Constructing A Democracy Essay

1631 words - 7 pages

Introduction
The construction of a democracy requires vision, ambition and decisiveness because democrats must not only construct the constitution of liberty for their homelands but also build a democracy that delivers a competent state, respectful of its citizens. Democratic designers must construct a regime that rests on a workable balance between the hopes and constraints of their societies and a constitution and institutions that would render the state not just democratic but also effective. Democratic designers should therefore counsel self restraint for political actors by acting within the rule of the law as well as ensuring that the interests of the minorities and the poor are represented. They advise government officials to respond to public participation at election time as well as during the course of normal political contestant. For democracies to deliver the institutional foundations for property rights must be secured for comprehensive market reliant reforms to generate sustained economic growth. Such rights should be respected not just for their contributions to long term growth but because they should be, above all, an entitlement for all citizens.

Democracy in Kenya
Since the attainment of independence, Kenya has made an impressive progress towards democratization hoped for by many Kenyans. This progress has however not been a walk in the park. This difficulty has stemmed from historical experiences and problems which made the struggle for democracy complex. This was due to the fact that KANU, the party which had been in power since independence for almost 40 years was merely an extension of the colonial rulers, overwhelmed by economic dependence, underdevelopment, debt burden, elite hegemony and social and political conflicts. In 1982 Kenya was made a de jure one party state making the democratization process even more difficult by creating means and ways to remain in power. In 1992 the democratization of Kenya began with the reintroduction of multiparty politics. After the 1992 general election the incumbent was re-elected thus presenting a process of blocked political reform in which the determination of the president to hold on to power and the division of the political opposition combined to prevent a change of regime. This raised an important question as to whether democracy in the country was being consolidated or dissipated. In 2002 the 39 year KANU rule was brought to an end through a general election that was internationally hailed as free and fair. The recent controversial re-election of Kibaki however appears to show that democratically elected leaders are no less prone than their predecessors to seek to stay in office by what many have described as widespread abuse of power.

Although it appears that democracy is being consolidated in Kenya, there are also indications that the process of democratization, as it is, is fraying at the edges. There is the unavoidable fact that as the multiparty elections have...

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