The discussion on Democracy is so vital in our discourse that A.B. Assensoh points out below an important piece on the subject by the venerable Ghanaian historian, Professor Albert Adu Boahen. Those interested may take a perusal or research look at the piece from the 667-page Africa In The Twentieth Century: The Adu Boahen Reader (Africa World Press, 2004).
A former African leader that I am less likely to quote in any serious writing is Ghana's late (executed) General I.K. Acheampong. His statements, when in office, bothered on some of the comical statements made by Idi Amin of Uganda. It is, therefore, not unusual that both leaders became Generals through promotions handed to them by their own military administrations!
Anyway, our very respectable historian, Professor Adu Boahen, fornerly of University of Ghana, deemed it necessary on one occasion to use Acheampong's quote on "democracy and bread" in his short but very poignant work that constitutes Chapter 29 of Africa In The Twentieth Century: The Adu Boahen Reader, which was sub-titled "Human Rights, Democracy and Economic Development in Ghana," (pp. 460-469). In the piece, he quoted Acheampong as saying, way back in the 1970s: "One Man, one vote is meaningless unless accompanied by the principle of one man, one bread," (page 462). Does that not look very much like the notion about "democracy and the hungry"?
Critically looking at instances of abject povery in many nations of Africa, I too feel very strongly that those of us making clarion calls for democracy to gain tap roots in Africa (including myself) should make sure that our village and hamlet-based kith and kith have food to eat when democracy reigns supreme in the capitals! As I still recall, an old man asked why a particular West African government was overthrown in a coup, and my simplistic answer to him was that the elected President and his cronies did not allow democracy to flourish abundantly. The old man's prompt response was: "Ah, na democracy the people dey chop?"
Please, find time to read The Adu Boahen Reader that has been superbly edited by our own Professor Falola (Toyin) and beautifully published by Africa World Press, Incorporated of Trenton, New Jersey, USA. If you are too busy to read the entire tome (and it is usefully hefty), please just find the time to read only Chapter 29. You may also add that reading to your New Year intellectual resolutions for 2005!