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Democracy in Africa Has Become a Manure to Make Despotic Fields Greener

The would-be leaders are often known before actual elections, albeit they don’t prevail via ballots.

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I am seated in the living room. A chain of questions quibbles my mental serenity, and I thus commence this write-up. It may be partial in answering the questions raised by the phenomenon of the existence and organisation of the state in Africa. 

It may not feed the whole family, but it will set a meal at the table. Let them eat who may. We are in the sea. Water is the tonic contra thirst. I am thirsty in the sea. Water is abundant in the sea, but I can’t drink it, and you know why. That is the kind of experience Black folk go through. 

The shambolic state of black statecraft inspires disparagement. An ideal African kid must abide by the script of melancholy and pity on the existential stage. In most cases, a successful African considers himself emancipated from the claws of destitution and misery. 

Democracy is the most misunderstood if not misused, concept in black statecraft. In most cases, it is an operational misfit in light of African societies’ traditional political modus operandi

This reiterates the organic evolution of hermeneutics, which matured from subtilitas intelligence, or understanding, and subtilitas explananda, or interpretation, to subtilitas applicants, or application, as later spearheaded by thinkers such as Lutheran theologian Johann Jacob Rambach in the fashion of pietism. 

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Quite paradoxically, learning and education are divorced from the imperative exigencies of existential “showroom,” and they by no means nourish the being of the black man. In other words, there is understanding without application. 

It is an “enlightenment” not projective to the possibility of being contrary to what German philosopher Martin Heidegger saw as ideal understanding. The educational pipeline leans towards a sort of “barren beauty.” 

The embrace of democracy by African statecraft is akin to pursuing the natural sciences. Both fell prey to the enemies for which they were meant to stage play as antidotes. Most African nations pretend to hold elections. The would-be leaders are often known before actual elections, albeit they don’t prevail via ballots. 

On the other hand, natural sciences ideally intend to minimise “mysteries,” but unfortunately, they have had, in the final analysis, a safe landing in the enigmatic airports. Allegorically, democracy in Africa has become a manure to make the despotic fields greener notwithstanding it ideally intends to function as a prophylactic against despotism.


Despite being abodes of natural resources, African countries hardly enjoy the fruits of such natural endowments. Statistics reveal that Africa is the leading continent in the value of the gold that lies in the ground hitherto, with an in situ value of US$1.48 trillion, followed by Canada-US with an in situ value of US$1.26 trillion. 

READ MORE: Africa’s Mineral Exploitation Is Yet to Benefit Africans. But Who’s to Blame?

Despite all these endowments, the African population is inscribed with scars of locally engineered terrorism, ethnic unrest, hunger, unemployment, overblown foreign debts and escalating manifestations of destitution.

The biggest challenge is that we are tormented by the blanket of ignorance because falsity is entertained while truth is at all costs concealed, if not disguised, with the purpose of driving the masses to a sort of somewhat pacific but parasitic symbiosis. 

By true and false, we take up a perspective that ensues from Aristotelian understanding, where “to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true” and “to say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false.”

If Africans suffer, it is because some Africans have betrayed a brotherhood, and this betrayal is not a recent phenomenon. Philosophical remedies for such an umwelt demand a return to primordial philosophical investigations. 

One’s conception of reality guarantees how one will know things, and how they know things will somehow guarantee how they will act. In this way, an ontological bell calls us to return to the homelands of the first philosophies in order to nourish our ethics. 

Dark Continent

If all people’s metaphysics drove them to conceive man as an imago Dei, a significant sum of parasitic syndrome in the “Dark Continent” could have been curbed if not prevented. The educated blacks should be aware of their duty rather than they are aware of their rights. 

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No step forward can be made if the philosophies are those of crabs, which tend to pull down anyone who tends to climb up the saucepan to escape. This down-pulling philosophy masquerades in most cases as a fraternity. It calls for an attitudinal shift for a black man to realise that they are destined for something great so long as they don’t enclose themselves in wedlock with attitudes of inferiority.

The call for the African elite today is to move from the stance of apologetics – blaming colonialists for our misfortunes– to that of praxis – laying down a practical strategy to mitigate the misfortunes. It is dark in the room, but though some curse the darkness, others will light the candle. 

Each, by his area of specialisation, must squeeze his grapes for the wine. Punctuality, integrity, contentment, resilience, creativity, intent, and beneficence are some of the seriously lacking dispositions among Africans. 

The educational pipeline’s task is to infuse these values in the juveniles so that they grow to appreciate them. This will contribute to mitigating the ontological problem by nourishing the possibilities of being.

A gaze on humanity, whether diachronic or synchronic, reveals one thing: arriving at contentment is always an anachronism. It is always misplaced in time to imagine that humanity will, at one point, upon a timeline, get satisfied and pursue nothing. 

Human hustles

The commissioning of Genesis 3:19 could be partly responsible for this sort of infinite piling because it does not paint proper proportions for human hustles. It demands enormous masses of audacity to say that humanity is sick and avarice cum megalomania is the pandemic. 

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It is a veneration of the first numeral, wherein each wants to be number one. Getting the medal for being the first one is fine, but the proper route criterion cannot be suspended. 

This thesis that humanity is sick considers that there is no law without exception, just as exceptions are inconceivable minus a law. Ethics and prosperity are treated as mutually exclusive in the African economy of politics and politics of economy. A reciprocal not-so-vicious circle arises where the ethics are not so prosperous, and the prosperous are not so ethical. 

A philosophical offertory for the situation is cheque-worth dialectics, in which men develop bigger ears than mouths and sell some microphones to buy more speakers, such as phronesis. 

As prudence is a presumption of the future, contracted from the experience of time past, so there is a presumption of things past taken from other things, not future, but past also, as renowned English philosopher Thomas Hobbes highlighted, and the bell of Sapere Aude, or dare to be wise, as that of the renaissance as an antidote to the propensity to flow with the current. 

Amidst the polemics around the concept of wisdom what cuts across is the necessity of knowledge for the operational conceptions of the concept. Knowledge is not necessarily wisdom; wisdom is knowledge qualified by appropriate judgment.

Edward Kalinga is an educationalist with a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). He can be reached at The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chanzo. If you are interested in publishing in this space, please contact our editors at

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