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17.10.2008 General News

Democracy Strategy Document Launched

Central University College (CUC) Chancellor, Rev Dr Mensa Otabil, has challenged politicians in Ghana, to demonstrate to the global community that they can work for the common good of the country.

Launching the first Democracy Consolidation Strategy paper in Accra, he said, “All of us can respect one another's views for the good of the country if we show decency in all that we do as politicians.”

The Democracy Consolidation Strategy Paper (DCSP), an initiative of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Ghana Political Parties Programme, is a comprehensive document that analyses the gaps and shortcomings of the country's democratic practice since the inception of the 1992 Constitution.

It proposes practical reforms in the micro-political environment, examining the constitution itself, the political parties and the electoral system.

It also examines the governance agenda of the country covering decentralisation, anti-corruption, human rights, media independence, the role of women and the youth in governance, as well as the legislative framework for governance involving how to make Parliament effective, judicial independence and the justice system and civil society participation in public policy formulation, implementation and monitoring.

Rev Otabil, who is also the General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), said for politicians to go about their duties in a decent manner, they must first have a high regard of themselves and extend that to others, stressing that “a viable democratic culture should be dependent on decency”.

He described the DCSP as a positive signal to Ghanaian politicians that they could, indeed, work together to uplift the people.

The President of the IEA, Dr Charles Mensa, likened Ghana's democracy to a car driving well but added that there was the need to look into the future and anticipate challenges so that if any occurred it could be fixed without any problem.

He said the DCSP sought to address the deficiencies in Ghana's democratic practice since the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution on January 7, 1993 and propose practical reforms.

He urged political parties to commit themselves to the recommendations and facilitate the implementation of those recommendations.

He said Ghana needed to develop and entrench its democracy and described the DCSP as a document which would contribute to stabilise and grow democracy in the country.

He called for a constitutional review conference to discuss the issues raised in the document, adding that such a review should include contributions from a constitutional body with broad membership.

The Executive Director of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), Mr Roel von Meijenfedlt, noted that though Ghana's elections had coincided with that of the US, Ghana's was still of interest to a number of European countries.

He said it was their anticipation that Ghana would once again show the way and lead young democracies in the sub-region that Africa could organise free, fair and peaceful elections.

He said democracy and development went together and commended Ghanaian politicians for engaging in regular dialogue, all in the interest of the nation.

He said political parties were a key link between institutions of state and civil society and called for every effort to be made to keep that link intact.

Story by Kobby Asmah