President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has admonished Ghanaians to live by the dictates of the national pledge to defend Ghana’s democracy to ensure that every citizen irrespective of their religion, beliefs, or creed, lives in conditions of freedom and democracy.
In a special address to the nation to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Ghana’s democracy, the president quoted from Winston Churchill’s famous dictum: “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried,” to eulogize the significance of democracy in Ghana’s socio-economic development.
The president said the country has gone through several phases and forms of governance until the adoption of the 1992 Constitution thirty years ago and all can attest to the benefits it had had on the development of the nation.
“We have held elections that were not free and fair, we’ve had constitutional regimes without limitations placed on executive power, we’ve had rule of law without the rule of law, and we’ve lived under a number of military dictatorships and realized we needed democracy. And so, our determination to live under the conditions of freedom and democracy birthed the approval of the 1992 Constitution by an overwhelming margin in a referendum with over 3 million persons voting to approve it.”
He said the country’s thirty-year journey has made Ghana an example for many other countries across the African continent.
“Our country is considered the beacon of democracy and stability in Africa where the respect for the principles of democratic accountability, human rights, and the rule of law has enabled us to oversee eight elections in the Fourth Republic with five presidential transitions and three peaceful transfers of power through the ballot from one party to another and we have every right to be proud of this record.”
He went on to praise the Electoral Commission for its invaluable role in organizing elections which is largely the foundation of the country’s democracy.
“I acknowledge that the strength of any democracy is very much determined by the credibility of its electoral process and respect for the will of the people, and we cannot overlook the fact that instability followed disputed elections in many parts of the [African] continent and that is why we must all continue to urge the Electoral Commission to work to ensure all stakeholders in the electoral process do not have lingering questions about the legitimacy of an election.”
He further advised Ghanaians not to lose sight of the fact that there may be some autocratic elements among the population that will want to disrupt the years of democracy and peace the country has enjoyed under the 1992 Constitution.
“We’ve come a long way, and we should not take it for granted that everybody in Ghana has accepted democracy as the preferred mode of governance. There are those that would rather have authoritarian rule because they claim our country is underdeveloped and democracy is cumbersome and that we need to get things done in a hurry.”