The Africa Participatory Governance Forum (APGF) joins the International Community to mark the 2020 International Day of Democracy on 15 September. On 8 November 2007, a resolution entitled "Support by the United Nations system of efforts of Governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies was adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly. Following a submission of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), it was agreed that 15 September will be the date of the Universal Declaration on Democracy. And on that day, the international community would celebrate each year the International Day of Democracy. The day was instituted on the 20th anniversary of the First International Conference of the New or Restored Democracies, which promoted global democracy.
The preamble of the resolution affirmed that:
…while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region... …democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.
This year’s celebration is taking place at an unprecedented COVID-19 crisis that has prompted major social, political and legal challenges globally. The year is also characterized by a plethora of elections across Africa, which includes presidential, parliamentary and local elections. If for anything at all, these elections offer opportunities to debate beyond political party lines, ethnicity and religious, issues of security, corruption, employment and the state of economy in each country.
Unfortunately, in some of these countries, the leaders are not leaving any stone unturned to erode presidential term limits as well as other democratic checks and balances. These acts constitute recipes for further potential conflicts with direct consequences for stability on the entire continent.
Therefore, it is imperative for the African Union (AU) and the Sub-regional groupings like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to call to order leaders who are manipulating the constitutions of their countries in order perpetrate themselves to power.
It is regrettable to note that the leaders of the Republics of La Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea Conakry have defied all odds to make sure they remain to power regardless the number of people dying in the cause of resisting their maneuvers and other dire consequences of their actions.
Let’s all adhere to the tenets of democracy as a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.
Long live Democracy!
The Executive Director