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03.03.2009 Politics

Strengthen institutions to enhance democracy – VC


Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Coast (UCC) Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, on Tuesday urged government to strengthen the various democratic institutions to facilitate the entrenchment of democracy.

She observed that a well consolidated democracy, could help promote human development and also provide the means for people to protect and advance their shared interests, and must therefore be the choice of all nations.

The Vice-Chancellor, made the call in a keynote address at the launch of the celebration of the Faculty of Social Sciences week at the UCC, on the theme “consolidating democracy in Ghana: role of social sciences”.

She mentioned institutions such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Judiciary, Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Electoral Commission (EC) and the mass media, which must be supported to effectively carry out their mandate.

Prof Opoku-Agyemang said these institutions must be allowed to operate with 'free hands until they reach the period of perfection,' adding that “they should as well account for their stewardship from time to time to ensure the promotion of accountability and transparency”.

She noted that the number of democratic nations in the world had multiplied considerably in recent years and that as at 1998, there were about 17 democratic countries on the African continent.

She said Ghana had sustained its democracy from 1992 to date with peaceful transitions from one constitutionally and democratically elected government to another.

The Vice-Chancellor further noted that democratically elected governments were now universally acknowledged because they offered the best prospects for accountable, responsive, peaceful and predictable good governance.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang also charged the Faculty of Social Sciences to intensify its outreach and educational programmes before and after elections with more emphasis on vulnerable groups in society.

She said democracy taught people to learn to accommodate different opinions and tolerated one another in order to minimize pre and post election violence.

The Registrar of the UCC, Mr Isaac Ohene, who launched the programme of activities for the week, praised the Faculty for its outreach programmes on micro-financing in particular.

Activities lined up for the week include public lectures, sports and fun games, debate and exhibition on the Faculty's activities.