An analogy of democratic government and the crucial role of voting

Running a democratic country is analogous to how owners run their company but on a larger scale, says Mpho Matlhabegoane. Picture: Supplied

Running a democratic country is analogous to how owners run their company but on a larger scale, says Mpho Matlhabegoane. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 4, 2024


By Mpho Matlhabegoane

According to Google Dictionary, the term “government” means “the group of people with the authority to govern a country or state; a particular ministry in office.” Wikipedia states that a government is the system or group of people governing an organised community.

Cambridge Dictionary defines the government as the group of people who officially control a country.

Most definitions of government revolve around concepts such as control, administration, authority, executive policy-making, ruling, protection, regulation, and more. However, viewing the government as a massive organisation that citizens don't feel ownership of poses a challenge for many, as revealed in recent interviews about politics.

I grew up with Abraham Lincoln's definition of Democracy: “a rule of the people, for the people, and by the people.” In essence, it implies a form of government in which rulers are elected by the people. This should be perceived as every citizen of a democratic country being a part of the government. I later understood the distinction between government and government officials through this explanation: a government is the voter, and a government official is one who is voted for. My confusion stemmed from not feeling like I control my country; however, I began to comprehend these terms using business terminology, which I will use to simplify the concept of government for everyone.

If ten people gather to open a company they lack the time and skills to run, they may need to appoint an official, more like their representative. The ten people will be the “owners” or “shareholders” and “directors” of the company. The appointed official, on the other hand, may be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), occupying the top position. The CEO is responsible for electing managers and operational workers. However, disagreements among the owners on selecting the CEO may arise, leading to the consideration of candidates running for the position, with the one receiving the most votes securing the position.

Trusting the CEO with their company isn't the end; they must continue to have board meetings to measure the company's success, receive reports on decisions made, and demand accountability when things go south. If the CEO fails to meet the owners' demands, they may vote to replace the CEO. The owners benefit from the company, as do the workers and clients. The CEO's primary aim is to serve the owners and manage the workers, always knowing that the owners and clients come first.

Running a democratic country is analogous to how owners run their company but on a larger scale. Citizens are the owners, and political party leaders are the candidates we choose from when selecting a CEO. Voting for the president is akin to choosing the CEO, who, with their party, hires managers and delegates responsibilities throughout the hierarchy.

Voting for the president comes from trusting an official with your country (which is your company, as the officials manage your taxes - your money) and believing they will make the right decisions on your behalf. This is why voting is crucial. It is through voting that directors/shareholders of a company can control it and hold the CEO accountable. Conduct your research on all candidates, watch interviews, read articles, perform background checks, and choose the one whose qualities align with your preferences. Register to vote and cast your vote. A country is a significant organisation, and we all own it; therefore, we should all participate in running it.

*Mpho Matlhabegoane is one of the A! Hub Writers.

**The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.