At the launch of a Ghanaian-based international Political Think Tank, Centre for Democratic Transitions Ghana, the guest speaker, a renowned international diplomat James Victor Gbeho shared his personal concerns on the need for the country having a body to preserve the peaceful transitioning of democratic power.
The centre seeks to among others, offer advice on how to organise transitions from one constitutional government to another, and general public sector reforms.
The centre is also geared towards maximizing transitional experiences in Ghana in regulating shortcomings associated in change of power on the continents.
“The recent history of post independence governance in African countries is replete with instances of violence, civil wars and military take overs all of which has negated social, economic and political development. With time, that era is now happily behind us, as military and other dictatorial government have almost faded out,” he stated.
The breakdown of transitions has been mainly due to a number of factors that African countries, the people and government must accept and own up to as constituting impediments to democratic governance and its transition.
A careful study he explained, on the management of democratic transitions on the continent revealed and with no doubt that the tensions are caused by the antagonisms between ethnic groups. Unfortunately these situations are evident because post independence constitutions did not adequately address the glaring manifestations of ethnocentrism.
He admitted that ethnocentrism and tribalism was not peculiar to African countries alone. He stated that it exists in various forms globally and it was a phase of the development of human society which results to characters mainly for the sake of self-preservation and the avoidance of domination of one tribe by another.
The further explained the difference between the European and African where ethnic sentiments were concerned.
“Where Europeans would choose to be subtle with ethnic sentiments rather than give themselves away, it would give more weight to political considerations in their conversations with africans. If the African is not politically mature he is more likely to resort to ethnic cudgel for his protection and advantage,” he added.
He emphasized greatly on the importance on the need for appropriate education and orientation to avoid these problems.
In case you missed out at the CDT-GH Launch:
“For our purpose in Africa, transitions need to be free, fair and legal as well as devoid of any form of violence. Above all they must be sustainable to ensure a relative enduring peace. In that regard it is a matter of great pride to every citizen of Ghana that our country is a shining example of the successful and democratic transfer of power and it has done so for the last twenty years,” he added.
He further commented that all governors of the center were experienced professionals who have quietly been in the field in all parts of our continents for the better part of two decades. They are eminent lawyers, academicians, politicians, public servants and diplomats who have played important roles in bringing about accepting change on the continent generally.
The center would provide the platform for the free discussions of how Ghana and other African countries can achieve and preserve democratic transitions.
“All studies have confirmed that the future would bring challenges on democracy particularly on the African continent. With the current situation of our current economies which are not able to create enough jobs for the youth, the rapid exponential growth of the population of Africa estimated to hit 1.4billion people in only a decade and a half from now. The movement of the several thousands into the middle income bracket and so on, there are bound to be serious challenges to the democratic agenda in Africa.”
“We have started to see in Ghana and in other countries the result of political thuggery euphemistically dubbed, ‘vigilantism’ and the increasing challenges of the power of electoral commissions on our continent. They must be condemned and dissolved, but if judges and public servants can be chased out of their offices and courts by hoodlums, then it is only a matter of time that they disrupt democratic transitions,” he cautioned.
In his conclusion he disclosed that the work of the new center democratic transitions and other bodies involved in the establishment of democracy in Africa is already cut out for them and he believes with no doubt it would continue to meet the expectation of the international community and Ghanaians.