The 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, has said that �after many years of experiments, the Ghanaian people have come to accept that living under democratic accountability, backed strongly by the rule of law is the best way for Ghana's forward movement and a sure road to prosperity.�
Speaking to an international audience in Berlin, Germany , last Tuesday, the Nana Addo stated, �anybody who has had the opportunity to visit Ghana, especially during election periods, will readily testify to the enthusiasm and passion that the Ghanaian people have for the democratic exercise.�
The NPP Flagberaer who was addressing the �Africa Conference 2011� as Keynote Speaker, in Berlin, Germany, spoke on the theme: �Africa's Role Model? Democracy and Elections in Ghana�.
In reference to high accolade that the theme of the conference gave to his country, the leader of the main opposition party said, �being a proud Ghanaian, I am happy to accept the challenge and recognition that my country has won for herself the role model status in this twin regard of democracy and elections in Africa.�
However, he underlined, �it would be hypocritical and dishonest for anyone to try and paint the picture as though Ghana has become a paradise� because of democracy.
�There still remains serious social, economic and political concerns that need to be addressed in the country in the times ahead,� he said.
The NPP flagbearer reiterated his strong belief that �this is the generation that Africa finally breaks free from the artificial chains of under-development that has sapped the creative energies of earlier generations and dealt a psychological blow to our appreciation of our own strengths, value and potential and with the active encouragement and engagement of the African people, Africa's greatness shall be realised in this century, in this generation and in our life time.�
Nana Addo narrowed the expectations of Africans from their democratically elected leaders to two basic issues.
He said, �the task ahead for democracy in Africa is two-fold: (i) to keep improving the integrity of our electoral process; and (ii) to use the democratic platform to create a society of aspirations and opportunities for every citizen, regardless of social background.�
He stressed, �it is, therefore, extremely important that we have, in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa, a trusted electoral process, where elections will be regarded as reasonably credible, free and fair, even by the losing side, and to ensure that the results of future elections in the country are trusted and accepted, Ghana is in the process of employing the use of a biometric voter register for the 2012 elections and hopefully in 2016, the use of a better and safer voting system through electronic voting.�
To him, Ghana's status as Africa's role model is still �an ongoing process that requires eternal vigilance, relentless support from all and a regular enhancement of both the intrinsic and extrinsic elements and benefits of democracy.�
Nana Addo stated, �what Ghana has done so far is to lay the foundation for achieving that much desired social and economic transformation, as people who are capable of choosing their leaders through the ballot, capable of organising governments in a modern manner and also as free people who can express their views on public matters without fear of a knock on their doors at night and these have all been made possible because of a systematic enhancement of our electoral processes,� qualifying the progress made so far with the words, �there is still a lot to be done in that regard.�
He stated the obvious that Ghana's enviable position in Africa as an emerging oil-rich, democratic nation has upped the stakes and called on the international community to take a stronger interest in the 2012 general elections, which he stressed must be credible, transparent, peaceful, free and fair.
�The stakes for power in Ghana have been heightened by the discovery of oil in substantial quantities and the leader who will emerge out of next year's elections will have a much bigger basket with which to address the problems of the nation and with this rise in the stakes, it is absolutely critical that the right architecture for our elections are fully established for a free, fair and transparent election so that the results will be readily acceptable.�
He said �we must do everything to avoid a crisis or anything of the sort in Ghana and therefore we must complete all the necessary processes required to conduct a modern, free, fair and transparent election acceptable to all.�
Contributing to a panel discussion after his speech, Nana Addo added that �the Ghanaian people are determined to pursue the path of democratic accountability to its fullest length and I have no doubt in my mind that Ghana can build a modern civilisation where people govern themselves on modern principles of accountability and transparency and where also there is a concerted effort to improve the living standards of the mass of our people.�
Nana Akufo-Addo said, �the Fourth Republic, which started in 1992, is the longest serving republic in Ghana's history and the long period of stability has obviously made it possible for Ghana to have a much better approach to its economic and social development.�
He said, two decades of interrupted democracy, while promoting a vibrant and sometimes fierce political competition, have also �enhanced the unity and cohesion of our country with the Ghanaian people accepting that irrespective of our ethnic, regional or religious persuasions, we are all indeed part of one body politic.�
On his part, Dr. Dr. Joseph Diescho of the University of South Africa commended Nana Akufo-Addo for the manner in which he and the NPP conducted themselves in the elections of 2008.
He said not calling for a recount, but rather accepting readily the result of an election that was so close, especially when the total number of spoilt ballots was more than the number of votes that separated the two leading parties, was most commendable continued...