Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings says the primary challenge of emerging democracies in Africa is the failure of the West to acknowledge the inherent flaws in its system of democracy.
The former President said that challenge had led to the situation where there is no encouragement of home grown democracy, which is dynamic and imbued with the socio-cultural backgrounds of individual African states.
President Rawlings also spoke against the canker of corruption noting that there is a culture of profiting from wrongful action and warned that if the cycle does not change “our democracy will continue to remain vulnerable and fragile.”
The former President said: “Our societies are borne out of a strong traditional political framework of monarchies that wielded both spiritual and political power as well as judicial authority. Many of these societies still look up to traditional authority for moral fortitude while our ‘imported’ democratic and secular leadership is seen unfortunately as synonymous to immorality and corruption. With such perceptions how do we expect our emerging democracies to evolve?”
Delivering the keynote address on Monday at a conference on Emerging Democracies in Africa, organised by the Nigeria National Institute of Legislative Studies in Abuja, Nigeria, President Rawlings said democracy should provide the political stability for development.
President Rawlings said: “A democracy that cannot protect the sanctity of its electoral process is engaging in a fraudulent electoral coup d’état.”
Equally destructive, he added, “is the unfortunate practice of using money to buy the conscience of the electorate.”
The two-day conference has brought together statesmen, parliamentarians, civil society, the academia, development partners and critical stakeholders across the globe to explore the different dimensions of threats and challenges as well as opportunities that confront emerging democracies.
|From: Office of J.J Rawlings|