Strengthening democracy: Let’s not lose hope in Africa

by Basidia M Drammeh
My hope about the prospects of Africa has been rekindled by three major developments over the recent period: 1- A decision yesterday by Malawi’s Supreme Court to nullify the May 2019 presidential election due to irregularities. The Court has ordered a fresh election in 150 days.

The opposition that has challenged the outcome of the poll was understandably jubilant. 2- A decision by the Gambia Supreme Court to overrule the President’s decision to nullify the nomination of Ya Kumba Jaiteh. Nobody saw it coming, given the prevailing situation under the former regime. Despite numerous challenges facing the country, the decision has restored confidence and credibility to Gambia’s judicial system. 3- An arrest warrant issued today by a South African court for former President Jacob Zuma for skipping a scheduled court appearance in connection to corruption charges he has been facing.

These three developments are refreshing in the sense that they underscore the fact the rule of law is taking root in Africa, which is a fundamental tenet of a functioning democracy. They also signal that Africa is turning its back on autocracy and despotism. There must be a clear separation of powers where the Executive does not overstep its authority.

As a matter of fact, the judiciary checks the Executive to make sure that it abides by the Constitution and upholds laws. One of the major facts for the West’s development is the rule of law where all equal before the law no matter what.
Yes, Africa is faced with a myriad of challenges in all domains, yet we need to be optimistic about the future of this youthful Continent.

The author Basidia Drammeh is a Gambian resident in Canada. He previously served as Head of Translation Desk at Kuwait’s Al Watan Daily newspaper and a Bilingual Editor for Kuwait Oil Company. Mr. Drammeh, who was born and raised in Brikama, is a keen follower of African politics.

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