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Political culture

Go to Glossary for a list of translated words - marked with a star in the text. 

Transport councillors to Denmark to learn
"Denmark is one of the few places on earth where the word bribe has not found common currency. I would transport lorryloads of our councillors to Denmark to learn a few things about management of council affairs. It is in Denmark that local authorities publish expenditure plans and seek public views on how to spend their money. Nor will you see politicos who consider their election to be an opportunity to steal public money. A whiff of civilisation knocks your face when you meet the down to earth officials like the guy who gave us a treat of wine at the Aalborg Town Hall. His name was Lars.

A familair complain of the ordinary Dane is that of diminishing influence. They are right; how do you expect to influence such a huge bureaucracy with so many concerns as the Danish system of government? From the democratic school boards, to the trade unions, cooperatives to elderly homes. Danes are lucky that their system is run by Danes and not Nigerians, Kenyans or Portuguese. And it works only because of the collective determination to make it work because it benefits all. I mean what would they do without it. Yet it could very well be that the huge bureaucracy is the very essence of the welfare state. In which case it is just right and little can be done to reform it. Unless you want to dismember it."
David Makali, Kenya

Foto: MS, Jesper HeldgaardPolitical persons are approachable
"The greatest thing that I noticed which is quite different from our system in Uganda is the fact that political persons in responsible offices such as the mayor and members of the Council who are on the Board are so simple and so approachable that the ordinary citizen feels very free to discuss with them at anytime and at will."
Rita Drania Popo, Uganda 

Why fight?
"It is a political culture in Denmark that one can not decide against the will of the people and yet claim the decision is done in the public interest as it is the situation in many countries in the developing world. In Denmark people do not care about being members of political parties instead they want to hear from parties which one has relevant and responsive programmes to address current problems. Unpopular minister can be taken out of cabinet by majority vote on motion of no confidence from parliament.

Jane Marie a 25-year-old municipal councillor in Odense confirmed that young are not interested in playing a meaningful role in the running of their own affairs.

She said they are three young people elected out of six who contested in the city elections. She believes youth have potential and must be conscientised and encouraged to take active part. She thinks the 56 young people countrywide who are municipal councillors are a clear testimony that Youth can actually make it. Even 18 year old chairperson of the Social Democratic party in Odense admits as Jane did that they aren't typical Danish Youth.

Coming from the different background I have been much interested in seeing how youth organisations are using the fortune of resources they have to empower young people for their active and informed participation in a Democracy. I learned that while in my country the problem is how to have resources to get youth moving in the right direction in terms of developmental politics here the question is for what reason should they fight? They have education they have, social benefits and almost everything so what?"
Sofonea Shale, Lesotho 

"What surprised me: The fact that kindergardens and sports clubs are part of the main stream democracy structures."

Gladys Maseko, Zimbabwe

On voluntary basis
"What was incredible to me was the fact that all these democratic institutions were managed on voluntary basis and every Dane belonged to at least four to five of these voluntary institutions, no matter how old you were you found institutions for yourself, children and adults alike. These institution which formed the bases of development of fundamental democratic culture were run or managed on trasparency, commitment, time management sufficient information to members in form of newsletters which I would term as pillars of democracy."
Rita Drania Popo, Uganda 

Hire a political company
"Danish people are not much interested in politics. Neither the young Dens like to be involved in political activities. There are very minimal numbers of Dens who are members in the political parties. Women representation on political organisations is still negligible in a country, which has a 150-year history of Democracy. If the situation goes this way Denmark may need to hire an out side "political company" to run the government."
Prem Prasad Timsina, Nepal