For the people by the people is how they describe Democracy, the UN charter that preambles with the #WeThePeoples goes ahead to elaborately articulate all manner of noble intentions governments and individuals who crafted the charter envisioned 70 years ago.

At this point in history, 70 years after the United Nations and for us in Africa, 50+ years of the African Union, the world has undergone through various phases of democratization. Certain parts of the world, especially those considered developed world have made progress and established systems that rest of the world want to replicate. This replication is also associated and linked closely to colonization where countries in Africa have systems that correspond closely to their former colonial masters.

What we must ask ourselves

As young Africans intent on bringing change to our mother land the cradle of mankind and the entire globe, we really must reflect. The reflection is about our identity, our context and role, for  a long time the need to replicate and copy ‘from the best’ is not matched with an equally zealous to develop our own structures. Define our niche and be bold enough to have structures and systems that speak to our realities. The African Union Department of Political Affairs has so far hosted 2 twitter chats to engage various actors and stakeholders on social media. For the first chat, the storify can be found here. During the chat, I participated and was very impressed with the initiative for a traditional and seemingly rigid institution would take on a task such as hosting a twitter chat.

The chat being hosted on the International Day of Democracy under the Democracy and Governance trends hashtag abbreviated as #DGTrends was very successful, engaging and provoked an invigorating discussion. Picking on a few tweets, I will discuss the insights of the day, one particular tweet from the Director of the commission spoke to the very essence of context and applicability. As Africans and young people struggling to define ideals that will work for the continent, it is important that we understand that context is underlying to all our undertakings.  Taking bold decisions, being innovative and responding to prevailing circumstances demands an intimate understanding of the situation at hand here

Who is engaged or not engaged, is that how we want to move forward?

The need to engage communities is crucial, as we go ahead to make statements such as the society has normalized violence or we have been socialized to believe this and that, one young person cut me down on my tracks. The very reflective comment was the fact that it takes individuals to build societies and the work and attitude of each of the individual is what is reflected as a collective.

Democracy is a process we all encounter and engage in at different levels in different ways. The institutions set forward to regulate democracy should be owned by us and advance and ideology that we define for ourselves. The African Union that is intent to realize regional integration for Africa including urging its member states to advance constitutionalism is such an institution. The realization of the centrality and the crucial of   people is the first and the last of this democratic debate.


Catherine is a Mandela Fellow 2016, Women Deliver Young Leader and member of Youth RISE International working group. Catherine is a passionate young African feminist activist with over 7 years of experience in advancing gender equality, youth development and sexual and reproductive health and rights in the context of sustainable development through movement building, digital and social media, policy advocacy and capacity building for young women and adolescents girls. Catherine is currently Deputy Director at Dandelion Kenya, and sits on the SDGs Kenya Forum coordination committee. Catherine has engaged with various global and regional policy processes such as ICPD Beyond 2014 review, Beijing +20 and the post 2015 development agenda. She co-authored the article ‘Leave No One Behind; Will African Women be left behind in the post 2015 development agenda ,an article published on the East African Business Monthly in February 2015. Catherine launched the #SRHRDialogues, an online advocacy and awareness raising platform on SRHR and #YAFDialogues, an online platform anticipated to be a permanent mobilizing platforms borne out of an African feminist dialogue 2015 in Accra. Follow her on Twitter: @catherinenyamb1

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