Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Democracy Ensures Equal Opportunities


Democracy Ensures Equal Opportunities

The word Democracy traces back to the Greek words demos, meaning “people,” and kratia, meaning “power or government”. According to a very famous definition pertained to Abraham Lincoln, a former U.S. president 1809-1865, democracy is «Government of the people, by the people, for the people». So, democracy can be defined as a form of government in which the common people hold political power and can rule either directly or through elected representatives. In simpler term, democracy describes government based on participation of the people, either directly or through elected representatives.
Historically, democracy has played a very dynamic role world political development as it provides people an opportunity to voice their opinion and vote for what they believe in, it holds elected officials accountable for their behavior while in office, and it prevents a minority from dictating the policies of a majority. In Afghanistan majority of the people want democracy and strongly believe in its proper and dynamic functioning in social and economic development. According to some of Afghan political analysts, democracy has strong and significant effects which contribute to political and non-political growth. Democracy is also associated with higher human capital accumulation, lower inflation, lower political instability, and higher economic freedom.
According to political scientists, there are some key elements in democracy such as freedom and equality, sovereignty of people, political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; protection of the human rights of all citizens; equal dignity and rights of all people, freedom of opinion, freedom of the press and freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of religion, right of assembly, independence of Judiciary system, principle of rule of law and so on.
Based on principle of freedom, people enjoy maximum liberty such freedom of opinion, freedom of press, freedom of association, freedom of religion and so on. Additionally, special emphasis is laid on equality and there is no disparity among the people on the basis of caste, creed, religion and position or status. It is essential to establish political and economic equality along with social equality. Thus, in order to establish political equality, all disparities on the basis of caste, religion, colour and sex should be eliminated. However, the Political and social equality and freedom is considered useless without economic equality and social welfare.
According to sovereignty of people as a principle, the people are considered as an ultimate source of sovereignty, and the government derives its power from them. For this purpose elections take place in democracies at certain intervals. For example, In India and England, General Elections take place after every five years but in U.S.A. it is hold after every four years. Overall, people are considered as an end and State as the means in a democracy: This is one of the main characteristics of democracy that individual is a mean and the state is an end. It means that the state makes use of the individual for its own interest while in a dictatorship no attention is paid to the freedom of the individual.
Based on the principle of participation and involvement, all citizens regardless of social status, gender, or ethnic background should have equal opportunities to take part in political life to ensure a set of social rights which comprise the right of education, the right of information, the right of minimum income and everyone should enjoy equal opportunity in the society, there would be no unemployment, the living standard of the people should be raised and they should have economic security. This is possible only when there is no exploitation.
According to principle of freedom of expression, stating opinion by people is not only tolerated in this system, but it is also encouraged. In addition, the citizens must be given access to relevant files and information regarding rulings made by elected bodies, the administration and courts. Access to information is also important to a free formation of opinion and to an independent decision-making process among the citizen. This applies to the existence of free and independent media as well.
Based on principle of independence of Judiciary, it is responsibility of the judiciary system to protect the fundamental rights of the people. In some countries the Supreme Court and the High Court’s protect the Constitution and the fundamental rights of the people. Wherever judiciary is not free, the protection of fundamental rights is not possible. In addition, the system should ensure the citizens equal treatment with consideration and respect. All authority must be practiced according to enacted laws and regulations, and the administration has to comply with predetermined, neutral, and known procedures when enforcing laws. The purpose of such procedures is to protect the citizens from random and undignified treatment. Based on this, the legal system must ensure the fundamental rights of people as in the absence of these rights the development of an individual is not possible.
Finally, democracy plays the most dynamic role in stabilization and development of world countries, especially in the post-conflict countries such as Afghanistan. If we dishonestly try to act or apply democracy in Afghanistan, it is obvious that we cannot collect the harvest of what we have not factually cultivated. For example, one of the main features of democratic system is transition of power through transparent election system but this has not happened in Afghanistan, the bitter consequences also impacted on social and political lives of the people. Now, being in the eve of presidential election and peace agreement, we have opportunity to play our honest role to rescue democracy in the country.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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