President Akufo-Addo has called on the membership of the ECOWAS Parliament to speak against the extension of presidential term limits by some leaders to strengthen their grip on power.
According to him, these actions tend to result in discontent amongst the populace, which further creates fertile grounds on which military interventions disingenuously feed.
He revealed that adherence to this will ensure that the community doesn’t give up when it comes to guaranteeing the democratic integrity of their respective countries, “where we should have governance systems based on the separation of powers, which are free from corruption, and are respectful of the rule of law, individual liberties, human rights, the principles of democratic accountability and social justice”.
Addressing the 2nd Ecowas Parliamentary Seminar, in Winneba, on the theme, ‘Challenges Relating to Unconstitutional Changes of Government and Presidential Term Limits in West Africa – Role of the ECOWAS Parliament’, the President charged them to propose measures to ensure the anchoring of democratic and republican values, both at the level of political elites and citizens of the Community.
He emphasized that this would help towards preserving the peace and stability of the region.
“Any attempt at the manipulation of opinion and of the rules of the democratic game for partisan political ends always leads to a loss of legitimacy, which is reflected in the social tensions it creates…”President Akufo-Addo
Furthermore, President Akufo-Addo stated that it is also important to remind the ECOWAS that democracy is not a western concept, but, rather, a universal concept of general application.
To this end, he requested the August house to ensure there is no backsliding in support for democratic values anchored on the promotion of the rule of law and respect for human rights.
“And when the coups do happen, we must insist on the shortest period of the transition process, especially in the Sahel, where the military, having tasted power, appear reluctant to restore democratic rule.”President Akufo-Addo
Democracy in danger
Moreover, the President noted that the history of the world, including that of Africa, testifies that the process of electing and installing leaders in democratic circumstances provides the best form of governance.
He highlighted that the great British wartime leader, Winston Spencer Churchill once stated that “democracy is the worst form of governance, except for all the others”.
“Modern history has taught us that tyranny, oppression, and totalitarian government do not last long. No matter how a people apparently reject democracy and civil liberty, circumstances would always force them back to embrace them.”President Akufo-Addo
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo charged members of the Parliament of ECOWAS to find solutions to the emerging re-militarization of governance, the attempted confiscation of democracy by elites and the wanton desire to destroy democracy by terrorist groups and armed criminal gangs in the region.
Stating what he described as three serious threats to democracy in the region, President Akufo-Addo noted that “democracy in West Africa is in danger”.
Thus, he explained that the regional fraternity “must work even harder to entrench the principles of democratic accountability in the citizenry”.