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Citizens Engagement in Dictatorial Countries

GPSA Knowledge Platform forums Forum Citizens Engagement in Dictatorial Countries

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of  Anonymous 1 year, 8 months ago.

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  • #5202
    Profile photo of Samisson
    Samisson
    @esamisson
    Mozambique-Zimbabwe

    How can Citizens Engagement be implemented in countries, where there is dictatorship?
    Where there is dictatorship, rule of law doesn’t apply, there is no democracy and there is high level of human rights abuses. Dictators create laws that prevents the citizens from taking action, public and private meeting are banned, use of the police and military to silence activists, any form of citizen engagement will be stopped at its infancy. Leaving Citizens without choice, but to be submissive, holding tight their months and do nothing in order “just”to preserve their lives.
    What mechanism are there to assist such citizens to come out from the dungeon, there are in and engage one another without being brutalized and make changes “FREELY” that suits them and their nation at large?

    https://www.hrw.org/africa/zimbabwe

  • #5210
    Profile photo of Ameen
    Ameen
    @alaminumar
    Nigeria

    Dear Samisson,
    In my opinion, citizens can only fully engage their dictatorial governments when they are living in other countries. In this age of social media, posting blogs and news reports will have a huge impact on the government. Although in some cases, the government may ban the use of internet, the pressure that such a move will create from the international community can make any dictator to slacken.
    Kind Regards,
    Ameen

  • #5223
    Profile photo of Samisson
    Samisson
    @esamisson
    Mozambique-Zimbabwe

    Thank you Ameen for your response,

    But truly speaking engaging the people from another country, using social media do you think it’s enough to yield an fruitful results in fighting against dictatorship

    • #5247
      Profile photo of Ivan
      Ivan
      @ivanbutina
      United States

      Diaspora and expats can have significant influence indeed, even more so with contemporary communication tools. However, the problem with the diaspora – and I’m diaspora myself – is that they don’t live in the country anymore and the more years pass by the more distant from the country’s reality they are. The risk there is that they don’t understand the local reality anymore, unless they find a way and are serious about staying in touch.

      On the other hand, if the diaspora simply wants to get rid of a dictatorial government, that’s not citizen engagement anymore. That becomes citizen activism with a political goal: toppling a dictatorial government.

  • #5246
    Profile photo of Ivan
    Ivan
    @ivanbutina
    United States

    Hi Samisson,

    That’s very challenging indeed. I do think that it depends on what kind of dictatorship citizens are dealing with: China, Singapore, and North Korea are all three different. Also, it depends on what citizen engagement is about: policy or services? Dictatorial governments – unless they’re like North Korea – might be willing to engage citizens on services, but not so much on policy. I think China is a case where there are citizen engagement initiatives focused on the local level and on services.

    My only experience is with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, where I was born but where I lived only as a kid. However, having studied its system and heard about it from my parents and family, I know that there were many spaces for citizen engagement, from housing assemblies to local assemblies, to companies owned by workers through cooperatives. Although the country was ruled by one party, and with a strong leader, the socialist system based on cooperatives and assemblies had citizen participation at its core.

    Ivan

  • #5269
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Hi Samisson,

    It is deeply saddening to see such happening.

    As for what can be done, first agenda should be to spread the word. Knowledge is key in this matter. Just as you have done, letting more people know that there is a problem should set a strong foundation for dealing with the issue at hand. The citizens should take the first initiative in knowledge dispensation. There should be a general unrest in the country about governance though not out-rightly as this would suppressed greatly by the government.

    Also to note is that there are people who have in the past stood up against dictatorship governments without employing weapons or violence. For instance, Thic Quang’s self-immolation against the Vietnamese government oppression, Rosa Park’s sit down for civil rights, the famous Gandhi salt march to Dandi in protest of British Imperialism and many more.

    With that said, I agree that what you are experiencing is a difficult situation, nevertheless, thank you for shedding light on the issue.

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