and change them with the duty to in turn sensitize their subjects about electoral tolerance, their roles, rights and responsibilities during elections, behaviours, etc and not to only concentrate on manifestos.
It is my dream for every African country to conduct not only free and fair elections but peaceful ones for that matter.
I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate my fellow countrymen on a peaceful democratic elections and plead that we all be peaceful and stay away from violence during the upcoming local council elections and indeed at all times.
By Patrick Bobb
Sierra Leone Grammar School