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EU hails Ghana’s democratic credentials

By Iddi
Yire/Godfred Ansah, GNA

Accra, July 6, GNA – Mr Stavros Lambrinidis,
the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, has lauded Ghana’s
democratic credentials.

He said Ghana’s democratic experiment, which
had so well often been cited as a model democracy for Africa and the rest of
the world was worth emulating.

“I believe rightly so. Ghana has a very
vibrant civil society that comports itself very well and a very vibrant press,”
Mr Lambrinidis gave the commendation in during a European Union – Civil Society
Forum in Accra.

The forum, which was on the theme: “Civil
Society, A Strategic Partner for Stability and Governance in Ghana,” was
attended by leading think tanks in the country.

Among the dignitaries, which graced the
occasion were Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, the Minister of National Security and Mr
William Hanna, the European Union Ambassador.

The representatives of the civil society
organisations (CSOs), who took part in the day’s forum include Dr Franklin
Oduro, the Head of Research and Programmes and Deputy Director of the Centre
for Democratic Development – Ghana; Professor Ransford Gyampo, a senior
lecturer at the Political Science Department, University of Ghana, and a
Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA); and Ms Daphine
Lariba Nabila, Executive Director, Legal Resources Centre (LRC).

The rest are Madam Abigail Edem Hunu of Women
in Law and Development in Africa (WIDAF), Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, the
Associate Executive Director of Wacam; Mrs Mary Awelana Addah, the Programmes
Manager of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and Sheikh Areemeyaw Shaibu of the
Office of the National Chief Imam.

Mr Lambrinidis noted that the effective
collaboration between the Government and the media would go a long way to
benefit all Ghanaians.

“This is inspiring, but this is not to say
that Ghana is the paradise for human rights. Europe is neither. But it is to
say in order to be able to have best practices we need open consultation,
co-operation monitoring and criticisms,” he stated.

He called for the strengthening of CSOs in
Ghana to enable them play the roles effectively in the nation’s socio-economic
development.

On democracy and elections, Mr Lambrinidis
said: “I have been to many countries in the world in the world, where the
impression was that democracy ends with the ballot box. So we go, we vote,
someone gets selected and someone gets all the power and in many four-five
years we have another election but in between our democracy ended with the
voting.”

He explained that democracy did not end at the
ballot box, but rather should be consolidated after the elections.

Mr Kan-Dapaah called for the strengthening of
state accountability institutions such as the Office of the Auditor General’s
Department and the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice.

He said CSOs were in the best place to play
their roles as watch dogs of democracy, because they did not depend on
government for funding.

He urged them to be proactive in the discharge
of their responsibilities and to expose all wrongdoings and corruption in
government.

Mr Hanna said the forum was held to enable the
participants learn about the role of CSOs in deepening Ghana’s democratic
dispensations and human rights.

GNA

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