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City of Banjul
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Democracy – An endangered species?

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When man is too eager to preserve his status in society, he can resort to and take calculated and unreserved measures that can be inimical to the very existence of the structures of governance of society.

From a simple nomadic and hunter life to an agriculturist to real estate developer and builder of bridges and skyscrapers to high-tech, man has come a very long way – sometimes using prudent survival tactics but sometimes through crude and reckless survival instincts. The latter can become fatal to the survival of key elements in a symbiotic relationship in society.

Presumably, in politics too – survival tactics can vary and evolve from one extreme form to another. What matters most is the outcome that can also vary from democracy to dictatorship. Where political survival involves forceful and unreasonable imposition of will on the governed, then a democratic dispensation becomes endangered and could become extinct.

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The Banjul Declaration, is an analogy, that comes to mind as the late Sir Dawda made “a sobering reflection that in a relatively short period of our history” of democracy (my addition) its guardrails seem to be weakening.

The instruments of dictatorship that were earlier on inscribed and still preserved in the law books, such as the Public Order Act, are still in force which encourages the frequent denial of the freedom of assembly.

The guardrails could be further weakened by the disregard of an impact on an electoral process of an untimely political decision – such as the local government commission when elections are imminent. As the adage goes – it becomes the survival of the fittest in an unleveled or unbalanced playing field. As the local proverb goes, when two hares are in a race the one having a ‘stick of its neck’ will most likely lose. Well, not if there is an honest and efficient referee around.

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Perhaps a Banjul Charter on Democracy for the promotion, protection and preservation of good governance is generally needed before democracy falls into the category of an endangered species of good governance.

Just Thinking Aloud

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