By Kalonga D Haciwa
At times it is very helpful to ask ourselves questions which seems to be “common questions” and not necessary to ask.
To help open the Pandora box, I will ask this simple question: What are the roles of a Zambian citizen? And the next question is; are you performing your citizenry duties?
In order for a democracy to work, it is important that the people have knowledge about the definition of democracy and how it works. Thus it is highly important for a country to have a relevant educated population in order for the democratic system to work. This is important because uneducated people tend to lean towards radical ideologies as these ideologies might seem to have a sufficient solution to the problems of the society, however what people usually fail to see or even ignore is that these solution are based on suppression of other groups in society which usually doesn’t affect the majority.
Another important point in educating the people about the definition of democracy is that they usually tend to understand the word wrong. An example of that is that many people tend to regard democracy as a system where everything literally is allowed, this often leads to a complete chaos that devastates the order of the society rather than improving it and in that way, it leads to the opposite effect of the aims of democracy.
The key role of citizens in a democracy is to participate in public life.
Citizens have an obligation to become informed about public issues, to watch carefully how their political leaders and representatives use their powers, and to express their own opinions and interests.
Voting in elections is another important civic duty of all citizens.
But to vote wisely, each citizen should listen to the views of the different parties and candidates, and then make his or her own decision on whom to support.
Participation can also involve campaigning for a political party or candidate, standing as a candidate for political office, debating public issues, attending community meetings, civic meetings, petitioning the government, and even protesting.
A vital form of participation comes through active membership in independent, non-governmental organizations, what we call “civil society.”
These organizations represent a variety of interests and beliefs: farmers, workers, doctors, teachers, business owners, religious believers, women, students, human rights activists.
Democracy depends on citizen participation in all these ways. But participation must be peaceful, respectful of the law, and tolerant of the different views of other groups and individuals.
For Democracy to work the people must be capable of making intelligent decisions. They must tell truth from falsehood.
“DEMOCRACY: Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.” The roll of the people is thus to elect leaders that represent their opinions and values. Those elected individuals will then represent those people to the government; proportionately to those who voted for them. Basically Power To The People. In proper democracies, the government is afraid of the people; rather than the people fearing and obeying the government. Please ask not what your Country can do for you, rather, ask what you can do for your Country.