President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has tasked regional legislators with examining the bloc’s voting processes seriously in order to improve democracy.
He stated that by critically examining electoral systems and procedures, ideas and measures to allow free and fair elections that ensure accountable government and peace in the area will be developed.
President Akufo-Addo stated that recent events in West Africa, notably in Guinea and Mali, have harmed democratic growth and the desire for regional integration, and that a timely solution to strengthen and preserve democratic government in the ECOWAS Community must be found.
The President, speaking at the beginning of a three-day high-level Regional Parliamentary Conference in Winneba, Central Region, on Wednesday, observed that elections in the region are approaching and called on the members to act accordingly.
“The perversion of the sanctity of the ballot carries with it the subversion of good governance. Good governance should and must imperatively exclude political manoeuvres to maintain power beyond constitutional requirements.
“Let us all be aware that, beyond that, the marriage between the elected and the electorate becomes forced, the environment becomes toxic, and the mandate becomes precarious,” he stressed.
The authority of every elected public office bearer is vested in the people, according to president Akufo-Addo, and this can only be properly represented via free, fair, and credible elections.
“That is why having dedicated nearly half a century of my life fighting for the entrenchment of democratic values in Ghana’s body politic, the accession to power by any other means, other than the ballot box, remains, for me, wholly unacceptable, no matter the ostensible justification.
“This viewpoint is strongly affirmed by the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which we all are duty-bound to protect. The Protocol, quite rightly, frowns on shortcuts to power other than through the ballot box.
“Those who claim to have solutions to the myriads of problems confronting our countries should convince the populations to give them the chance, through the ballot box, to put their solutions to work. Sabre-rattling and unorthodox routes to power, as we know from history, do not necessarily produce durable solutions. The solutions of democracies are far more enduring,” the President stressed
The President noted that the strength of any democracy is defined by the legitimacy of its electoral process and respect for the will of the people and that disputed elections have resulted in instability in many parts of Africa.
He emphasized the need for all players in the electoral process to work together to guarantee that there are no lingering concerns about an election’s validity.
“There will always be winners and losers in an election; that is the system of governance we, in West Africa, subscribe to. It is painful enough to lose an election, I can testify to that, but the pain should not come with a suspicion of having been cheated.
The winner should be warmly congratulated and support extended to enable our many problems to be tackled. The winner will then have the peace of mind for the serious business of governance.”
As a result, President Akufo-Addo stated that the Community’s legislative body, the ECOWAS Parliament, must ensure that the principles of direct citizen participation in the election of leaders and the maintenance of electoral systems that capture the genuine will of the people are properly entrenched in the region.
Source: Richard Mensah Adonu | Join our Telegram Group