In Summary

Two political experts say you cannot achieve the change you want without participation.

KAMPALA- Africans should take interest in the political transitions of their countries if they want to see the change they desire, renowned Tanzanian scholar Prof Mwesiga Baregu has said.

He was speaking during a regional public debate on elections, electoral politics and political change in Africa held at Makerere University under the theme: “Is democratisation at a dead end.”

“Transitions have to be guided by the people, if you sit and do nothing, don’t think the transition is going to move in the direction you want,” he said.

He outlined what he called the four Ps that guide a transition, which include Players (who is going to be involved in the transition), path (which way to go), process (how you are going to transit) and pace (how fast are you going to move and how much are you going to cover).

“The struggle,” he said, “Is about who controls them (the four Ps) and what we have seen, it is between those who want to see change and those who want to maintain the status quo.”

He said the ‘status quo’ groups want a controlled process of transition while the ‘change group’ wants to see a negotiated one.
Kenyan Senator, Prof Peter Anyang Nyong’o said having an electoral process is not always a sign of democracy in a country.

“Authoritarian regimes which were forced to hold elections realised that you can write the rules of conducting the elections in such a way that even if you are defeated, you can refuse to count the votes or announce the results and nothing will happen...,” he said.

He cited Kenya, Cote D’ivoire and Zimbabwe as some of the countries which in the 80s and 90s failed the test of transition.