Democracy is beneficial to humankind, but “liberal democracy” is demoralizing. This was the message shared on UofL’s campus recently by Reginald M.J. Oduor, a lecturer in philosophy from the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
During his presentation, Oduor explained that liberal democracy struggles in Africa because it does not match its cultural values and is considered an “alien concept.”
“Democracy has not failed in Africa, liberal democracy has,” he said. “Something alien has problems.”
Liberal democracy tends to emphasize the individual, while Africans focus on community and seeing others as family, Odour said. Residents of his country, for example, call their president “father of nation.”
“(Africa is) not nations, but multi-ethnic states,” where everyone feels they belong, he said.
Oduor said a model for African democracy includes socialism based on African communalism, joint power, and a fusion of African and Western democracy.
Oduor’s discussion was hosted by the Commonwealth Center for Humanities and Society department, Arts and Science and Philosophy.