Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for a re-evaluation of democracy in Africa, claiming that the Western model has not met expectations and was forced on the continent.
Obasanjo explained that the Western democratic system was not designed with African history and multicultural diversity in mind and that it has failed in several African countries because it does not represent the majority of the people.
He pointed out that elected officials do not properly represent all of the people. As a result, the vast majority of people are often neglected, either knowingly or unknowingly.
In response to this problem, Obasanjo proposed the concept of “Afro democracy”, which would adopt elements of African culture, as an alternative to Western liberal democracy.
He further said that African countries should not operate a system of government in which they have no say over its definition and design.
“The weakness and failure of liberal democracy as it is practised stem from its history, content, context, and practice,” Obasanjo said.
“Once you move from all the people to representatives of the people, you start to encounter troubles and problems. For those who define it as the rule of the majority, should the minority be ignored, neglected, and excluded?”
Obasanjo voiced concern about continuing with a broken government structure, especially when those who introduced it now question its “deliverability, and its relevance today without reform.”
He challenged African leaders to look inward and outward to see what can be learned from their country, culture, tradition, practice, and way of life over time. He encouraged them to adopt and adapt practices from everywhere for a changed system of government that would serve their purpose better.
“We have to think outside the box and then act with our new thinking,” Obasanjo said.