No Right To Rule

Many in this day and age would dispute the divine right of kings to rule. A lot of support exists for the establishment of democracies everywhere in the world, to allow people the right to choose who will govern their country. Kings are seen as despots, men who see themselves as above the law and answer to no one except God, who has given them royalty status. And since only their children are of royal blood, then they are the only ones allowed to be kings, while this privilege is denied to “commoners”. With the introduction of democracy, power is given to the common man, who bestows it upon whomever he wishes to see in charge of the nation. Happiness all around. Except that, that is not true. In our so called democracy, the ANC is referred to as the “ruling party” due to the fact that they received the majority of votes in the previous election. The rhetoric that comes from the party itself leaves no room for speculation – President Jacob Zuma said so himself. In a speech in 2008, he said that the ANC was expected to rule this country by God Himself and that they will rule “until Jesus comes back”. This has a direct link to the divine right of kings, because none of the monarchs back in the day expected to be removed from their thrones until they either died or the world ended. Yet this defeats the purposes of democracy, because truthfully, the ANC was elected to lead and serve this country, not rule it. When people begin to think that they will always be in power, arrogance and contempt can clearly be seen in their speech and their conduct, lashing out at those who are criticise them and point out their flaws – Zimbabwe is a perfect example. The ANC is not here to rule, despite their talk. Any party elected to government is meant to serve the populace, because they put themselves as candidates for leadership, making themselves accountable to the people who put them there. Yet the parliamentary majority has made them think that they can pass whatever laws please them, no matter the opposition that they may encounter. If only we could have assurance that the upcoming political  figures, who will rule the country in future,will be less prone to rule and more inclined to serve the people. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

One thought on “No Right To Rule

  • October 6, 2010 at 1:00 am
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    Who knew that you and I would find each other on opposing ends of this discussion? Though your conclusion “If only we could have assurance that the upcoming political figures, who will rule the country in future, will be less prone to rule and more inclined to serve the people” is a fantastic one, the manner in which you drive to this point is not so fantastic.

    The first thing is the question of whether the introduction, even a perfect one, would necessarily lead to more happiness than monarchs, but I will not dwell on that because I do not have enough knowledge about monarchs and how happy they made their people for me to argue either for or against them. If the Kingdom of Swaziland is anything to go by, I would lean on the side that suggests that those ruled by monarchs might in fact be happier than those rules by democratically elected leaders.

    Second point is a question of governing not being ruling. What is essentially happening here is that you are confusing things. A governing party is supposed to rule, it’s only a question of how they choose to rule. They can either choose to rule in a manner that place servitude above all else (the ideal situation) or rule with an attitude that says me before the people (something we obviously would rather not have).

    Now to the real issue. You are taking issue with the idea of a party that believes that it can be democratically elected to rule a nation until Jesus comes back as you say it, and then you are going on to say that the fact that the party can say that means that we do not have a democracy. That for me is simply bad logic. We must begin with a definition for democracy before we find ourselves picking and choosing what we call democracy and what we do not call democracy. Margaret Thatcher’s rule seemed to have no end in sight, the Republicans have ruled the US more often than not in the US, sometimes going for as long as 12 years with no interruption to their governance. Australia has basically been a one-party state for all of its existence, Jacques Chirac’s party ruled France for an indefinite period with not a sole saying that was wrong. Why is it that when a political party in Africa seems to get its strategy right, within the legal framework and with no abuses, it is suddenly assumed that there cannot be democracy in the country? If you are saying that SA has no democracy because the leaders of the ANC say that they will rule forever then you are either suggesting that they are stealing the elections or that whenever someone suggests that they will always win elections then there cannot be a democracy. The former is not true because there have never even been any suggestion of a stolen election in the country, so it must be the latter.

    The problem in Zimbabwe, and many other fallen democracies, was not so much the leaders saying they will rule forever, it was the failure of citizens and the civil society to stand against abuses, a belief that they would never have to suffer. The ANC can and will continue to say what it wants, as long as all the elections continue to be free and fair, then SA will continue to have and be called a democracy. If anything, the world should be asking the ANC how it is getting something so seemingly impossible right, winning election after election without having to hurt, kill or steal.

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