When my husband sent this word “Kakistocracy” to me and asked that I define it , With my limited vocabulary, I immediately assumed it was an ethnically coined word from the military adage of “khaki “which means military uniform in Nigeria.
Then I searched and discovered it is indeed a real word, coined and used by an English author Thomas love Peacock in 1829. The word gained significant usage in the 21st century (Wiktionary). Wonderful!
Kakistocracy is a system of government which is run by the worst , least qualified or most unscrupulous citizens. In literary sense it is a government run by the worst people. People that place private ambition over public progress. It is said to be the opposite of aristocracy were aristo means excellence thereby meaning an excellent government.
Kakistocracy explicitly describes the type of governance that the continent has been exposed to over time and at various stages of development. It has fostered the crisis of illegitimate governments, strife and wars. It has deepened the problems of poverty, economic and social inequality, insecurity, high unemployment, financial crisis and high mortality rates.
As Jimmy Carter said, “a government is just as good as its people”. So are we Africans, Kakistocrats? Are we the architect of our darkened days? We need to think individually, rise up and do what we can to change this narrative.
Perhaps we’ve started already with inspiring stories coming out from countries like Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa, and even Nigeria with the fight against corruption. There is hope for Africa.
Let us continue to strive towards an excellent government driven by excellent people. We can do it.