Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), says most citizens in West Africa feel left out in democracy, as some governments and leaders circumvent constitutions to abuse power.
He urged West African leaders and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to show commitment to upholding democracy in the sub-region and not be complacent about the “few” gains made in the practice.
Professor Prempeh made these remarks on the sidelines of the launch of the West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS) and Conference on Countering
Threats to Democracy in West Africa.
The WADEMOS is a civil society network committed to strengthen and protect democracy in the West African sub-region.
The day of the launch also marks the commemoration of International Day of Democracy by the United Nations.
Professor Prempeh said majority of the citizenry wanted more from democracy and not just in the area of voting and elections.
Most of them, he stressed, were feeling betrayed due to the undemocratic practices of some governments and leaders.
He, therefore, urged West African leaders to uphold the principles of democracy and fairness, including tenure of office.
Professor Prempeh, who is also Project Director of WADEMOS, said the network intended to mobilise and coordinate the region’s pro-democracy CSOs to help stem democratic challenges.
He stressed that they would be complementing the works of governments and regional organisations in this regard.
Dr Abdel Fatau Musah, Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, said the CSOs had a critical role to play in collaboration with regional bodies in sustaining democracy.
“We believe that the network can position itself in building synergies and act as watchdogs on member states,” he added.
He stressed that ECOWAS would continue to strengthen peace and security in the region through the support of its stakeholders. -GNA