Feature Article of Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Columnist: Mohammed, Shani

Ghana’s Democracy Has Come Of Age

The entire world is watching with great admiration the matured process put in place to elect political leaders to run the affairs of the West African nation. Since 1992 when the country resolved to adopt multi-party democracy after two decades of military dictatorship, we have seen successive transfer of power between political parties without rancor, acrimony and bloodshed, projecting Ghana as a model and enviable democracy in the African continent.

One may be tempted to erroneously conceive that Ghana is polarized due to politics but democracy is all about differences in opinions and citizens participating in one way or another in the process and undoubtedly the country is thriving in this regard. Although people belong to different political parties of their choice and ideologies, but trust me, Ghanaians always rally together as one nation with a common vision and destiny whenever a national disaster strikes.

Over the past several years, the country has done an incredible job of developing its democratic institutions (the electoral commission, the media commission, the civic education commission, the judicial commission, etc.) which are neutral, impartial and nonpartisan. The conviction we have in these institutions has resulted in the success of our democracy to date. Our religious leaders have also contributed enormously in our success story with unrelenting prayers and sensitizing their congregations of good behavior. The just ended IEA presidential debates have further enhanced our democratic principles. In light of the above, we have been hailed globally as a beacon of peace and democracy in the volatile region of sub-Saharan Africa. It came as no surprise when president Obama told reporters that Ghana has established a strong tradition of democracy and continues to be a “good news story” after meeting with the late professor Mills in the oval office early this year.

With barely two weeks for Ghanaians to go back to the polls to elect the 5th president of the Republic, the radar is on us and yet again our democratic dispensation is call to test. The whole world will be in close surveillance and I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that we will rise up to this great task, display maturity as usual and shine again.

As we count down to December 7, we need to remind ourselves that Ghana is bigger than any individual or political party. That any individual who is qualified has a shot in any leadership position provided he/she play by the rules. We have come a long way as a nation and will not allow any individual or group of persons to subvert this process due to their parochial and selfish interest. Our aspiring leaders should know best the appropriate institutions to seek for redress if the election results do not favor them and they have evidence of electoral malpractices. Taking to arms and resorting to violence by putting innocent citizens’ lives to harm’s way must never be an option. God has indeed blessed our country Ghana and it behooves on us to make her greater and stronger.

As the first black African country to gain independence from European colonial rule, let’s continue to be the role model that we are in the democratization of Africa. Let’s continue to be the pacesetters, mentors to encourage other African countries to come to our shores to learn from us by conducting peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections. Long live Ghana.

Shani Mohammed (Stone) Atlanta, U.S.A.