All over the world, 15th September marks the celebration of the International Day of Democracy.
The International Day of Democracy was instituted in 2007 through a resolution passed by the then UN General Assembly, which is celebrated by all UN member states. The day motivates Governments to review democracy within their respective countries and look towards strengthening the same for inclusiveness. The theme for this year is ‘Participation’.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 21(3); which underpins what democracy is, states: “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”
In Ghana, the preamble of the 1992 Constitution refers to “…the Principle that all powers of Government spring from the Sovereign Will of the people; the Principle of Universal Adult Suffrage…” and Article 1 also states that the power of Ghana “ resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised in the manner and within the limits laid down in this Constitution.”
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on this International Day of Democracy, reminds Ghanaians that democracy in Ghana is a two-way street based on a continuous discourse between the citizens of Ghana and the political sphere. Both sides must take on active roles in shaping the development of the country.
Further, Governments must respect citizens' right to voice their opinions and take into consideration their views. Likewise, citizens must exercise their right to participate in the governance of the country; be it voting in elections, reporting cases of corruption to law enforcement agencies, or demanding accountability from duty bearers among others.
On the occasion of the 2019 International Day of Democracy, let us as a country take the opportunity to work together for the betterment of our country.
It is ‘My Ghana, Your Ghana, Our Ghana’.