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13 Sep, 2010 07:10

“Exported democracy is not democracy”- former SAR president

The export of democracy is impossible in principle, believes former president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki, who shared his insights with RT’s sister channel "Rusiya Al-Yaum".

“You cannot export democracy. It has got to be homegrown, it has got to be indigenous,” he said.

“It is critically important that the people must have the space to determine their future. It does not matter how poor they are and how small they are. The idea that you have some super-powerful country which knows everything about everything … is obviously wrong and obviously would never work.”

He also pointed out that, as in the case with South Africa, in order to build democracy you need to respect your country’s cultural and ethnical diversity.

”What becomes critical is to construct a democratic system which respects the particularities of national coalitions,” Mbeki said.

“If we take our case, here you have the society which was coming out of a terrible system of racism and you had to create non-racial society and you have got a society that is very diverse in terms of languages, cultures. As a consequence of which we take a decision that there shall be 11 official languages to manage the diversity.

“We take a decision that the constitution should provide for the establishment of the body which would make sure that there is proper representation of these different cultural, religious, linguistic groups to make an impact on the system of governments,” the ex-president said.

Mbeki believes that South Africa’s experience could be applied in Sudan.

“The historical challenge in Sudan has been how to deal with that kind of diversity, how to manage and develop that kind of diversity such that it does not lead to conflict,” he noted.