Democracy is the system of government in which all people of a country can vote to elect their representatives. In a democracy, the government receives its power from the mandate of its citizens. The citizens agree to be ruled by the government because this is the practical and convenient way of running the country for the good of all. The following are the principles of the democratic government:-
1. Citizen participation; Citizen participation means the involvement of citizens of the country in different affairs, including:-(a) Voting in elections (b)Becoming informed about community or civic meetings (c) Being members of private voluntary organizations .
2. Equality; Democracy values all individuals equally .This means that people have equal opportunities and may not be discriminated against because of their race , religion, ethnic group or gender .Democracy allows an individual or groups the right to have different cultures, personalities , languages and beliefs.
3. Political tolerance; Democratic societies are politically tolerant. This means that while the minorities of the people rules, the rights of the majority are protected. People who are not in power are allowed to organize themselves and speak out because they may have ideas which are different from those of the leaders individual citizens must also learn to tolerate each other.
4. Accountability; Democracy makes leaders accountable to the people .Leaders are responsible for their actions. They make decisions and work according to the will and wishes of the people.
5. Transparency; A transparent government holds meetings and allows citizens to attend and ask questions .In democracy, the press and the people are able to get information about what decisions are made, by whom and why .An accountable government makes people aware of what is happening in the country .
6. Regular free and fair election; Electing officials to represent people in government regularly is a way of expressing the citizens’ will. Officials are chosen and removed from office in a free and fair manner. Corruption and threats to citizens during or before an election are against the principles of democracy.
7. Economic freedom; Democratic societies allow people to have economic freedom. The government allows private ownership of goods and services. People are allowed to engage in any legal work. They are also allowed to join labour unions. The government lets people debate national issues.
8. Control of the abuse of power; Democratic societies try to prevent any elected officials or groups of people from misusing or abusing their power. The power can be abused through corruption or use of public funds for their own benefit, e.g. accepting money or gifts so as to provide services in an illegal manner
9. Bill of Rights; A Bill of Right is a list of rights and freedoms guaranteed to all people in the country’s Constitution .The courts of law have the power to enforce these rights. Democracy emphasizes the value of every human being. Example of rights include freedom of expression, freedom of association ,freedom of assembly, the right to equality and the right to education.
10. Multipartyism; Every democratic country allows the existence of more than one political party .The political parties must participate in elections and play a role in government. A multiparty system allows the party which wins the general election to form the government .When multiparty politics prevail in a state, they make the government constantly concerned about serving the people .The opposition parties challenge and correct the government .
11. The rule of law; The rule of law is the situation where all members of society, including the leaders, accept and respect the authority of the law. No one is above the law. All people are equal before the law. Everyone must obey the laws and be accountable if they abuse it. The rule of law insists that the law be equally, fairly and consistently enforced
12. Accepting the results of elections; Elections are one of the components of democracy. In any contest, there must be winners and losers. Sometimes, those who lose in an election think that their candidate is the best and refuse to accept the results .Refusing the results is against democratic principles .This may result in violence, which is also against democracy. To make people accept the results of elections, the elections must be free and fair.