Mahama says no threat to democracy in Africa


Mahama has dismissed any form of threat to democracy in Africa and he enjoins people who have excelled in their various professions to join politics in order to raise the bar and ensure that politics is not hijacked by the proverbial dirty people

By Anayo Ezugwu

FORMER President of Ghana, John Mahama, has dismissed the fears in some quarters that democracy is under threat in Africa. Rather, Mahama alluded to the fact that democracy in Africa is maturing and can only get better.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Realnews in Lagos, Mahama said it was not democracy or the electoral process itself, but the attitude of the people. He called on politicians and electorates in the continent to change the “attitude of do or die politics”.

“If you look at our electoral system in Ghana when we started in 1992 and you compare it to now, there have been a marked improvement between 1992 and now. Anytime we conduct election, we identify what the loopholes are and then we do corrections.

“Right now, we are using biometrics registers. We are doing verifications. We have verification machines to be able to tell that this person is actually who he says he is, but he is able to vote. And make sure that we are able to compare the number of people who were verified by the machine and the number of votes in the ballot box. What is left is for the parties to ensure that nobody tampers with the process and that is where the difficulty is because when a party sent tugs to go and scare everybody from polling station and burn the ballot papers and all that. That one is completely out of the electoral process.

“We must let the will of the people express itself even when you have reservations. In the last elections there were few reservations. My party came up with issues about incidence that took place in many areas and all that, but once the will of the people have been expressed I have to abide by the decision and conceded the election. And it is my hope that when the people express their will in 2020, if I do win my successor will also abide by the will of the people,” he said.

Mahama condemned the attitude of some African leaders who wants to remain in power beyond the stipulated period by their respective constitutions. He regretted the ongoing crisis in Guinea over the president’s quest to run for a third term in office. “In Guinea there have been demonstrations and people have died and many others have been injured.

“It is most unfortunate and it is my hope that ECOWAS will get engaged as quickly as possible to try to resolve the matter. My understanding is that there is fear that the president wants to run for a third term and that is what is creating the problem. We have seen a few examples. I was engaged in Burkina Faso when the president wanted to run for a third term and you saw the explosion that took place in the country.

“We were sent to re-stabilise the system and install transition government and then eventually elections were held and Burkina Faso was stabilised again. It is ECOWAS responsibility to engage now and make sure that what happened in other places does not happen in Guinea,” he said.

The former president called on Africans, who have excelled in their businesses to get involved in politics. “I believe that as countries we must get our house together. We have great human resource. If you come to Nigeria, if they do things they try to do it to perfection. You take the films, acts, music, academic thoughts and everything. We should be able to transfer this superiority of thought and action into our politics too.

“When it gets to our politics a lot of people who can serve say that politics is dirty, I don’t want to get involved. If politics is dirty then you leave it to those who are dirty to conduct it for us. That is where leadership is. We have a lot of people in Ghana, who are fine people and great in what they do, but they stay away from politics and they leave it to us politicians.

“I think that more people, who have capacity and who have excelled in what they do should not be afraid of dirtying their hands. Let them come in and up the political discourse because if they don’t come and stay out and say we are leaving it because it is dirty then it lowers their political discourse.

“And that is why we are not making the kind of development that we are expected to make. So let us all get involved in leadership from the local government level right up to the leadership level. And let us bring the kind of creativity we have in other sectors into our politics and we will be successful.”

– Nov. 30, 2019 @ 15:35 GMT |

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