Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Do we need a dictatorship?

How many times have you heard a friend or a colleague or a relative say “we need a dictatorship in this country” for things to move.  For me, the frame that democracy and freedom can hinder progress is very interesting. And, this idea is even more interesting here because it is not subscribed just by the political elite who would thrive under any form of government. Regular people call for dictatorship!  Perhaps people in Bongo do not care so much that they are able to read 13 daily newspapers. (Yes, we have 13 dailies!) 

But, what is behind this yearning for a dictatorship?  Perhaps there is some validity in the idea that the whole apparatus of democratic accountability is cumbersome, and that it requires the maturity of institutions (which comes with time, expense, and a proper political culture) for democracy to deliver a better life.  And, since democracy inherently breeds contentious relationships, you probably need some “sociological capacity” to consume democratic freedoms (and to handle contentious politics arising out of stronger labor unions, nasty editors, shouting opposition leaders, etc).   

 No doubt, democracy is of intrinsic value but should it be an end in itself? In Western democracies, freedom is only useful to an extent that it enhances a good life.   America is always cited as the land of opportunity because of its system of democracy. But Singapore has achieved the American dream, but not in the American way. Singaporeans' average life expectancy is now 71 years. No one is homeless. Virtually everyone has a job. To produce his economic miracle, Lee Kuan Yew interfered with every aspect of Singaporean life. And try to find an unhappy Singaporean. You will be hard pressed. 

The key thing is that Singapore is a dictatorship with no corruption. It's an economy that uses capitalist means to attain socialist ends. Something to learn there. 


alex said...

What we need is law enforcement!

Faustine said...

Our dear country needs a patriot, a person with vision of where the country should be with immense resources, a person who is committed to serve the country, a person that will govern with the rule of the law and who can enforce the rule of law, a person will be firm on issues.
On whether or not this particular person should be a dictator, this is a one million dollar question.
History has shown that dictatorship does help. Countries like the former Soviet Union, former Yugosavia and Singapore have gotten to be where they are with an element of dicatorship.

Sometimes development comes at expenses of some sacrifices and suppression of some aspects of human rights. These in small doses are acceptable.

January Makamba said...

Perhaps to enforce the laws you need a strong hand, particularly in places where laws and regulations are seen as inconveniences or a blockade to "getting ahead" or acquiring the daily bread. The question I think should be that whether and to what extent should we trust the judgement, wisdom and discretion of a dictator.

Anonymous said...

I believe in Rule of Law,democratic and good governance. There is no room for dictatorship in any consitutionalism. We can not erode democracy and allow the "vampire" to use the iron first to rule wananchi, 'cause at the end of the day people's power shall prevail.

Karibu Mr. January kwenye ulimwengu wa bloggers.


Anonymous said...

Yes, country like Tanzania needs "a good" dictator. Somebody who wishes well for his/her country. For example, Mwalimu was a good dictator. He wanted nothing but the best to every citizen.When "wawekazaji" wanted to come and invest on mining sector back in 60s and 70s Mwalimu said we more time to educate ourselves regarding the mining sector. We need a good dictator that would turn things for the better.

January Makamba said...

But how do you guarantee that what you are going to get is "a good dictator"? Because you only realise that you have gotten yourself a bad one once he is already in action and does not want to leave. Lee Kuan Yew for me was a perfect model of a good dictator. He worked his ass off for his country, pursued correct policies and recruited talent to lead the nation after his retirement.

Anonymous said...

Sorry kaka January it maybe a long comment; please, bear with me.

I can also sight an example of rising Rwanda they call Kagame a dictator; (I was there end of September just a curiosity trip- was worth it!)The country is growing if only that spirit is within all of kagame's administration (my doubt is, it’s hard to realize everyone's true color in dictatorship regime) the guy is using the same doctrine of Nyerere socialism to meet his country's end….Villagilasation, self reliance, national service and the like, by force or by willingness. The city is very very clean, and disciplined too. Roads have been maintained well, Askariz along the road are there to maintain and guide good driving not to dig from driver’s pocket. Above all the commitment you sense from the mayor of the city to the head of state, they speak a coordinative voice, geared to one vision they all believe in. no political blah blah its actions. If you are corrupt you have no place there.

