Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful in the May 21 watershed elections, Lazarus Chakwera , on Thursday held talks with Nigeria’s former ruler Olusegun Obasanjo after the launch of “Democracy Works: Re-Wiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage” book which the Nigerian co-authored with Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) deputy chairperson Tendai Biti.
Democracy Works with other co-authors are Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills, explores ways in which people can learn to nurture, deepen and consolidate democracy in Africa. The book further addresses political, economic and extreme demographic challenges that Africa faces.
Chakwera said it was an “honour” to meet Obasanjo “who invited me for an interface during his visit in the country.”
He added: “We discussed a wide range of economic issues affecting Malawi and what my government will do to turn things around for Malawiams.2
On his part, Obassanjo h said democracy is taking root in Africa, but warned that rising political stars would struggle to unseat old leaders unless they join forces during elections.
Obasanjo, who was a military ruler for three years from 1976 and then a civilian leader from 1999 to 2007, said African countries were making progress towards democracy, but much more remains to be done.
“Yes we are (making progress)” towards democracy. “Africa will get to where it needs to be,” he predicted in quotes reported by French news agency AFP.
Obasanjo, 82, also urged young and upcoming African politicians to get their act together if they are to unseat old African leaders — many of them septuagenarians and octogenarians who have been holding on to power for decades — through elections.
“If the youth think that they will get into power on a platter, they are not getting it right,” he said in the interview. “They will have to snatch it, those (ageing leaders) will not go.”
Some people who have read the book believe that it addresses some of the fundamental issues facing African nations.
One of the reviewers said it identifies a ‘democratic playbook’ to meet the threats to free and fair elections.
“But substantive democracy demands more than simply regular polls. Democracy is fundamentally about the inner working of institutions, the rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances, and leadership in government and civil society, as much as it is about values and the welfare and well-being of its citizens. It also demands that local leadership has a plan for the country beyond simply winning the popular vote.”
Democracy Works is directed toward leaders and citizens who want to address the extreme demographic and other challenges that Africa faces
Author Mills directs the Brenthurst Foundation, Obasanjo was president of Nigeria (1999-2007) and chairperson of the African Union (2004-2006), Biti is a constitutional lawyer, human rights activist, and former Zimbabwe finance minister and Herbst is president of the American Jewish University, Los Angeles.
Professor Herbst, who is a political scientist, taught at Princeton University for 18 years and is the author of ‘States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control’ and many other books and articles. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Board of Freedom House and has served on the advisory board of The Brenthurst Foundation since 2005.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :