Once upon a time, there was a constitutional democracy whose populace had begun to grow impatient with the slow and stifling movement of all its institutions, ranging from the three organs of government to the other, more commonplace ones such as the police and lower bureaucracy. But whenever the ordinary folks so much as protested, or whenever they were foolish enough to move the courts for the fulfilment of their rightful demands and, in effect, drown in the tediousness of the adversarial system their democracy had inherited from its erstwhile colonisers, the executive would declare with defensive pragmatism, “At least we are still a democracy! Look at those lands where independence dawned at much the same time as us! How are they faring now?” This was emphatically asked, over and over, for the answer always worked in the government’s favour: all those other lands, which had set sail in the waters of freedom with the credentials of a liberal democracy, had either now plunged into civil war or had been besieged by moustachioed military men or, more conveniently still, had discarded the status of “republic,” apparently for the time being, with no clear indication of when a new constitution—if at all—would be drafted.
‘Cause with this rhetoric the indignant populace could argue not,
They slunk into their homes without another dissentious thought.
And then He jumped into the fray, the man who’d bring order to this democracy, who’d redeem the pledge made long, long ago by its founding fathers, and who, finally, would return to the populace the institutions which were designed to service them and them only, but which for so long had been made to pander solely to the high and mighty—whom He, like a generous dog owner flinging an unexpected treat at an overexcited but mindless canine, promised to decimate. Lo and behold: elections came, and the incumbents were tossed out of the window without a second thought. Then, the credulous populace poured into the streets to celebrate the ascension of their new leader to the almighty crest of power. As it happened, that was the last time so many individuals thronged together the thoroughfares of this democracy, for upon stepping into office, the first order of business of His Excellency the Demagogue was to enact a constitutional amendment: no more than three people could now huddle at the same spot simultaneously. This was, of course, just the beginning: in less than two years, the original constitution had been torn apart and trashed; paving the way for a new iteration which rubber-stamped the oppressive, albeit electorally mandated, whims and fancies of the new leader even before He could think of them!
Oh, and also, the new constitution stipulated that elections could be held only if the Central Cabinet deemed the law and order situation conducive to their conduction. Suffice to say that in the torturous years that trudged past, the Cabinet deemed no such thing. These decisions, obviously, were upheld by the Constitutional Court, that supreme enforcer of the Rule of Law, which, alongside the legislature, was committed to His Excellency the Demagogue’s vision of a glorious, egalitarian future. Naturally, whenever the ordinary folks, thankless and blind to their own good as they were, so much as protested, or whenever they were foolish enough to move the courts for the fulfilment of their—there was a new constitution, hence no more rightful—demands and, in effect, drown in the tediousness of the adversarial system their democracy had inherited from its erstwhile colonisers, the executive declared with defensive pragmatism, “At least we are still a democracy! Look at those lands where independence dawned at much the same time as us! How are they faring now?”
Jerking aside the magic lamp, the Genie stabbed Aladdin;
Unhindered power, brazenly brutal force—a democratic society wherein democracy was nothin’.