Democracy as an Impediment to Progress in Developing Countries: Social Constructs versus Realities in Kenya

Frank Ojwang
University of Nairobi, Kenya



The question as to whether democracy is succeeding or failing in Sub-Saharan Africa since it was introduced by colonial masters and the West requires further interrogation and critical analysis. The enforcement of democracy is paradoxically observed in the tactfully woven governance system led by surrogate ‘whitened’ African colonialists that extend the colonial mission. The fruits of democracy remain elusive to the developing countries like Kenya, with only a handful of privileged Kenyans benefiting in reality. This paper analyses the social constructs of democracy in developing countries like Kenya using content analysis of 66 open access SCOPUS indexed journals between 1961-2023 and deconstructs the nuances of democracy using bibliometric analysis of 381 SCOPUS indexed articles to illuminate the hidden but harsh realities of the failing democracy as implemented in Kenya. This is a phenomenological analysis that seeks to relay perspectives and behaviors based on the experiences and observation by the researcher. A section of African researchers have questioned the efficacy of democracy as a form of governance in Kenya. The researcher analyses the Kenyan historical epochs from 1900 to 2022 using historical analysis method and as a basis for proving that democracy as implemented is ineffective and inefficient for achieving statehood and equitable development. The paper uses qualitative methods to debunk the fallacy that democracy works in developing countries like Kenya using facts and realities. The article argues that the epistemological injustice presents the systemic research gap as knowledge continues to be a reserve for the knowers that form the majority that set the standards for education globally. This paper uses democratic theory and secondary data sources to analyse whether democracy is the right foundation of the governance system for developing countries in Sub Sahara Africa where the countries have multiethnic societies that have historically had different cultural practices.

Key words: Democracy, Ethnography, Governance, Kenya, Reality, Social constructs


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