100 WODS EACH QUESTION
Hello everyone, hope all is well.
If I was the leader of this country I would recommend that the country adopt a constitution similar to the United States but, also take consideration on an unwritten constitution like the British. But, of course there are pros and cons of establishing a written constitution on a newly unified country.
Constitution basically is a document which describes the way a country is governed, the rights of its people and the most basic ideas and values that country and its people respect. And in the simplest way possible, it a law based off which you make all other laws. Now you can see how that is a good thing right? We need to have laws, otherwise it’s anarchy out there which is literally lawlessness.
Now, when you don’t have a constitution in a country, state, province. You usually have a higher force which governs and carries out such laws and policies. Examples would be a police state or military dictatorships. Problem here being, that there is no stop sign to say, you cannot do that. You can’t kill people just because they voted for a party you don’t agree with. What a constitution does is give us, the citizen, the right and obligation to send those opposes or do not follow the law to jail or even out of the country when they do something that is forbidden.
Lastly, even if it is written, a constitution is only as good as the willingness and ability of its government and/or its people to enforce its terms. Remember also that having a written constitution is no guarantee that the result of it will be a democracy or a republic.
Over the past several years many countries have began to make changes and take risk in order to end old dictatorships and began to establish more pro-democratic movements. Countries within the Middle East and North Africa such as Libya, Algeria, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria and Tunisia have taken progressive steps to establish democracy however it is questionable it they can sustain there ideas and continue to practice what they preach. Kesselmen classifies democracy into two separate types, being consolidated democracy and transitional democracy. Consolidated democracy is where there is a large adherence to the seven democratic requisites mentioned above; such as Britain, France, Germany, India, Japan, and the United States (Kesselman et al. 2010, 27). Transitional democracies are when authoritarian governments move to more democratic ones but the rights and civil liberties of citizens are still significantly less than that of consolidated democracies. Countries that have transitional democracies are Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, and parts of Africa.
Authoritarian regimes in Africa are becoming increasingly challenged to establish democracy, freedom, and equal rights. Until the early 1990’s the majority of African countries were still dominated by dictatorships, one-party and patrimonial states; which lacked accountability of leaders and lead to long-term instability, and civil wars (Diamond, Larry). Over the past twenty years, countries have undergone part of the democratization process following the end of the looking for a change and more stability. Many countries such as Tunisia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, and Guinea Bissau now have held free elections available to the public to vote on large office positions such as President. Most African countries meet some of the requisites of democracy and are considered to be transitional democracies as they formed primarily from old dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. However they still struggle to maintain peace and move progressively towards more consolidated forms of democracy. They all still have great issues with poverty, illiteracy, militarization, and underdevelopment that hinder their progress towards democracy (Kpundeh 1992, 12). These issues lead to instability, and risk uproar from its citizens. For example over the past few years Mali has been facing a large humanitarian crises following the March 2012 Mali coup d’état which overthrew Mali’s democratically elected government and led to the Military’s chain of command to collapse (Thurston, Alex). Causes for the coup were over the militaries pay, and supplies as well as the overall dissatisfaction with the government’s methods and policies.
It is possible for countries in North Africa and the Middle East to establish a consolidated democracy, which exhibits part of the requisites of democracy. However it is extremely difficult for small countries to maintain a democratic form of government, as most of these countries are extremely poor, and have issues with poverty, illiteracy, and militarization. If a country was to try and establish a solid form of democracy they would need to attempt to rid poverty, and better educate there citizens as well as treat their military fairly with good pay, supplies/equipment and good strong leaders which favor there elected leader. The problem with free elections in these countries is that a large portion of the citizens are unable to vote as they do not know how to read or write, and often cannot afford to travel to the location of the polls. Nigeria for example only holds their electoral voting stations in large protected cities such as Abuja, or Maiduguri. This prevents a large portion of their people from voting, as they are unable to travel to the larger cities. People also often fear groups that supported previous dictators. Such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) or Boko Haram in Nigeria will often threaten the public as they attempt to vote freely for a President. Overall it is highly unlikely that these countries will be able to form a successful democracy as they have a large opposition from groups within there country.
Unwritten constitutions are often derived from written or unwritten sources but they are not documented, they are also based upon practice. Unwritten constitutions are subject to change based upon cultural shifts in society or significant changes such as that in technology. Being unwritten it also allows for corrections so that there is no misinterpretations at all. If a piece of legislation is considered constitutionally significant if can be introduced through regular law making processes. There are no special procedures to e taken when required to make constitutional amendments. It gives flexibility and space for parliament. Lastly, unwritten constitutions are easy to change as they are not set stone.
With the lack of stability within Africa as a whole an unwritten constitution would help significantly. The problem though is finding a ruler or a group/panel to enforce this successfully.
Apologies for being late on this week’s forum, I had close to zero connectivity while training aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms. In the middle of the desert, AT&T and most other carriers cannot get signal.
The ethic group that I align with for this assignment would be that of the group making up 47% of the post-colonial country. Not being too savvy on politics, I believe it is pretty even between the other group, since the ethnic group that makes up the 3% aligns with the group from the North. It seems to be a near 50/50 split. The group that has 3% could continue to align with the majority group, or establish independence as their own ethnic group, however their voice will not be as loud as the other 2 groups.
This country could learn so much from the United States Constitution in which it was written in order to establish the basic rights of all people. The constitution is a solid foundation of governing rules, but also can be amended, if it meets the requirements, such as when our country went through the Civil War, resulting in the constitution being amended and establishing the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. As this post-colonial country has already gone through a civil war, I believe our constitution, which has existed and applied to our way of life for the last 229 years will provide a solid foundation in which this country can be a system of government that includes inherent rights, government by the people, and separation of powers. Something, these people probably have never known.
This young country could establish senators, and representatives which are voted by their people, in a fair established matter based on population. Establish branches of government, such as our legislative, executive, and judicial powers to help with the checks and balances of their chosen government leaders. Choose Presidential Candidates by the different party’s, and by law, each citizen over the age of 18 can vote for his or her choice of President to lead the Country in the right direction. Now those voted to represent their people will all have competing priorities, the people of the North will not want to share their riches from the oil rich land. They will disagree on many issues, but in order to better serve their constituents, they will have to compromise with one another until they reach a common ground that all sides agree to, fair for all, or at least a majority vote.
I believe a written constitution, such as our country’s that has stood the test of time, due to its solid principles of governing, but ability to be flexible and amended is a pro when considering a country adopting this type of governing. This post-colonial country will benefit from a written constitution as it pretty much starting a democracy from the ground up, as this country is going to finally be independent from colonial ruling.