Decentralisation to promote democracy

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: Most countries in the world profess that they practise democratic government. This would entail that governmental decision-making leading to policies and executive actions should bebased on the concurrence of society. The challenge is to determine who comprises society that should provide the consent to enable the decision-makers to accommodate their views. It is, furthermore, necessary to establish which mechanisms government has at its disposal to determine the perceived “views” or real needs of the people which do not only consist of the electorate, but also non-voters, who may even be refugees or immigrants. It is argued that few if any contemporary states have a relatively homogeneous society (such as for example, Botswana or Japan). The situation is complicated due to diverse communities comprising society with sometimes opposing political agendas (some demand cession from the national state). Some inhabitants may even demand a theocratically based state. Irrespective of the nature of the state or the degree of democratisation, the world-wide trend indicates that people want to be heard and have their views acknowledged in policies and in governance. The article considers the democratic state as a point of departure. Attention will be devoted to selected African states to determine the extent to which they practise democracy in the decentralisation of powers and functions to lower levels of government. Different forms of decentralisation will be discussed, including deconcentration, devolution and delegation. The simple form of merely deconcentrating national government departments to regions will be mentioned. The delegation of authority to lower levels (spheres) of government will be...