As the twenty 21st century moves on its debate over the role of citizens has assumed complexity and urgency in the long established democracies in the African continent and declining political participation Of citizens and a mistrust in public institutions.
However the task of citizens is to nurture institutions and practices that are compatible with their local conditions and conducive to democratic aspirations.
The basic rights of citizens are reasonably clear, freedom of speech, expression, association, assembly and active participation.
Full citizenship also requires the right to participate in economic, social life an fair and equal terms.
The responsibilities of citizens include not only compliance with legitimate laws and institutions but also their willingness to do their fair share to create and sustain them.
Perhaps the most important responsibilities of citizens is to make appropriate use of their liberty and respect their the rights of others however, for history tells that abuses of these liberties by some individuals promotes the government authority to restrict liberty for all
The appropriate balance between the rights and responsibilities of citizens varies in accordance to the local circumstances and prevailing situations where there is increased willingness of citizens to take responsibilities for one another and for common good and in the long run we need to construct institutions that defend core individual and political rights but this basic cannot succeed unless individual citizens see themselves as active participants and not passive recipients of the nurturance of these liberties
At this same time, citizens need to wrestle with profound issues of moral responsibility for the past abuses in non violent peaceful way and further move to question how things are done from their leaders because its their power that creates this leadership through the process of electoral democracy
In the development of all these, One thing is clear, dialogue and engagement is important as key to progress
‘’the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing” Edmund Burke
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