African leaders must raise critical issues affecting continent at US summit —Dr Kwesi Jonah
African leaders participating in the upcoming second summit for Democracy in the United State, must seriously consider the broader geopolitical context of the forum to make informed decisions and contributions, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), DrKwesi Jonah has said.
“They must set out to put issues that are relevant to the needs of the continent. Even though America is hosting this conference supposedly because of democracy, I think given the particular geopolitical context in which we find ourselves this conference is about more than democracy.”
He said other powerful countries in Asia and Europe had been on a charm offensive trying to get African countries to denounce the current global order in which there is American dominance, hence the need for African leaders to make the right decisions and choices that would benefit the continent.
Dr Jonah was speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times ahead of the summit, which will be co-hosted with the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Zambia.
The event slated for March 28-30, 2023 will assemble world leaders in a virtual, plenary format, followed by gatherings in each of the co-hosted countries with representatives from government, civil society, and the private sector.
Dr Jonah who is also a former lecturer at the University of Ghana said he believed there were critical issues bothering Africa that needed to be heard at such a forum, for the necessary assistance from the west.
He said there was a backward movement of democracy on the continent of Africa, adding that “this is reflected in three key areas, firstly coup d’état, secondly removal of presidential term limits and finally the political dividend of democracy.”
“I believe the participating African leaders at this summit should look at these three key areas and push for a refreshing state of democracy on the continent. Recent cases of political instability and coup d’état happening on the continent is alarming and very worrying, from Sudan, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Mali among others.”
Dr Jonah said for many young people in Africa, democracy as in the electionof representatives into parliament, electing a president and enjoying constitutional rights, among others, were all good but the expectations and the hope of the young people were that with the institution of democracy on the continent, there would be better economic prospects.
“For these young people, they expect to graduate from school to meet jobs waiting for them, but unfortunately our democracy has become a jobless democracy.”
Dr Jonah noted that “the economic prospect for young people on the continent was becoming increasingly difficult and in recent times as one can see by Ghana’s own situation, the economic situation has deteriorated so very bad.Ghana is not alone, so many African countries find themselves in this dilemma, Zambia is worse and so for the young people, democracy and better economic prospects have not matched hand in hand.”
Asked if there was any perfect democracy being practiced in the world, he said “there is nothing like a perfect democracy in the world, democracy even in the so-called advanced countries, there is still room for improvement, but the good thing about the advance democracy is that they themselves know that their democracy should be constantly improved, there should be more liberties to citizens amongst others.”
BY Raymond Ackumey