Democracy should not be seen as an event – Dr Antwi-Danso
Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, Dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), has stated that going to the ballot every four or five years does not equate to democracy, but rather living by its tenets and working in the supreme interest of the people.
“When we use democracy as an event, it creates confusion. We have a constitution, yet we are not practising constitutionalism because everybody is doing what he or she likes.”
Dr Antwi-Danso made the observation on the occasion of the United Nations (UN) International Day of Democracy in Accra.
The UN has set 15th September in each year to promote and consolidate democracy.
The purpose of the day is to review the state of democracy in the world and to urge member nations of the UN Charter to celebrate and uphold the values of democracy to give citizens the power to make decisions regarding all aspects of their lives.
It is in this light that United Nations Association – Ghana (UNA-GH) joined the rest of the world to observe the day under the theme: “The role of State actors and civil societies in consolidating democracy, human rights and peace”.
Dr Antwi-Danso also citing the cases of Tsatsu Tsikata and Stephen Asamoah Boateng, where the former was arrested in church on a Sunday and the latter at the airport along with his wife, both by the BNI, he wondered why the institution never noticed that their victims had done anything wrong only for a change of government.
Such ‘institutional manipulations’, he said defeated the purpose of the democracy which was to make the state stronger and not a political actor and warned that those manipulations ceased to give way to institutionalism.
Mr Francis-Xavier Sosu, Member of Parliament for Madina and Second Vice Chairman, UNA-GH in his comment, emphasized the need for State Actors and Civil Societies to ensure the preservation of society’s democracy, respects for individual rights and freedoms, and ensure that resources were used in an efficient manner to achieve maximum benefit for the citizenry.
He said though democracy remained the best system of governance for societies and organisations around the world, it thrives because it allows for diversity, tolerance and openness to change.
He however stated that democracy as it was currently practiced in Africa, does not provide for solutions to the complex myriad of problems faced by African societies.
He said the Western type of democracy had failed to develop Africa and its people and as such, it was time for Africa to begin to rethink and take advantage of the value of democracy as were generally known, but necessary to develop a new “African Democracy”.
Bishop Peter Kojo Sackey, President, UNA-GH in his comment, noted that the World Formation of United Nations Association (WFUNA) was the only global organization with the primary mission of supporting the principles and purposes of the UN.
He said WFUNA represents and coordinates membership of over 100 national UNAs and their thousands of constituents.
He said every UN Member State had only one UNA, which must affiliate WFUNA. Having affiliated with WFUNA the UNA-GH has the legitimacy to operate as such.