President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on the membership of the ECOWAS Parliament to speak against the extension of presidential term limits by some leaders to strengthen their grip on power.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “these actions tend to result in discontent amongst the populace, which create fertile grounds on which military interventions disingenuously feed.”
Adherence to this, he said, will ensure that we don’t “give up when it comes to guaranteeing the democratic integrity of our respective countries, where we should have governance systems based on the separation of powers, which are free from corruption, and are respectful of the rule of law, individual liberties, human rights, the principles of democratic accountability and social justice.”
President Akufo-Addo was addressing the 2nd Ecowas Parliamentary Seminar, in Winneba, on Friday, 29th September, 2023, under the theme, “Challenges Relating to Unconstitutional Changes of Government and Presidential Term Limits in West Africa – Role of the ECOWAS Parliament.”
Based on the theme, the President charged them to “propose measures to ensure the anchoring of democratic and republican values, both at the level of political elites and citizens of the Community. This would help towards preserving the peace and stability of the region.”
He suggested that “any attempt at the manipulation of opinion and of the rules of the democratic game for partisan political ends always leads to a loss of legitimacy, which is reflected in the social tensions it creates.”
Continuing, he stated that, “the attempted confiscation of democracy by elites, who engage, through legal antics, in the manipulation of constitutional rules and the subjugation of the institutions of the Republic with the sole aim of remaining in power.”
He opined further that, “it is also important to remind us that democracy is not, as some would have us believe, a western concept, but, rather, a universal concept of general application,” and asked the August house to ensure there is “no backsliding in support for democratic values anchored on the promotion of the rule of law and respect for human rights. And when the coups do happen, we must insist on the shortest period of the transition process, especially in the Sahel, where the military, having tasted power, appear reluctant to restore democratic rule.”
“The history of the world, including that of Africa, testifies that the process of electing and installing leaders in democratic circumstances provides the best form of governance. The great British wartime leader, Winston Spencer Churchill, it was who said “democracy is the worst form of governance, except for all the others”. Modern history has taught us that tyranny, oppression, and totalitarian government do not last long. No matter how a people apparently reject democracy and civil liberty, circumstances would always force them back to embrace them,” he added.
Concluding, he said, “out of duty towards our children and grandchildren, we must not give up when it comes to guaranteeing the democratic integrity of our respective countries, where we should have governance systems based on the separation of powers, which are free from corruption, and are respectful of the rule of law, individual liberties, human rights, the principles of democratic accountability and social justice.”