Archive - May 4, 2022

“Democracy in Africa” by Mark G. Wentling (Togo)

“Democracy in Africa” by Mark G. Wentling (Togo)

Democracy in Africa is Like a Flashlight without Batteries by Mark G. Wentling (Togo 1970-73) May 2022 Promoting democracy has been a central pillar of U.S. foreign policy for decades. This has been true for the dozen U.S. missions in which I have served in Africa over the past half century. Unfortunately, my experiences have left me doubtful about the results achieved by the hundreds of millions of dollars the U.S. has invested to promote democracy in Africa. I arrived in 1970 as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, West Africa. In my village, I learned that you obeyed the chief’s decisions no matter how illogical they might be. I also learned that it was considered impolite to criticize any of the chief’s decisions. Today it is still best to obey the chief, although he is now influenced by the central government. The overriding concern of the chief and his representative . . .

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