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DEMOmetrics

Feb 14th, 2012

Synthesis in Democracy

When Gaddafi’s dynasty fell in Libya, the Malian contingent of his family battallions, mainly from the Tuareg and Arab, tribes fled to return home to Mali. They fled with heavy arms, munitions, trucks, and other logistics. The government of Mali received them and disarmed them to re-insert them into the national military and civilian life.

Some Malians have expressed concern that the returning troupes were not sufficiently disarmed and that their insertion into the national army posed enormous risks insurgent emulsion and therefore a harbinger for intractable conflict. Regardless of merit, these concerns come on the heels of earlier insertion efforts when soldiers of the Tuareg and Arab secessionist Movements who have surrendered or laid down their arms pursuant to the many Peace Accords, were incorporated in the national army and some into civilian life with entrepreneurial assistance. Some of those efforts unfortunately resulted in later desertions and or sabotage of the regular army.

Shortly after the return of Malian-Libyan soldiers, the earlier Movement for the Independence of The Azawad nation was revitalized and their members conducted demonstrations in Mali to demand separation and independence of their tribes in Mauritania, Algeria, Niger, Burkina, and Mali to form an Azawad nation.  Those demonstrations were largely peaceful and unimpeded by the Mali government. Perhaps emboldened by reinforcement in their ranks from returning Malian-Libyan soldiers, and aided by drug traffickers and other armed bandits, members affiliated with MNLA and the Azawad nation ambushed soldiers from the regular army who were on a mission to supply their comrades in Aguelhoc and Tinzawatan resulting in several deaths. The ambush expanded into armed conflict in and around Kidal, Menaka, and Gao environs. There were rumours abound of collusions and collaborations including funds distributed to the rebel groups, ill-equipped regular army soldiers, and mercenary soldiers of fortune from Tchad.

In this vortex of rumours and frustrations, regular army military wives and children demonstrated in Kati and the military wives paid President Amadou Toumani Toure’ a visit demanding explanations. It would have been much better if this dialogue was initiated by ATT and his government but all the same, ATT afforded the military wives audience and dialogue. Here is the Dialogue:

The Lives of Nations

Generally, the life of a nation seems abstract because of the sheer volume of other lives within the nation. persons, plants, and animals. These other lives are marked by births and deaths and all the learning and evolution between the two epochs. As these lives happen, the nation itself undergoes commensurate metamorphoses just as the earth and the galaxy within which the nation forms a valuable part. It is the idea of succession and rejuvenation in births and deaths that signifies dynamism in all life.

In democratic nations, we have determined that elections are the most efficient mechanism through which we mark succession and rejuvenation. Elections not only accrue change, but they determine the character of the change. This is because we do not seek change for change’s sakes, but we desire value-added change. For elections to be viewed and seen as free and fair, we constitute, from our constituent citizens and partners in the electoral project, a body charged with managing and conducting the logistics of elections. We generally like to call this body: The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC or CENI). It is not really independent because no human is independent regardless of clan, tribe, race, or religion. But it makes us feel good to imagine our CENI is really independent. It is in qualifying this fosse Independence that many an honourable statesman agonies over. They imagine an NGO observer mission, a religious personality, the UN, etcetera can accrue the mirage of Independence that we agony to yield. It is foolhardy. It is enough to conduct FREE and FAIR elections rather than pursue phantom Independence.

Now because elections mark succession and rejuvenation in the lives of nations, they are necessarily a futuristic notion. This means that the CENI that oversees or coordinates last year’s election has outlived its useful life this year in as much as the partners to the electoral project change from electoral cycle to electoral cycle. In other words, we will be retarding the life and growth of our nations when we suffocate the very dynamism we effort to accrue. It is not wise to have the same or a fac-simile CENI to conduct our elections from cycle to cycle. Such a discrete notion of a CENI is unhealthy for any democracy.

There is another anxiety that burdens staesmen and women. They have the forlorn view that elections are for the citizen. That is technically correct and it may explain why these honourable statesmen and women go to extraordinary lengths to make elections INDEPENDENT. In my view, that is malignant overkill. In a democracy, the citizens form themselves into political parties. Even if you have INDEPENDENT citizens, they form themselves into INDEPENDENT parties. The parties therefore take on the character of the unique citizens. Further, the citizens do not vote for the citizens, they vote for their respective agglomerations of parties. These parties are the PARTNERS in our electoral projects, including any INDEPENDENT parties. It goes without saying that elections are conducted for political parties.

