Ghana president John Dramani Mahama: Democracy works through trial and error

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama says democracy is an integral part of development, whose principles African countries have to rehearse long enough to get maximum benefits and swiftly transform the continent's fledgling economies.

Speaking at the launch of the The Africa Report inaugural debates 2015 in Ghana's capital Accra, Mahama told guests, democracy ensured freedom, respect for human dignity, happiness, and provision of utilities, quality education and good health. However, he said the practice was not perfect anywhere in the world and this should not lead to suggestions it was not working on the African continent.




In democracy the citizens of a nation do more than decide who their leader is and their representatives will be "In fact, Africa has fought and fought, pushed and pulled to get to where it is today, I don't think we've been practising democracy long enough to say that it isn't working," Mahama said. "Every country must do trial and error and allow its democracy to evolve into a system that is representative of that culture. Especially, if we're comparing ourselves to nations that have had democracies for centuries.


"Democracy will never be a perfect system because people will always be imperfect beings. The democracy of the US (United States) is not the same as the democracy of the UK (United Kingdom).




Ghana has flirted with authoritarian, military, transitional civilian and liberal democratic phases since gaining independence in 1957 and experienced diverse economic fortunes. Since adopting democracy in the 1990s, the West African country has experienced mixed economic fortunes. "In democracy the citizens of a nation do more than decide who their leader is and their representatives will be," he said. "They also decide what their priorities in nation building should be." Founder of Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim rejected suggestions for the Africanisation of democracy, saying, "I don't believe there is something called African democracy or African football, we are just normal people." The Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and philanthropist said "the world has moved on, we need to wake up," emphasising the need for African leaders to respect universal human rights. Ethiopian foreign minister, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that whether they embraced African or western democracy, Africans ought to take full ownership of democracy devoid of conditionality or subscriptions. "Even if we make mistakes, it does not matter, we must correct them and move on," he said.


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