EU hails Ghana’s democratic credentials

MR Stavros Lambrinidis

Mr  Stavros Lambrinidis

Mr Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, has lauded Ghana’s democratic credentials.

He said Ghana’s democratic experiment, which had so well often been cited as a model democracy for Africa and the rest of the world was worth emulating.

“I believe rightly so. Ghana has a very vibrant civil society that comports itself very well and a very vibrant press,” Mr Lambrinidis gave the commendation during a European Union – civil society forum in Accra.

The forum, which was on the theme: “Civil Society, A Strategic Partner for Stability and Governance in Ghana,” was attended by leading think tanks in the country.

Mr Lambrinidis noted that the effective collaboration between the government and the media would go a long way to benefit all Ghanaians.

“This is inspiring, but this is not to say that Ghana is the paradise for human rights. Europe is neither.

“It is to say in order to be able to have best practices we need open consultation, co-operation monitoring and criticisms,” he stated.

Mr Lambrinidis called for the strengthening of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Ghana to enable them to play the roles effectively in the nation’s socio-economic development.

On democracy and elections, he noted: “I have been to many countries in the world, where the impression was that democracy ends with the ballot box.

“So we go, we vote, someone gets selected and someone gets all the power and in many four-five years we have another election but in between our democracy ended with the voting.”

He explained that democracy did not end at the ballot box, but rather should be consolidated after the elections.

Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of National Security, called for the strengthening of state accountability institutions such as the office of the Auditor-General’s Department and the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice.

He said CSOs were in the best place to play their roles as watch dogs of democracy, because they did not depend on government for funding.

He urged them to be proactive in the discharge of their responsibilities and to expose all wrongdoings and corruption in government.

Mr William Hanna, European Union Ambassador to Ghana, said the forum was held to enable the participants learn about the role of CSOs in deepening Ghana’s democratic dispensations and human rights. -GNA


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