Democratization is a process by which a political organization becomes democratic. In this case democracy may be defined as the rule by the people themselves. People themselves are involved in the process of law making in their country or governments either directly or indirectly. One of the major characteristics of democracy is the election of the government leaders by the people. It is for this reason that there is right to vote in each democratic country. There are numerous ways through which democracy can be achieved. The achieving of democracy may be a gradual process as in the case of Great Britain or a sporadic revolution such as the American Revolution. Some democracies have also been created by foreign powers as it happened with West Germany through the help of the Americans. With a stable democratic rule, there is more economic development in that country or state. Despite all efforts to enhance democracy, some factors have been slowing it down.
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Low literacy levels tend to slow democracy. This is one of the main reasons why majority of dictators are found in countries where there are low educational levels. It favors their authoritarian rule and governance since most illiterate people do not understand their democratic rights. It is estimated that the literacy levels, when Saddam Hussein, who was declared not to favor democracy, were 35% when he rose to power in Iraq in 1973. This resulted to him consolidating power for long since most of the people did not know about their democratic rights. As a result, democratization was slowed down. This argument is particularly empirically compelling since the people of Iraq started to rebuke Saddam’s ruling style when the levels of literacy rose. This eventually led to fall as the people had got enough of the authoritarian rule.
Corruption is another issue that impedes democratization. When corruption is rampant, the level of democracy is generally low. Mostly, corruption is as a result of a person or people being in the same office post for a lengthy period. In a democratic institution or leadership, moving of positions by leaders is a characteristic. There is also a maximum term in office for most of the leadership positions. It is common in Africa for presidents to rule for a long time. Africa has long been considered to lag behind the European nations when it comes to democratization. Considering a country like Zimbabwe where Robert Mugabe has been in power since 1980. According to reports (Arnold, James, and Roberta Wiener), there was massive vote rigging when he retained his presidency. On top of that, there were report of the police and the government cracking down the main opposition party. Despite the amount of critics, he still held on to the power. This lowered and slowed down the democratization in the country.
War and political violence will also slow down the process of democracy. Mostly, when a country is at violence, the government will use the military to ensure that law and order is maintained at the highest level possible. This is against the democratic right of the people since their opinion and ideas at that time will not be taken into consideration by anyone. In times of war, most people will run away from their homes and possibly countries. This will prevent them from participating in the democratization. Considering a research ( Lyons, Terrence and Ahmed I. Samatar) the war ravaged Somalia, people are always at risk of attacks, and most of them are in refugee camps where they are suffering. A government is supposed to cater and care for its residents, but it is a different case in Somalia. Children who are supposed to be the future architects of democracy are getting into the violent acts of the war, and as a result democratization is stalled. As a result of war, there has never been a democratically elected government in Somalia since the early nineties.
In conclusion, democracy is important, and it has to be attained at all costs. Lack of it can be of bad repercussions, most notably low economic growth. It also helps in improving the lifestyle and promotes effective governance.
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