Can Elections Deliver?

Yet again long-suffering Africans patiently queue to cast their votes in the hopes that elections will deliver them from the hands of long-standing liberator turned dictator.  In this case the Africans are Ivorians, and the dictator is Laurence Gbagbo, whose term officially ended in 2005. But, like so many African leaders, he has a little trouble letting go of his position.  

In fact, the whole situation is far too familiar.  Gbagbo has postponed elections six times and is relying on the usual mix of violence, rabble rousing and xenophobia to hold on to his post.  Having waited ten years to vote, Ivorians came out in their thousands on Sunday and warned of popular uprisings should election results not be transparent. 

I want to share that belief in the power of elections to usher in meaningful change.  Truth is, I can’t help but feel a little bit jaded.  After all, can democracy really be the savior?   When it is democracy, itself, that keeps letting people down in the first place?

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