I am told by those who study political science and ancient languages that the concept of ‘democracy’ is derived from the Greek word ‘demos’, which means ‘people’.
Taking that into account, I note that there are things happening in two nations of the world that, to a large extent, have been our role models in terms of what democracy is all about.
Here I am talking about the United Kingdom and the USA. Of course there is no need to go into the semantics of which of the two is an older democracy because, in any case, none of them is older than Greece.
Did the idea of Parliament not emanate from the Greek concept of ‘Agora’? Now as we stand, Parliament in the United Kingdom is pontificating whether or not and how the English people should exit from the European Union.
Of course it would seem that the former Prime Minister David Cameron called the referendum for that purpose without due consideration as to whether the majority of the British were quite ready for that venture. He lost his job.
The good Lady — Theresa May — who took over that job has had a tough job in the last two years or so, trying to negotiate with the European Union on the modalities of exit.
As a matter of interest some of the most enthusiastic members of her Conservative party who supported the exit plan are now not with her.
From what I remember, she herself was not so keen on the plan. That I suppose is the nature of politics.
The people are waiting for the UK Parliament to make a final decision. Poor Theresa May.
The other model that we Kenyans are so attached to is the USA.
They seemed to have had a system that moves things, and then came a President in the name of Trump.
Is the situation the same? One time he is changing whatever Obama did; the next minute he is fighting with his officers in the white house.
The biggest of the struggle is when he is trying to build a ‘wall’ and the resources for that purpose can only be endorsed by the American ‘Agora’ — Parliament — it seems not to have worked.
The most interesting part is that there is a question as to whether he was supported by Russia to become President.
If so the two of them now seem to be on two different sides with regard to the Venezuelan matter.
Even if the original idea was about the ‘People,’ one may want to ask whether Democracy is about the people or about those who have power.
Fr Wamugunda is the dean of students and a lecturer of Sociology at the University of Nairobi. [email protected]