The former Secretary General of the United Nations has underscored the importance of democracy as a system of government and has called on Ghanaians not to let the streets takeover the ballot box.
Busumuru Kofi Annan said democracy is not only conducive for economic growth but a prerequisite for Africa’s progress and development.
He made the comment at the 12th edition of the Kronti ne Akwamu Lecture organised by the Centre for Democratic Development.
The lecture themed “Credible and peaceful election; a prerequisite for Africa’s progress” was to discuss teething challenges affecting elections in Africa and to suggest credible ways of solving them as Ghana heads to a nation defining election in November.
The guest speaker Busumuru Annan said Ghana has a “glowing international reputation” on democracy and elections yet there is always a worrying fear of violence amongst Ghanaians anytime they head into elections.
He said elections remain the cornerstone of democracy, and every Ghanaian must contribute towards organising a credible election and an entrenched democracy.
Some critics have questioned the importance of democracy in Africa and have advocated vehemently for an authoritative leadership, but Dr Kofi Annan said “authoritative leadership is a slippery slope towards authoritarianism.”
He argued that democracy is and will remain “the worst form of government except for all the others.”
“Democracy tend to be worse because the media magnify the problems of democracy” adding, in authoritarian regimes, the media cannot speak let alone talk about its weaknesses.
He said democracy is freedom and that alone is development but added the concept of democracy is work in progress, and any criticism will only lead to making the concept of democracy better.
Outlining three key pillars in a democracy, the Nobel peace prize laureate said there is the need to include all persons in the governance process as well as ensure transparency and accountability of leaders at all times.
“Politics is too important to be left to politicians alone,” he stated while reiterating the need for credible elections.
Busumuru Kofi Annan identified key areas the country needs to work on for a peaceful and credible election.
He said there is the need to strengthen the rule of law and to empower professional and independent national bodies tasked with the responsibility to manage the election.
He said the country must make a greater effort to building the institutions who manage the processes for multi-party democracy.
Only this will ensure the legitimacy for winners in the election and provide security for losers, he noted.
The former UN Secretary General called for political equality and the need to fight the incidence of unregulated money in politics which leads to vote buying and bribery by candidates.
He challenged Ghanaians to work towards deepening and sustaining democratic ideals in Ghana, adding with a credible election, it doesn’t matter which party wins the election as long as the country wins.