Yes, we need a dictatorship...the end justify the means!!
But first we should have categories to differentiate this so called dictatorship, the go getter one for the benefit of his/her country like Rwanda and Singapore and that of self centered like Mobutu, They once called Nyerere a dictator just because he had this vision for Tanzania... I guess he was a developmentalist dictator!! Which isn’t bad.

Be democratic and let the country decline in all major sectors and have no stand, or be dictator and have a strong stand make your country stronger, from down up, make everyone respect rule of law (too much of it is dictatorship -remember!) I go for dictator,
Because I will follow rules and everyone else will follow, I will stand on queue like anyone else there will be no room for corruption, everyone will be governed by rule of law. I go for dictatorship!! If only that will make my country stronger economically, if only that will boost everyone spirit on Tanzania kwanza then my friend baadae, I will go for dictatorship if only Tanzania will maintain that self reliance and strong stand on issues in the international arena as we used to be those years back, most countries was dying to have Tanzania on their side, I guess not anymore now.

Nadabi said...

We had tried dictatorship once and got a disastrous result.The impact of Nyerere's dictatorship rule has remained with us all these years.In fact the way he ridiculed and dominated the people and the country can be felt by notions of making him a saint!He did a great job of instilling fear that even today we call him the father of the nation.
The introduction of multiparty democracy has come with freedom of expression that as we see today is it is negatively used and abused.It has now becoming a chaos in political and religious gatherings and even in Parliament.Perhaps it is because of the spontaneous liberty and freedom that wasn't there in Nyerere's and the later regimes that followed.

Unknown said...

Dictator is Dictator whatever the colour of his/her skin is samawati,ever we do not need dictatorship ruler ,we need a man/woman who stand for the law ....,whoever break the law. like "mtoto akichezea wembe/moto .....

joseph Lugakingira said...

I completely Reject the Idea of choosing Dictatorship over Democracy as a way of Ensuring Faster National Development,Personally i am a True Believer in Democratic Governance and Adherence to Rule Of Law.Its my sincere Belief that Properly Followed and Executed this Type of Governance can Yield Tangible and Enviable Development Faster than we Think. As intoned Earlier on, by some fellow Colleagues,Whats is Needed is to Instill and Imbibe in our People a Culture of Patriotism,Love for their Country and Kin,Selfishness and Lust for Quick Bucks to oneself instead of all citizens is what has kept us Behind All Along. Development takes time,but if Everyone at his Place play and Fulfill his Rightful Duty ,for sure we shall Leapfrog the Time,The Government Role this is Ensuring There are Good Policies,Planning,Good Laws to make sure the plans succeed and Ensuring Laws,Policies,Plans ARE FOLLOWED,EXECUTED TO THE LETTER WITHOUT SIMPLE EXCUSES

Anonymous said...

The big dilemma. The dilemma that seems to be inflicting in upcoming Tanzania's democrats as well as leading opposition critics on the style of governance, or rather leadership of the incumbent President.
Yes, a good livelihood, must be an all weather outcome of whatever style of governance we should opt to take as a country.
Another dilemma is on the question whether, the already addicted generation of freedom of opinion would be ready to see it taken away by the-might- be-good dictator!? Just for the hope that there might be a good end!?
Do we really have a generation that would wish to sacrifice and live the era of life of Nyerere's only to hopelessly wait for the better future!?

People who lived Nyerere's era endured alot of sacrifice and agony, for the country that we are tearing apart now in the name of democracy and a call to good livelihood.
Are we prepared to endure what they did from an era of rule of a person who some, at that time, saw him as a 'good dictator'!? The man who everyone is using all his energy to icon-ize now!?

Are we really serious that we want his style of leadership back!? Or we just hope that we will continue giving these examples for the next generation to come to endure, and for us to happily lie in our graves that we,as well, by sighting examples,we have contributed to the generation that lived in sacrifice long after we are gone!?