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Can Africa Ditch Democracy for a better governance model?

Can Africa Ditch Democracy for a better governance model?

This revolutionary article argues for a decentralized, vision-driven governance model inspired by forest ecosystems, emphasizing collective leadership and shared responsibility over individual hero worship.

Bobi Wine! Julius Malema! Inspirational figures, no doubt. But here's a crazy thought: what if they rendered themselves irrelevant by mentoring and elevating multiple leaders in their movements? This would ensure that they stop being the singular figureheads and sole leaders of those movements. Hear me out. Enduring, impactful movements must transcend individual personas. Such an approach to governance must begin to replace the western style democracy in Africa.

Imagine this: a continent on fire not with hero worship but vision worship. A singular, all-consuming vision that fuels and dictates everyone. No more relying on one charismatic leader, vulnerable to power's sweet, corrupting whispers. Instead, a movement built on collective ownership, where everyone's a leader, guided by a vision so clear, so powerful, it becomes the North Star. That’s what’s happening in Kenya’s current youth-led revolution. It’s leaderless but not rudderless. It’s so powerful that it has already caused the president to put the brakes on a Finance Act that Parliament had sent to him for assent. A widespread rejection of the Finance Bill triggered the revolution.  

The power of a leaderless movement lies in its incorruptibility and its ability to empower both individuals and the collective, not a singular messianic figure. This shift ensures that the power of the people, once awakened, remains unstoppable and incorruptible. It allows the collective to guide the movement, drawing strength from shared values and goals rather than relying on a single, fallible individual.

Think about it. Look at nature. A towering forest thrives not because of a single, bossy tree, but because every branch, root, and leaf contributes. They share responsibility, a complex web of cooperation that puts even the most organized organization to shame. That’s why Africa needs Afrocracy, not democracy.

The current western style democracy in Africa is a big-ego contest that rewards the loudest and richest.

On the other hand, Afrocracy, a decentralized and uniquely African form of governance rewards the biggest hearts and minds not the biggest egos and wallets.  

Western style democracy has created imperial, corrupt presidencies that treat people as servants. Just look at Ruto, Ramaphosa and Nana Akufo-Addo. Products of western style democracy.

Afrocracy, on the other hand, produces and nurtures servant leaders who are part of the people not exalted above the people. That’s what people-centered and people-powered governance looks like.

Western style democracy is akin to an exclusive Microsoft club that is structured into a hierarchy of users who must pay to play. On the contrary, Afrocracy is an open-source form of governance where equity binds all users together. They don’t pay to play because an equal playing field is embedded into the governance system.

Now, let’s learn more about this people-centered governance by taking a closer look at forests.    

Forests offer two powerful lessons for a new form of governance in Africa. Firstly, forests are masters of symbiotic relationships.

In a forest, trees, plants, fungi, and animals all interact in a web of mutual support. Mycorrhizal fungi form networks connecting tree roots, allowing them to share nutrients and information. This symbiotic relationship ensures the health and resilience of the entire forest. Enter Afrocracy. This new form of African governance can create a resilient, interconnected web of leaders that are difficult to corrupt or dismantle.

Secondly, forests excel in diversity and resilience.

Different species of trees and plants contribute to the overall resilience of the ecosystem. In contrast, monocultures are vulnerable to disease and environmental changes. Through Afrocracy, African movements and governments can embrace diversity in leadership and ideas, ensuring that no single point of failure can bring down the entire movement. This diversity makes governance adaptable and robust, capable of weathering challenges and evolving over time. In such governance, power flows from all constituent entities, not a single source.  

African History whispers tales of such collaborative governance structures. A council of elders was a key pillar of governance in the olden days. This ensured governance that wasn’t egocentrically competitive. We can learn from these forgotten models and tap into them accordingly for today’s Africa. Imagine a continent where critical decisions aren’t centred on a single hero but on multiple heroes.

Such ‘leaderless’ governance doesn’t mean being rudderless. It means the rudder is in everyone's hand, steered by a shared vision, not a personality cult. Imagine the power! A movement that can't be silenced, can't be corrupted, because it is the people.

Now, some might scoff: “Leaderless? That's chaos!” But have you seen how lions hunt? They do so in a team, then share what the spoils as a team. Is that rudderless?

Strength lies in unity, in a clear vision that compels everyone to act. Let's be the forest, Africa, not a one-man show. Let's rise together, not under one towering figure, but under the vast, empowering canopy of a shared dream.

So, Bobi Wine, Julius Malema, Ibrahim Traore and other transformative African leaders – keep inspiring, but let the people be the true leaders. Share the blessed burden of leadership. You must guide a team of shepherds and not the singular kings. Let Afrocracy take root, strong, adaptable, and led by a vision so bright, it'll light the whole continent. Now that's a future worth fighting for.
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