Jonathan Moyo today presented a lecture at the Tshwane University Of Technology via Zoom. Moyo spoke to length about the reasons why African elections are neither free nor fair. Moyo sad he was assisted by Professor Mukonza to prepare the lecture:

Key Points

  1. The right to vote has two components – (i)the right of the governed to choose their leaders – (ii)the right of citizens to participate as candidates.
  2. The right to vote remains an elusive dream on the African continent.
  3. During the liberation struggle there was a saying – No Independence Before Majority Rule (NIBMR).
  4. Post colonial African leaders have failed to put in place the institutions to allow free and fair elections.
  5. A wave of new democratic constitutions across Africa have not assisted in having free and fair elections.
  6. For example, Political reforms in Zimbabwe have made a bad situation worse as there was a coup just four years after the new constitution was put in place.
  7. There has been no discovery of the technology to manage elections as rule bound administrative processes, that should be managed scientifically.
  8. The management of elections has been influenced by charismatic authority or traditional authority.
  9. Africans do not swear by what is right or what they want, but what they fear.
  10. Fear is more persuasive to Africans than what is right, equitable or just.
  11. A big man society can not have big ideas.
  12. It is impossible to have rule bound behavior in a big man society.
  13. A discourse on African moral values is needed.
  14. At present, where values come into place they are either ethnic or traditional values.
  15. At present, values are about the majority and not about all humanity.
  16. Values must be about human values – moral values and not traditional values.
  17. The freeness and fairness of elections are determined by their management and not by rules.
  18. Freeness and fairness of election is not about what politicians do or say, or by the law, but about how they are managed, and by who and on what basis.
  19. No constitution is cast in stone beyond amendment.
  20. African customary law is a critical source of law that has been neglected since the colonial days. In spite of progress, the Africa’s new democratic constitutions continue to perpetuate the view that African customary law is not a source of law.
  21. While everything else has been changing in Africa, African customary law has remained virtually unchanged.
  22. After Independence, The new post colonial leaders, treated African customary law as a cheap source of votes to keep the new leaders in power for-ever.
  23. Reason of the appeasement of rural population is because there are huge numbers.
  24. Just like in the colonial period, African customary law is still stuck at the bottom.
  25. Interventions are now necessary to save African customary law.
  26. Most Africans are living outside the law, the so called general law.
  27. There is a need to equate African Customary Law to Common Law.

Proposal

  1. Promote debate on moral values that are common to all Africans
  2. It is necessary to devolve election management. The centralized election systems that are common across Africa, are prone to abuse and lead to elections that are neither free and Fair.
  3. African countries have not understood that the most important social invention of the industrial revolution is the concept of formal organization (Bureaucracy). It will not be possible for African countries to have free and fair elections without applying to the conduct of elections the technology of formal organization.

As an example the US election system is de-centralized and it can not be manipulated. They understand that no one has a national address, everyone has a local address and elections are de-volved to the local level.

Conclusion

The fundamental objective of freedom struggles (the right to vote) has remained a mirage in Africa . This African revolution lost its way when the freedom fighters replaced the personal right to vote, with the right to rule by the victorious.

When the right to vote gets removed, all other rights fall away.

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