In this sense, an INDEPENDENT election is exactly FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS. The FAIR connotes INDEPENDENCE.

How do you then ensure a modicum of fairness in an electoral project?

Firstly, the determination of fairness is the purview of the partners to the electoral project. It appears to me that the best way to accrue fairness in elections is to first consider a CENI number that is equivalent to the number of contending political parties who are partners in the project. Say 200. It doesn’t really matter how many. It must be the exact number of the partners to the project. From this number, the partners can elect the executive board of the commission and the remainder will form a cadre of electoral precinct supervisors. Then from among the citizens, we can recruit PAID poll workers (no volunteer poll workers) to complete the running of precincts on election day. This body of CENI will complete the registration of eleigible voters and the distribution of voter cards well before the election day. It will therefore be useful if this CENI is formed as early as possible for the next electoral cycle. It is inevitable that a political party may present the same individual to represent it in the CENI from cycle to cycle and if the character and number of the parties remain the same from one election cycle to another, we will undoubtedly have the same exact CENI for the two or more election cycles. This defaultive discretion however is still based on the character of the growth of the nation rather than a deliberate suffocation of growth by one or two interests.

It may be that one or more political parties cease to exist or devolve between the formation of the CENI and the date of the election. In this case, that party’s CENI representatives are dropped from the CENI rolls and may not become PAID precinct workers. While I’m here, may I suggest that the PAID precinct workers be unemplyed citizens to include students and retirees.   

Whatever we do, it is grossly unfair for a sitting government official (INDEPENDENT or not), to coordinate any election EVER. The authenticity of any election in any nation is dependent on the quality and character of its IEC or CENI. Religious personalities are not INDEPENDENT persons. That is the first mirage we must eliminate from our psychy. Be they Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Budhist, Mormon/adventist, bahai, HarunaMo, or Atheist. That is why there is no compulsion in religion. Lakum Deenikum Walya-Deen.

Haruna.

Democracy, a lifestyle. The democracy Toolbag.

Democracy is an all-encompassing lifestyle that respects the culture, traditions, and demographic composition of all nations of people. It is also a living and dynamic system that can adapt with growing communities and ameliorate the decline of suffering communities. None of the other lifestyles of communism, socialism, capitalism, and religiocracy, by themselves, possess these attributes and the capacity for both growth and sustenance. And when taken apart, they represent malignant extremes that can only be ameliorated in the abundant reserve of democracy.

All viable systems like democracy have in-built testing and correction mechanisms that undergird the dynamic character of the system. Triggers, overflow retention and dissipation, toxicity remediation, mid-course correction and scheduled reviews are some of those mechanisms. If the system is left unchecked and routine maintenance is not conducted according to schedule, mere fatigue and disenchantment are likely to wreak havoc on the entire system.

In democracy, Term-limits for elected officials is a critical stop-gap measure to temper extremes of tyranny, persecution, corruption, and general lethargy of incumbency. When a society that is composed of multiple interest groups such as trades unions, religions, tribes, races, and graduated generations does not offer any hope or avenue for rejuvenation and re-orientation, that society is suffocating the intrinsic dynamism of its democracy. In such a society, despair and the vortices of coups d’etats are the natural reaction to sequestration. It is therefore advised for those nations who have not yet built into their constitutions the idea of term limits for elected officials to seriously consider its merits and values.

Term-limits by themselves are not the be-all end-all of good and healthy governance. This is because the mere suggestion of term-limits engenders the question of how long and for what mandate. When this question arises, the usual variable becomes how long is it necessary for a government or administration to complete its development or governance projects, or how long is necessary to fulfil a political party’s campaign promises. I believe this argument is a non-sequitur because the concept of Term-limits is itself divorced from future achievement or lack thereof of any prospective government. Term-limits only address the change of government teams and the rejuvenation of government. The premise is akin to weeding or fertilization of a garden, not a preparation of the soil. Nonetheless, this argument can be admitted as bona-fide reason to entertain the question of Term-length if its rejection will scupper welcome for Term-limits. The argument is benign afterall, if non-sequitur.

