Subversion of democracy can become pandemic in West Africa

Accra,- The subversion of basic democratic tenets by some political actors in the West African sub-region can afflict ‘influential’ democracies on the continent, Major General Francis Ofori, Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), has noted.

He said the recent successive coup d’états in Mali and Guinea, among others, were indicative of the decline of the state of democracy in the region and must be watched.

“If the situation is not confronted with the seriousness it deserves, it can embolden some political systems to intensify their practices and engage in ever more brazen attempts to distort the workings of democracies,” he said at the opening of the Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum in Accra, on Wednesday.

It was organised by the KAIPTC in collaboration with the Kofi Annan Foundation from Geneva.

The Forum assembled political leaders, diplomats, and experts for policy dialogue on evolving trends in peace and security on the continent.

Maj. Gen. Ofori, noted that despite the limitations inherent in Africa’s political transitions since the 1990s, several countries had made the difficult transition from full-blown military/civilian authoritarian regimes to various shades of multiparty democracies.

Those expectations, he said, may have been short-lived as some states and people on the continent were yet to experience the benefits of consolidated democracy and good governance.

“The decline in democracy is manifested by a clamp down on civil liberties in such instances, which pose a threat to the stability and security of the region.

“…From our bespoke research, we understand that the authority and credibility of regional institutions in enforcing the norms and values on democracy and good governance are increasingly being questioned,” he said.

Mr Daniel Krull, German Ambassador to Ghana, urged ECOWAS leaders to respect the agreed-on term limits in office to promote peace and security in the region.

“Leaders play to the rules so when rules are agreed, they have to be implemented,” he said.

Mr Krull commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his skilful leadership as Chairman of ECOWAS and urged the Community to continuously dialogue with political actors in countries facing democratic challenges to forestall escalation of the problem.

Madam Ingrid Mollestad, Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, called for the active involvement of women in the democratic and peace-building process.

She said women constituted about half of the population and for that matter, should be offered the opportunity to fully participate in activities to promote peace and security on the continent.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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