Stakeholders advocate deepening of democratic norms

Stakeholders in governance have advocated for the deepening of democratic norms which includes the rule of law, equity, inclusiveness, building confidence in the governance system and ensuring equal opportunities for the citizenry.

They also advocated strong, efficient, effective institutional structures to deepen democratic processes and restore citizens’ trust in the various arms of government.

The stakeholders stressed on the need to live up to the accolade of being a beacon of hope in terms of democratic governance and sustenance in Africa.

Some of the stakeholders who spoke were Dr Emmanuel Bombande, Senior Mediation Advisor to the United Nations; Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC); Akwasi Adjei, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Ms Lisbeth Pilegaard, the Executive Director, DIPD and Dr Lawrencia Agyepong, a Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism,

They advocated at a roundtable on ‘Sustaining Democracy in the Context of Erosion- Lessons from Europe and Africa’, organised by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), in collaboration with the Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana), and the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD), in Accra.

Dr Bombande said the increasing violence that had characterised the country’s elections, in recent times, was worrying as it undermined the progress of democratic practice.

He attributed the phenomenon to lack of political will to equip and empower institutions responsible for educating and sensitising the populace on violence-free elections, to take control of their organisations and acquire resources to deliver on their mandate.

Mr Nketia noted that among challenges affecting democratic practice was lack of capacity to build public institutions to effectively and efficiently perform their checks and balance roles.

“The manner in which persons elected into the highest office become dictators and autocratic, thereby manipulating and controlling state actors and institutions, is hindering Africa’s governance systems and economies, and Ghana is not an exception.

“Africa has gone through coups, union governments, party politics and finally to multiparty democracy, which has been widely accepted as the best option, however, democracy is not a destination in itself but must be nurtured and built upon to ensure sustenance and restore confidence, especially in the youth,” Mr Nketia intimated.

Mr Adjei indicated that the current system of governance seemed to empower any elected leader to marginalise the citizenry, even if they had capacity to contribute meaningfully to the wellbeing of the State and called for review of the 1992 Constitution to allow everybody, including traditional authorities, to participate in the governance system to strengthen democratic principles of the state.

Ms Pilegaard observed that there could not be democratic rule when sections of society felt excluded, all must be supported and assisted especially women and the youth, to participate effectively and efficiently in democratic governance to erase perception of exclusion.

Dr Agyepong, a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, cautioned that the internal political party wrangling being witnessed in the country recently, was troubling hence the leadership must ensure governance structures worked to build confidence in citizens. -GNA

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