Ghana’s Democracy is Stable but Fragile - Dr. Akwetey

The Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey has described Ghana’s Democracy as “stable but fragile”.   “Ours has been stable one but events leading up to the election can determine whether the elections will be peaceful or not”.   Dr. Akwetey who was delivering a lecture at the Advancement Lecture Series at the University of Cape Coast, said Ghana after six successful elections Ghana has gained an upgrade in recognition as “Africa’s matured democracy”.   Speaking on the theme “Towards Credible 2016 Elections: The Role of Stakeholders in Ensuring Free, Fair, Transparent and Violent-Free Elections”. The Executive Director of IDEG said the country’s credential in elections was a contradiction because there was fear of violence, lack of trust in the system and the electorates do not believe in the results. That, he said could lead to the collapse of the system.   “It is not uncommon to hear some citizens saying they will not vote in the up-coming elections because they do not see improvement in their lives since there has not been any significant change voting in previous elections. But Dr. Akwetey warned that such attitudes do not help in building democracies. “Hope no one will say I’m not voting. Your civic responsibility is to vote, do not abstain because you have the chance once in every four years, if not you have to wait for another four years before you can do so”.   Dr. Akwetey described the current system of governance as a “system of exclusion” where after every election the system closes up and those in opposition were excluded from governance of the nation. “There is the need to look at the system and change the politics. It is not the executive or DCE who should control but the law”.   Touching on inequality in the system, he said about 60% of the populace were dissatisfied with public service, which meant that elected officials were not addressing their needs.   Dr. Akwetey said even though Ghana was a multiparty state, it was frightening that the system had now become a “duopoly” and called for the behaviour of the two main parties to be checked to prevent any problems in future. This phenomenon Dr. Akwetey said was creating the situation where the people do not believe in the electoral process saying “The more our system becomes transparent, the less we believe in the outcome. Our system is more transparent than many African countries, but because the people do not know what is been done to correct the wrongs in the process, the people do not want to believe in it”.   Dr. Akwetey warned that attention should not be focused on the time of election alone but rather it should be on events after the elections since that could be more dangerous. To this end, he urged Ghanaians to be interested in whatever was done at the collation centres after the counting at the polling stations.   A Legal Practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini said if disputes about elections were not dealt with early there could be troubles with the process. However, Samson Lardy Anyenini who was the lead discussant indicated that with the assurance of the judiciary to deal expeditiously with electoral disputes brought before it, he believed that, there could not be any postponement in the December elections.