Democracy in developing countries in South America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe has not been successful, not because these countries do not have competent authorities to govern them, but largely as a result of the way these countries came into existence.
Unlike western democracies which were formed by an amalgamation of states, most nations with young democracies were formed basically from the splitting of entire regions. The implication here is that a nation formed from a conglomeration of states will have to negotiate extensively and make compromises to ensure the survival of its unity. Synthesis is a constructive process, but most if not all undemocratic countries came into existence through the destructive process of divide and rule. To the dismay of many, the fragmentation into factional ideologies has evolved into a paradigm for governance in many of these very young democracies.
The governing structures that were left behind particularly after colonization had very little semblance of democracy. They were created basically to ensure and sustain a central government that had a favorable opinion on trade and which usually secured the former colonial master as the main beneficiary. Though trade relations are not necessarily retrogressive on development, these central governments were endowed with great powers and dominance giving room for the abuse of power that haunts them till date.
Democracy came to mean a bunch of elites taking the whole governmental system hostage and making sure one of their kin and kind gets to make the rules with absolute power. These central governments got so powerful that they every policy enacted became a recipe for corruption and subsequent military coups.
The problem has never been a lack of national good will or the unavailability of experts. Regrettably, their intellectuals and experts have been relegated from active participation in the democratic process as policy debates rarely feature in academic arenas. Industrious minds have been hijacked by the political system and are forced to comply with clumsy institutions.
Although cultural differences might have had some effect in stalling democracy in some of these countries, culture is so insignificant a factor to have caused such drastic failures witnessed around the world. The diversity in culture which is a natural democratic foundation is hardly used to promote democracy. Cultural differences are exploited and manipulated by a few individuals for selfish motives.
Every indication points to the fact the citizens of these developing democracies have the willingness to strive beyond their cultural limits, but this is made impossible by those who feel their positions will be threatened should the people begin to overlook their cultural boundaries. Democracy has come to mean a mechanism that makes you lose your position and gives your opponent the opportunity to triumph over you.
In addition, contrarily to encouraging democracy, the advent of multipartism instead helped enforced the divisions and differences left behind from colonial rule. The lack of adequate democratic institutions aggravated disunity. For selfish reasons and the pretense to avoid a complete collapse of law and order, most of these countries came to be governed under completely totalitarian regimes.
In these nations where the entire population seems to work for a few so called elites, remunerations to the masses are not seen as adequate payments acknowledging the hard work the people offer, but as charity and a reward for loyalty. The execution of public contracts paid for by taxes from the population is considered a gift and donated to regions exhibiting the most loyalty and submissiveness to the regimes.
The leaders in South America, Asia and Africa have used over and over and with deadly effect the colonial system of divide and rule. Just like the colonial system, the existing power structures are desperately made to consolidate a stay in power than make life better for the citizens.
Divide and rule has given rise to political animosity and tribal hatred. In the Middle East, South America Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa divide and rule was used to create submission, ensure the exploitation of natural resources and in some cases expel communism. Divide and rule is what these regions have learned for decades and a sudden change into a new era of democracy just can not come overnight.
The mere fact that in some of these countries different tribes live together, share similar social amenities and do not engage in endless conflicts is reason enough that the prospect of rapid advancement of democracy in not so democratic countries is not a delusional concept.
There is no greater hope than that these countries quickly adapt to the changing times. Though some of these nations often refer to colonial rule with disgust, they have recurrently made the colonial rule of divide and rule a model for governance.