In addition to Term-limits therefore, another review and correction mechanism must be considered. That is the idea of Recall of elected officials. In other words, regardless of the length of a Term-Limit, the people or voters must have the capacity and prerogative to recall any official they elect. This facility also checks official corruption, crime, and general incompetence. It will not be helpful to make the process of Recall too cumbersome as to render it near-impossible. That is sheer tomfoolery and a waste of valuable resources. It could prove fatal in that the disenchanted voter could revert to reactionary riot or more violent change of government. There are as many permutations of Recall process as there are unique communities of people so I will not recommend any particular method or processes. Suffice it to say that I will encourage that whatever regime of process is chosen, that it be dynamic or easily amendable for the changing society and times. At the base of all democratic process is the promise of dynamism and growth. Discrete democratic processes lead to political atrophy.

If we entertain the twin ideas of Term-Limit and Recall, I am confident we would dispense with the seemingly intractable ire of tribalism, nepotism, corruption, and other crimes of the heart. We will have elevated the level of competence in our civil and elected servants. These problems listed here cannot be totally eliminated from the human psychy. And democracy does not attempt to eliminate them from the repertoire of consideration for the voter or the elected official. Democracy is best when it works within the parameters of human considerations because all the considerations, no matter how odious, form part of the scaffolding in democratic life and they lend credence to the tenets of Freedom of speech and Freedom of Association for industry and religion. That is where we get the adage; The solution to democratic depravity is more democracy.

Haruna.

Mali’s CODE of Persons and The Family

Until now, the life of Mali has been guided by a hodgepodge of religious and customary edicts. The edicts are as diverse as the profuse number of ethnic traditions, lore, and religion. More often than not, these traditions, customs, and religious edicts have emphasized the superiority of the Male and while not actively suppressing the Female and the Child, they had a resultant affect of depreciating the value of the latter two, thereby exposing the family unit to the cancers of artificial orphanage, lethargic community investiture, and diminished net value for the society.

Mali’s sojourn into democracy has not been easy and will continue to challenge courage and faith. In our DEMOmetrics, we have long recognized the insidious nature of certain structural deficiencies to democratic life. These structural deficits retard sojourns in democracy and severely malign the quality of democratic life.  One of these structural deficits is a malignant qualitative partner (Qp). Mali’s CODE brings us a step closer to realizing the value of a qualitative partner.

Mali’s CODE just passed by her National Assembly, has been deliberated on for a decade beginning in the 1990’s. The conversation brought together community elders, ethnic and religious partisans, political representatives, representatives of the Judiciary, and Non-governmental organizations. The idea was to create the proper ambiance and accompaniment for Mali’s democratic life by harmonizing the disparate edicts and fancy dating back to the time of Mali’s independence. A landmark effort rought with suspicion, fear, charlatanry, epochal disenchantment, and internecine paranoia. In the end, a CODE was crafted of some 1150 articles, spanning the gamut of Mali life from marriage, succession, inheritance, children’s rights, to women’s rights. The magnitude of this achievement can be easily overlooked. Polygamy and monogamy co-existing in Mali further complicated their efforts, not to mention a raging Tuareg secessionist movement in the northern frontier provinces, the boomerang Algerian Salafist expeditions, the Tuareg-Peul difficulties, and the Minianka’s search for a permanent and safe home inside Mali. I am aware of the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great wall of China, The English tunnel, The Oresund Bridge, and many other marvels of human civilizations and I declare, all but Mali’s CODE was achieved in relative calm and benign contract. Perhaps the enormity of the challenge is now in its proper perspective.

The crafting of the CODE and its passage were a pilgrimage of sorts. When Mali decided to live a democratic life, she had envisaged a seamless transition from age-old traditions and lore into contemporary and more democratic life guided by her omnipotent constitution. That would have been the case but Mali needed to join the community of nations who pledged allegiance to universal human rights. It became evident that Mali can therefore no longer rely on the passive harmonization of her disparate edicts in order to fulfill allegiance to universal human rights. The good gods of democracy are smiling on Mali however because as it turns out, The Universal Human Rights Codes are themselves the resultant synthesis of a myriad customs and lore, more comprehensive than obtains in Mali. The bottleneck now is to inform and educate Malians that the adoption and implementation of their CODE has been made easier by international stewardship of a critical component of the CODE, the part dealing with Universal Human Rights.

We are therefore comforted in the prospects of widespread acclaim for Mali’s CODE of Persons and The Family. It could serve as blueprint for many a nation of similar constitution to Mali and  who yearn for democratic life.

