Going to the polls every four or five years does not equate to democracy, but living by its tenets and working in the supreme interest of the people, says Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, the Dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC).
“When we use democracy as an event, it creates confusion. We have a constitution, yet we are not practicing constitutionalism because everybody is doing what he or she likes,” he said.
He was addressing the United Nations Association – Ghana (UN-Ghana) in Accra yesterday to observe the UN International Day of Democracy.
The day, September 15, has been set aside by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2007 to raise awareness on the need to promote and uphold the principles of democracy.
Using the Tsatsu Tsikata and Stephen Asamoah Boateng where the former was arrested in church on a Sunday and the latter at the airport along his wife, both by the BNI, Dr Antwi-Danso wondered why the institution never noticed that their victims had done something wrong until a change of government.
Such ‘institutional manipulations,’ he said defeated the purpose of democracy which was to make the state stronger and not a political actor; and urged that those manipulations ceased to give way to institutionalism.
For his part, Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis Xavier Sosu, cautioned that if the Democratic practice in Africa did not change, the people, through the military, would continue to take back the power given to civilians.
In his view, the western type of democracy had not worked for “us” hence the myriad of challenges the continent was still confronted with.
“Democracy is rule by the will of the people so if citizens cannot trust democratic institutions to deliver their obligations with integrity, it leads to instability. And if these institutions fail to serve the interest of the people, the people will take the power by force,” he said.
With the continent shifting away from the 1980s where it was replete with coups, the phenomenon seems to be rearing its ugly head in West Africa, particularly, with at least three military take-overs in one year; Guinea being the latest.
Citing these examples which include Mali and Niger, Mr Sosu said it was time Africa developed it’s democracy that encompassed a new awareness and orientation guided by African values and norms of communities to address the unique challenges of the continent and its people.
The Secretary General of the newly sworn in nine-member United Nations Association – Ghana, Nene A. Aklobeto I, said his administration would work assiduously to attain the goal of the UN – to maintain international peace and security.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI