Democratic policies must be adapted on African cultures, not copy and paste from the Western cultures

Posted: April 20, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, David Matiop Gai, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By David Matiop Gai, Juba, South Sudan

Riek and Emma

Riek Machar and Emma McCunne

April 20, 2017 (SSB) — South Sudan is struggling with democratic transition of African cultures erosion for the adaptations of majority of Western cultures, and paradigm shift era of civilization. Nations are respected and regarded as sovereign states according to their territorial integrity or defined territory, permanent population, government, sovereignty, organized economy, and international recognition or capacity to enter into bilateral relations with other states, but South Sudan has been made as a home for free entry and free exit by outsiders world and everybody has made South Sudan as a learning field for gaining experiences. People have made South Sudan as a field of trying your ability; it is not respected as a country, and sovereign state.

I think this mistake happened because all systems in South Sudan are totally weak, so weak to defence the country from foreign aggression as it happened every day. Everything is weak. We have weak executive, weak legislature, and weak judiciary to stand on their own feet and defence our country. I don’t mean we should go to war with other nations, but we shouldn’t allow our country to be manipulated a way it is now. We should come out with one statement and go a long it. If we say yes or no, we should mean it, because Jesus said Matthew 5:37 37, “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” because there is no sin beyond that. I made this brave statement because every nation is respected for what they say and what they do or what they stand for.

 Yesterday I watched news on BCC focus on Africa, and the Ethiopian. Prime Minister H.E Hailemariam Desalegn was interviewed by journalist to allow independent investigators to investigate against human rights crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ethiopia during the Ethiopian unrest or protest, but he refused that “Ethiopia is a sovereign state, and they are capable to investigate any crimes committed in Ethiopia as a legitimate government of Ethiopian people”. I said, waaw, what? Why do they interfere with the affairs of South Sudan while they know the important of nation sovereignty? Is it because South Sudan got its independence yesterday, 2011, and everybody is trying to let the child walk? Every nation is capable to investigate its own problems, and every nation has rights not to be interfering with its affairs and disturbing the way South Sudan is disturbs by other nations.

For more than hundreds years ago, Africa was a peaceful continent. Issues of human rights were there. Rights to life, or rights be protected; rights to protect vulnerable people in the community, right to protect a child, and rule of law were dominated African culture, there was sustainable jurisdiction and elections which were conducted except in areas of kingdom ship. Long ago in my culture, it is a taboo to kill a woman, child, and elderly people, and that was human rights people are talking today. It was so wicked to steal community properties, or being regarded as a thief and it is an abomination in the family where you were born. There was reasonable accountability, and transparency in community affairs, as community takes responsibility of it members.

But when Western cultures interfered with African cultures, and there is a big force and high tension between the two because it is very hard to adapt what contradict most of your culture, and norms. I proposed that democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives of constituencies which is a good system but it should be build and adapt base on the African culture. I don’t mean that African cultures are against election and rotation of leaders in leadership, but issues pertaining to democracy should match with African cultures.

Basically, African cultures recognized families, extended families, socialism, and communism as an importance institution of individuals but Western cultures believe in individualism. African people believed to guide individuals through parents’ responsibility even when you are a grown up man or a woman, you don’t live on your own as a child of an animal and insect, you are a child of human being and your mother and father guide you on the right paths of life together with your children when you have family. Therefore, democratic system if lays its foundation should be the best in African cultures when it is build and adapt on the respect of African traditional institutions.

Although Africa is now made home of war should be a right place for democracy, because we don’t neglect vulnerable people. They are taking care of, and being protected by young people to gets more blessings. The problems of democracy in Africa is not because African are not principles, but there are confusions between environment of democracy in Africa, and copy and paste democracy from the West with mixed reactions of Western cultures, so people are totally confused, because they want to copy democracy a way it is in the West, and apply it forcefully on African culture, and then few people in Africa who go with any wind bend toward that direction where the wind is blowing to.

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, and these rights should be not disturb by any other human being, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status but human rights in the Western and human rights in Africa are quite different. The human rights in the West hold accountable criminals of diversities of crimes among publics such as money slanderers, corruptists, and warlords, but human rights in Africa increased human rights violations, and crimes against humanity, and those who cause this public unrest, displacement, brutal killing, homeless, and rapes cases are well protected to accelerating this havoc more and more. Who is a teacher for this contradicting human rights in Africa?

But as an African man from South Sudan, it is historically well constituted that anybody who caused problems among African people is hold accountable or forgiven if he/she ask for forgiveness. I am still arguing my point of human rights that it is not just awake up solutions of human rights violation as to be known of human rights issues or it is not surprise capture of problems at the grass root levels; these are the rights born with even African people, and African people have human rights since the times of their grandparents; they are not learning human rights issues today, they were been protecting children, women, old, or other vulnerable groups in community for centuries.

Therefore, human rights are the right of every person, and human rights must also respect bountiful cultures of African people since essences of these human rights are inherent of all human societies all over the world, because this continent existed since the creation of man. And by the way, it is through these wrong concepts of human rights distinction in African that causes more aggressive, more violence, more killing, and raping as African people slip on main ways of their cultures, but your culture is all about you.

The author is a co-founder of South Sudan Mental Health care Organization, (SSMHCO). He holds Bachelor degree in Social Work and Social Administration from SSCUST, Bachelor of Theology from CLT, Bungoma, Kenya/Kalispell, USA, and a fellow researcher. He can be reach at

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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