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05.03.2005 General News

Ghana's democratic process getting better with time- US Professor

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Cape Coast, Mar. 5, GNA - Professor Larry Diamond, a senior fellow of the Stanford University, in the United States on Friday, described Ghana as one of the best countries in Africa, which is practising "real democracy and experiencing good governance". According to him, elections in the country are also getting better over the years.
Prof. Diamond stated these at Cape Coast, at a public lecture on the theme: "Promoting Real Democratic Reform in Africa", organised by the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy, in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
Lecturers, tutors and students of second cycle and tertiary institutions, as well as some members of the general public attended it. Prof. Diamond stressed that real democracy and good governance were attainable only when, political parties, civil societies and other democratic institutions worked seriously to towards their achievement.
He pointed out that the lack of democracy and good governance in Africa in the last three decades was responsible for the continent's under -development, and not due to lack of resources, and that meaningful and sustainable development thrived in countries where there is real democracy and good governance.
In this regard, he tasked African governments to ensure the prevalence of free, fair, peaceful and transparent elections in their countries, emphasising that, a level playing field must be provided for all political parties, to promote real democratic reform.
Prof. Diamond observed that "some degree of funding" for political parties, and the existence of the rule of law, freedom of expression and association, would go a long way to sustain real democracy.
He expressed concern over corruption in some African countries and asked governments to ensure that public officials and political appointees declare their assets every year and made available for public scrutiny.
Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Adow Obeng, Vice-Chancellor of the UCC, in a welcoming address read for him, noted that, in the late 1980's and early 1990's African countries were bedevilled with dictatorships in both military and civilian regimes.
Real democracy was therefore, non-existent in many of the African countries during the period, and peoples' right to free expression and other rights were trampled upon, he said.
Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, Omanhene of the Oguaa Traditional Area, who presided, urged the government to evolve measures to ensure that public officials and political appointees lived within their means.