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Africa needs true democratic leaders – Kofi Annan

By
Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra, Aug.10, GNA – Dr Kofi Atta Annan, the
Former United Nations Secretary-General, has said Africa needs courageous,
persistent and compassionate leaders who would tap into the continent’s
vitality to create a better future.

He said Africa needed true democratic leaders
who understood that they were at the service of their citizens and not the
other way round.

He explained: “Leadership is service, leaders
must understand that they hold power in trust of the people and can also be
taken away.”

“Part of the problem is that many countries
have for too long invested too much power and hope in strong presidents, others
have been misled by leaders who use this augment to prolong their stay in
office indefinitely.”

Dr Annan said this when delivering an address
on the topic: “Leadership and Public Service,” at the Mfantsipim Old Boys
Association’s (MOBA) Fundraising Ceremony, in Accra, on Thursday.

The MOBA annual event known as the “MOBA
Ebusuapanyin’s Lunch” is aimed at creating a platform for discourse on issues
of national interest.

The former UN Secretary-General noted that the
key to the African continent’s ability to chart the turbulent waters ahead
would be the quality of leadership.

He said: “Every year it hurts me to see
thousands of people drowned in the Mediterranean in search of a better life
because they do not think it is possible to have them at home.

“It is profoundly disturbing to see so many
Ghanaians included in the 2017 migrants who attempted to make the dangerous
crossing through sand and sea for a new life in Europe,” he noted.

He, therefore, urged African leaders to
harness the potentials of the youth by strengthening the three pillars of
healthy democratic societies thus, ensuring peace and security, inclusive
development and rule of law as well as respect for human right.

He said these three pillars must be taken
holistically and served as the foundation for Africa’s development agenda.

“A leader must listen…a leader must listen to
what is said… and above all, to what is not said. A good leader must also be a
good follower and when leaders failed to lead, the people will lead and make
them follow, “stated

He said: “We need strong institutions to
buttress our system, we also need to think beyond the State, strong businesses,
strong civil societies to hold government to the promises they make to the
people will just as be important”.

The international diplomat noted that although
some African leaders organised elections but many of those elections lacked
integrity, saying; “elections with integrity confers legitimacy on winners and
offers protection to losers”.

“Many elections have paradoxically exacerbated
identity politics as unscrupulous politicians’ panther to ethnic and religious
grievances and prejudices to mobilise voters in their favour.”

He noted that the African population would
grow to two billion in 2050 and four billion by the end of the century and
added that this democratic boom could be a blessing or a curse depending on the
policies we adopt.

“But the current trends are grounds for
concern.”

He said the youth were getting better educated
more connected and had higher expectations than any previous generation…but
asked…What are their prospects?

Dr Annan explained: “There can be no long term
peace and security without development, and there can be no long term
development without peace and security and no society can prosper without respect
for the rule of law and human right”.

“The African continent development cannot and
will not come from a single leader but from the collective transformation and
change from all the citizenry, each have a role to play as individuals whether
in our family, communities or countries,” he said.

He said we must offer the growing young
population the opportunity for employment and prosperous future rooted in
African values.

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor graced
the occasion as well as some former ministers of state.

The ceremony brought together old mates of the
School who reminisced the good old days.

They shared fond memories of the past,
especially events and activities at school.

One recounted an incident where Dr Annan led
students to stage a strike against the school authorities in protest over poor
meals.

As part of the programme there was an
exhibition and auction of art pieces from Dr Annan’s personal collection, which
captured his work with the UN and activities in countries struck by conflicts
and natural disasters.

GNA

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