We share the Mali CODE with you:

http://www.afribone.com/IMG/pdf_Codedelafamille-2.pdf

Haruna.

Framework

There is a proliferation of organizations aimed at promoting and encouraging democratic life. This is both valuable and hopeful because it indicates a healthy desire for a progressive way of life and a hightened sense of recognition for democracy’s potential yield.

Intervening time and global events have helped to inform us that democracy, like dictatorship, communism, socialism, and all other lifestyles, do have to be actively chosen, and that such choice comes with costs and benefits. The choice of democracy, although seemingly benign, does have its base opportunity cost amid the values of other lifestyles and because of the inevitability of natural disasters that may not readily be attributable to particular governance regimes. At the very least, democracy must address the probability and aftermath of such events if it is to compete effectively in the marketplace of ideals. Unlike the other forms of governance, democracy inherently lacks the power of force, intimidation, and coercion. This deficit in its fortunes however is its saving grace. In essence, the extent of lack of force, intimidation, and coercion will prove to be the sustenance for democracy and barometers of its health. We are encouraged therefore to measure the health of democracy by processing traditional demographic information differently. At The GDP, we will call this measure DEMOmetrics. We will gather and process demographic data in reverse superlative order to enhance the democratic lifestyle. How far in the other direction is the measure? The lack of the measure so to speak.

This is significant especially for diverse partners to a constitution who may also have severe deficits in literacy in a lingua-communalis (linguacom). We describe linguacom here to mean the language in which a common constitution is written. As an example of a metric, it is valuable to consider the qualitative number of citizens (Qp) or partners who are not literate in the linguacom as opposed to the number of partners who are literate in it. This reverse or far-side metric affords more opportunity for improvement and growth than the nominal positive metric perhaps because the latter assumes all citizens have equal access to learn the linguacom. In addition, there are inherent difficulties in assessing the quality of the literacy itself in a contract (constitution) which requires professional and academic matriculation to decipher  intent and spirit. Further, the period of professional and academic readiness has always disadvantaged the health and growth of democracy in diverse populations.

Qualitative Partners (Qp):

This is the number of citizens who are both literate and illiterate in the linguacom, to the extent the constitutive partners can appreciate the minimum value of such linguacom.

In other words, if the linguacom of a certain nation is English, literacy in the English language by itself, and as mere adjective, is not sufficient to qualify the health of democracy in such a nation. A level of education in English, commensurate with a high school diploma and some knowledge of law and due-process is a more useful base measure of comprehension and appreciation in DEMOmetrics.

Additionally, in diverse populations, the character of the partner in Q, adds a more comprehensive dimension to the measure by accounting for impediments to or possibilities in the measure.

This measure (Qp) therefore will form our base unit in tracking appreciation and in describing the other measures in DEMOmetrics. It will become evident that this idea of reverse superlative metrics can indeed be readily applied to all other measures with valuable results, affording demographers and advocates a valuable tool that will render the growth and life of democracy more tractable.

DEMOmeter

As we journey through democracy, it will be valuable to afford ourselves a measure of progress in democracy’s fortunes. It is said that the road ahead is explored more efficiently from experience in the road before. This activity will assist us in prioritizing investments in energy and other resources to yield more value for democratic life.

We will take stock of our progress by ranking our ROPs in order of democratic health. The ranking will be based on public policy and government-public relations. It is generally recognized that public interest, participation, and perception are the benchmarks for the measure of democratic health. A good part of this measure will rely on active surveys of citizens.

We will establish a point system, from 1 to 99 and any new gains therefore can be properly catalogued to serve as further encouragement in the pursuit of democratic life. The DEMOmeter, as the name implies, will therefore be a dynamic measure aimed at encouraging effort for further improvement and growth. The following metrics will be considered:

1. Degree of independence of branches of government.

2. Freedom of Expression and Quality.

3. Freedoms of association for governance, industry, and worship

4. Health of Industrial and Professional Unions.

5. Access to, and quality of information.

6. Civic Participation and perceptions.

7. Clean Water, Clean Air, and infrastructure capacity.

8. Laws affecting the physically and mentally challenged.

9. Scale of ethnic integration and cooperation.

10. Scale of investment in, and quality of Education and Health.

We will effort to be as thorough and as comprehensive in our review as possible. We encourage you, the public, to assist us in identifying areas of concern or celebration.

Thank you.

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