Why Citizens Do Not Raise Any Serious Queries Against Their Leaders When They Misuse, Misapply or Misappropriate Funds Meant for Their Communities.

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Many political leaders, especially in Africa, are known to engage in financial malpractice involving public funds meant for the communities they represent. The few people who run the resources of a country end up abusing the resources. These resources that are supposed to be channeled to develop infrastructure or educate the citizens end up being misused, misapplied or misappropriated by those entrusted to bring development. For example in Zambia, Constituent Development Funds (CDF) have been diverted by Members of Parliament to their personal use. There is no doubt that financial malpractice by leaders is a stumbling block to meaningful development in any country. One would not expect leaders in a democratic society like Zambia to embezzle funds meant for the welfare and development of their communities. According to Acemoglu and Robinson, this kind of behaviour by leaders is only possible in autocratic regimes. They argue that democracy makes this kind of theft difficult to accomplish and to conceal for two reasons. Firstly, the formal institutions of government such as the legislature constrain the behaviour of leaders. Secondly, popular participation in the process of government ensures that elected leaders are accountable to the citizenry. In a truly democratic society, there will be honesty, fairness, responsibility and accountability to and for each other (Djokoto and Chama: 2006). However, in most democratic societies, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, leaders can misuse, misapply or misappropriate community funds without the affected citizens raising any serious queries against the culprits. The citizens seem to be indifferent to such occurrences. Their silence or indifference could be a result of either not caring about what goes on around them politically or just being unaware of such things happening. This essay will attempt to explain why citizens do not raise any serious queries against their leaders when they misuse, misapply or misappropriate funds meant for their communities. This essay will begin by defining democracy and give the meanings of the words misuse, misapply and misappropriate. It will then try to explain why the affected citizens do not query their leaders when they abuse community funds. Finally, it will conclude. Democracy is a word with many meanings. Sir Stafford Cripps defines democracy as a system of government in which every adult citizen is equally free to express his or her views and desires upon all subjects in whatever way he or she wishes and to influence the majority of his fellow citizens to decide according to those views and to influence those desires. H. B. Mayo defines a democratic political system as one in which public policies are made on a majority basis by representatives subject to effective popular control at periodic elections which are conducted on the principle of political equality and under conditions of political freedom (Mahajan 1988:794). Democracy is usually understood as majority rule and the holding of regular elections. But if it has to work effectively, it must include active participation by all citizens and a conscious awareness of both rights and responsibilities (Mbewe 2012:16-17). According to the Macmillan English Dictionary, the word misuse means to use something in a wrong way or for the wrong purpose. To misapply is to use something in a wrong or illegal way. Misappropriation means to take for oneself money that one is responsible for but does not belong to them. One of the primary challenges of some democratic societies such as Zambia is the lack of leaders who vie for political office with the goal of serving the people, instead of themselves....
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