Pillars Of Democracy (Civic Education)

Table Of Contents

1. Meaning Of Pillars Of Democracy
2. Pillars Of Democracy

Meaning Of Pillars Of Democracy

Pillars of democracy refer to the framework on which democracy is built, sustauned and advanced in society. They are the building blocks of the democratic practice. They my be institutions. Persons or practices on which democracy rests.

Pillars Of Democracy

1. People: Democracy is all about people, their actions and in actions in the affairs of the state and their role in the sustenance of society. Government does not exits without people hence, democracy is rightly defined as the governmenr of the people, by the people in a democracy, power belongs to the people and ultimately resides with the people. But because it is not easy for the whole people in a state to exercise power directly, theu do so through their power of vote which determines who rules over them.

When they elect leaderd or representatives they delegate power to them, to act on their behalf. Those elected are expected to serve the interest of the masses who electd them.

Elected represenrtatives and leaders can be removed from office by the people through the power of vote. Therefore, the people constitute the most critical pillar of democracy.

2. Democratic Institutions: Democratic institutions are bodies established by law for the promotion of rule of law, human rights and democratic practice. They are:

* Civil society organisation
* Arms of government
* The electronic and print media; help to stabilize democracy by bringing to the front burner issues which can derail or destabilize the state. They provide constructive opinioms on issues of national importance to the government and citizens large. Their activity if unguarded can destablize the state.

We have discussed and treated the role of these institutions in the promotion of good governance, the rule of law and the democratic practice, earlier, in different sections of this blog. Students are adviced to refer to them, for proper understanding of the topic under discussion in this unit.

3. Rule of Law: We have treated this earlier in this book and you may wish to refer to that. However, the rule of law is the engine room of the democratic practice in government. It ensures that the actions of government are in accordance with the law of the land. It prevents arbitary rule, abuse of power and other acts whuch infringe on the rights and liberties of the citizens. The rule of law ensures accountabilitty which is an essential tenet of the democratic system of government.

4. Orderly change of Government: Because it is a system based on the constitution democracy guaranteed orderly change of government. Elected leaders have defined tenure of office, supported by periodic elections. Accordingly, succession and change of government is orderly and guaranteed in democracy. In other words, democracy has no place for sit tight rulers.

5. Transparent Electoral Process: This is the whole process of conducting free, fair, credible and transparent elections. It includes the process of selecting political party officials through party progress. The congress should be participatory, all inclusive and open. It must be devoid of acts which are selective and discriminatory.

Party members should be allowed to freely choose their leaders. Transparent electoral process also includes the process of organizing party primaries to select candidates of to stand for elections on political party platforms. The above processes should not be manipulated by the authorities to favour selected individual. Elections should be based on one man, one vote and conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner so that popular candidates emerge as winners.

Transparent electoral process provides a solid foundation for the flourishing of democracy. When elections and the processes leading them are manipulated, the citizens lose confidence in elections. This erodes the legitimacy and loyalty to the government which emerges from such elections.

6. Majority Rule and Minority Right: A major plank of democracy is majority rule, because the majority carries the day in elections. Even at that, the views of the minority must be heard and considered. The saying goes like this, while ” the majority has its way, the minority has it say”. It is an important tenet of democratic practice that the views of the minority are not ignored. It is however to say that the will of the majority carries the day always.

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