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Democracy dies in silence

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2006 Tutu Fellow Aidan Eyakuze has written a piece on LinkedIn in which he argues for the power and efficiency of open, fearless public discourse on the issues that impact the citizenry.  No institution or group has a lock on the best ideas, so with open debate, government can make better choices.  Open debate keeps politicians honest, he says.  The opposite is equally true. Although his piece primarily concerns Tanzania, his argument is true for democracies in general. 

He points out that there are some areas of concern for the political health of Tanzania.  Several newspapers have been suspended and others threatened.  There has also been an attempt to silence an outspoken opposition Member of Parliament in an assassination attempt. Other opposition leaders in Tanzania have been arrested or charged with offences that range from sedition to unlawful assembly and more.

Eyakuze says, "Democracy and development are inseparable, and at the heart of both is a free, open and civil debate. Progress comes to a halt when there is no vibrant discourse, no probing scrutiny and no pulsating marketplace of ideas.  Democracy dies in silence. It is strongest when people stand up and defend it with their voice and action."

You can read the entire piece, which was first carried in the Tanzanian newspaper The Citizen, on LinkedIn.

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Thursday, 14 November 2019

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