Africa: Act to Grow Democracy in Africa

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At a reception he hosted in Takoradi over the weekend for the local press, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, among other remarks, urged Ghanaians to take critical cue from political situations across the West Africa sub-region and protect their democratic rights and principles.

Mr Bagbin is apparently expressing worry about coups d’état that have erupted in the sub-region, with the latest in Niger.

His remark is akin to the one made by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo immediately after the July 26, 2023 military takeover in Niger when he asked West Africans to reject all forms of military takeovers within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) jurisdiction.

To emphasise his stance, the President said the unconstitutional way of changing governments across the sub-region should not be tolerated and that insecurity in West Africa must come to an end to help drive the needed development.

President Akufo-Addo’s point on democracy and development is captured in a point Mr Bagbin made to the effect that democracy has brought peace, security and development to countries that have adopted it “because that is the only system that ensures sustainable and inclusive governance.”

Honestly, it is often difficult to decipher the intentions of politicians when they make certain remarks or give certain admonitions without mentioning what steps to take to actualise them.

How do Ghanaians in general protect their democratic rights and principles and how do West Africans reject all forms of military takeovers within the ECOWAS jurisdiction?

Are they to take to demonstrations or what?

No doubt, coups are not good and so in this era of globalisation where political leaders are making the efforts to ensure the development of their countries with democratic governance as the tool, coups must be things of the past.

However, those condemning the recent military take-overs in the sub-region must pause and ask the question, “Why are coups failing to die in the West African sub-region?”

It appears Mr Bagbin has given a clue to answer that question by his remark that democracy has not yet sunk into the people and not the practitioners (politicians) either.

He explains that both parties do not understand, appreciate or recognize democracy and so cannot position the democratic institution well, hence “we have seen what is happening around us as a country. We need to take this seriously.”