MEMO #4: Garba Diallo

“There is no such thing as an absolute democratic country”
– Garba Diallo



What characteristic of democracies deserve greater awareness or appreciation?


Read Garba Diallo’s answer:

It is vital to keep in mind that we live in a world that is globalized, tightly interconnected, deeply interdependent, increasingly digitalized, and dangerously nuclearized. In this entangled world with its divergent political cultures, traditions, and particular interests, democracy is a constant struggle. As democracy is relative there is no such thing as an absolute democratic country. Most countries claim to be democratic, but some are more democratic than others. The difference between them is huge.


Thus, the quality of democracy that deserves greater awareness is the one that is relatively and genuinely committed to democratic principles and practice in all it does. It is a form of governance that is legitimate in the eyes of the citizens, inclusive with respect to ethnicity, gender, sexuality, generations, and geography. It is a democracy that promotes and respects fundamental human and civic rights, that is peaceful, transparent, and abides by the rule of law.


In such a democracy the citizens will be inspired and find good reasons to be active citizens, including paying taxes. As citizens can’t eat democracy, an ideal democracy must guarantee equity, equal and sufficient access to food and livelihood, publicly funded lifelong quality education and training as well as media literacy education. It provides adequate public health and decent employment opportunities for all citizens in their diversity. For this democracy to be sustainable, it must cultivate and continuously nurture peaceful and collaborative relations with neighbours near and far. It is also a democracy that does not exploit its own citizens, venture into stupid wars or conflicts in other countries. It is a democracy that promotes global peace and partnership.


A democracy that deserves greater awareness is one that is committed to democratic rules both in principle and practice. It does not resort to antidemocratic, draconian measures such as suspending constitutions, killing, harassing, or banning political opponents as it has happened repeatedly around the world. A democracy that accepts and respects the legitimacy of political opponents, the verdict of the voters, and peaceful transfer of power. A democracy that tolerates and provides conducive civic spaces for individuals, civil society, and media to operate freely and peacefully without fear.