Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Ado, has urged African Governments to strengthen democratic institutions and respect human and minority rights as part of efforts to entrench democracy on the continent.
Akufo-Ado made the call, while presenting a key note address at the inaugural “Flagship Lecture’’ by the Kukah Centre on Thursday in Abuja.
He also advocated religious freedom, empowerment of women, building strong market economy and facilitation of free movement of people, goods and services across member countries to make democracy work in the continent.
The lecture had as its theme; “How to make Democracy work for Africa.’’
“The time has come for Africa to deepen its democracy and to ensure genuine separation of arms of government.
“I must also encourage the African Union (AU) member countries to demonstrate commitment to strengthen and project the institution of democratic governance.
“Our parliaments, the legislative arm of government must grow in their roles as effective machinery for accountability through oversight of their executives.
“Our judiciaries must also inspire confidence in the citizenry so that we can all see the courts as ultimate impartial arbiters when dispute arises.
“It is only when our public institutions are working as they should that we will be able to confront and deal effectively with the cankerworm of corruption which has been the bane of our development.
“Let us make honest assessment of ourselves and situation on the continent,’’ he said.
Akufo-Ado, however, noted that although Africa had come a long way, it should not be taken for granted that everybody had accepted democracy as a preferred way of governance.
“There are those who would rather have authoritarian rule because they claim Africa is under developed and that democracy is cumbersome and we need to get things done in a hurry.
“We still have work to do to convince such people that we are all safer under democracy.
The president said that there was far more self confidence among Africans today than there was in the early days of freedom.
He said that self freedom and principle of democratic accountability had strengthened the determination of Africans to build a new Africa that would not make the continent victim of world order.
The president further called on governments within the continent to ensure that peace and security prevailed in their respective countries.
He noted that the continent still had a great battle to fight in order to provide its people with good standard of living.
“There must be peace and stability on the continent.
“Nothing undermines the prospect of our continent than being known as unstable, and unfortunately, our politics have been the main source of this problem of instability.
“We all have to work hard to establish peace across the continent and put the spectre of instability finally to rest.
“The concerted efforts that are being made to fight the spirit of terrorism represented by Al-shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Jihadist in Mali and the Sahel region are beginning to yield positive results.
“We are now witnessing the systematic degradation of their (terrorists) capabilities,’’ he said, but expressed concern over present political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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