Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said for Ghana and Africa to sustain and consolidate its democratic gains, it is prudent to involve the people in all democratic processes.
“Anytime people feel excluded then there is a threat to democracy and this is the reason why we have to pay attention to education, health, agriculture, financial inclusion, right to information, macro-stability and job creation, which would produce effective and more inclusive development,” he said.
Vice President Bawumia said this when he launched a book titled: “Democracy Works: Rewiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage” at the Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana, in Accra.
The 266-page book was jointly authored by four persons-Dr Greg Mills, the Head of Johannesburg-based Think Tank, Brenthurst Foundation, former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr Jeffrey Herbst, the President of American Jewish University and Mr Tendai Biti, a former Finance Minister of Zimbabwe, sought to explore how Africa could learn to nurture and deepen democracy to enhance her economic growth and political stability.
The event brought together business leaders, academics and civil society organizations, including two of the authors-Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Greg Mills, Chief Executive Officer of Brenthurst Foundation.
In his assessment of the book, Vice President Bawumia averred that before any country adopts any system of government it is prudent to learn from her historical background, socio-economic, political and cultural realities, instead of copying “blindly” from other country’s model of governance.
The Vice President said at the heart of every democracy was self-government, which allowed the people to take decisions regarding who is supposed to govern them.
He said there is the need for African nations to strengthen their democratic institutions to sustain and consolidate democratic culture on the continent.
Drawing on the considerable policy experiences of its four authors, the book identified a ‘democratic playbook’ to meet the threats to free and fair elections on the African continent.
The authors argued that democracy was all about the inner workings of institutions, the rule of law, separation of powers and checks and balances, as well as leadership in government and civil society organizations and ensuring the welfare of the people.
It also provided practical lessons on how African nations could adopt policies from other advanced democracies and the role international observers could play in promoting and consolidating democratic dispensation on the African continent.
Dr Greg, one of the authors, lauded Ghana for being a standard bearer in championing democracy on the African continent, noting that, many African countries look up to Ghana as an example of a model democratic culture.
He said the book provided useful information and practical experiences on how Africa could harness its resources for socio-economic development.
Dr Greg lauded the government of Ghana’s agenda of moving “Ghana Beyond Aid”, noting that such fresh direction was crucial in accelerating national development.
He said practising democracy did not necessarily guaranteed success but made it more likely to develop because it promoted the rule of law, human rights, the participation of the people in decision-making processes, ensured checks and balance and independent state institutions.
Touching on elections in Africa, Dr Greg said it is prudent to adopt sophisticated machinery in the conduct of elections, maintaining long-term relations with the electorate and ensuring credible source of funding for elections.
“Whether you’re in government or opposition, democrats have to work really hard to win elections, saying “it will be idiotic to cheat on an election day,” he said.
Dr Greg said a survey conducted by democratic institutions in Africa showed that two-thirds of the people preferred democracy on the continent than any other system of government.
Professor Gyimah-Boadi, the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Afrobarometer Network, who presided over the programme, said the book provided principles about liberal democracy such as transparent and accountable governance, rule of law and inclusive development in the African society and recommended it to students and all academic institutions.
Interested readers could purchase copies of the book at the offices of CDD-Ghana and Amazon.com, an online trading platform.