Commit to democratic values: Speaker urges world leaders
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has called on world leaders, particularly African politicians, to commit themselves to the principles and values of democracy to bring peace to the world.
He said democracy was in crisis across the world today due to an upsurge in terrorism, conflicts and military takeovers.
He cited, for instance, how the United States of America, a beacon of democracy, was experiencing an upsurge in terrorism with concerns over the Russian-Ukraine conflict, tension along the Korean peninsula and coups d’etat in the sub-region.
“So, we are getting the usual triangular axis of a world war and we need to rededicate and commit ourselves to the principles and values of democracy to be able to bring peace to the world,” he stated.
Interacting with the press ahead of Ghana’s hosting of the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Accra, Mr Bagbin said, “Without peace, there can be no development.
“If we right the wrongs, nobody will be risking a life to go and overthrow another person who is well-armed. The military themselves suffer more than the civilian population during military regimes as lots of them lose their lives and even after the takeover, the suspicion and the mistrust grow,” he said.
The conference, which will take place at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra from September 30 to October 6, 2023, will be on the theme: “The Commonwealth Charter 10 years on: Values and principles for Parliaments to uphold”.
It is billed to attract 700 delegates, including Speakers and Presiding Officers, parliamentarians, Clerks-to-Parliaments, parliamentary staff and key stakeholders in the parliamentary governance sector.
It will be held under the patronage of the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Bagbin, who doubles as the President of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the President of the Ghana Branch of the Association.
Speed up reforms
The Speaker said leaders, political leaders in particular, had to take the diverse disturbances plaguing the world seriously and see how they could speed up reforms to make people have trust and confidence in their leadership.
He also expressed worry that the solution to curbing disturbances to democratic regimes was not only within the domain of politicians but all stakeholders.
“The media’s role is not to report what is taking place but you are also, with your competences and capacities, to make input so that we can all educate our men and women about democratic rights.
“We are not just moving towards democratic consolidation but we are also talking about entrenchment of the democratic practices and principles so that they become like a culture for people to willingly conduct themselves,” he said.
Relevance of CPA
Sharing his thoughts on the relevance of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr Bagbin said the association was still very relevant to peace and promotion of democracy globally.
He said it was for that reason member states wanted to ensure that “we are truly equal, inclusive, participatory, and we are people-focused organisation”.
Touching on the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the country, the Speaker said Ghana was definitely seen as one of the stars of democratic dispensation in the sub-region.
In spite of the challenges facing the country, he said the other African nationals were “still looking up to Ghana”.
“The air of freedom that we breathe here, in spite of the challenges, when other African citizens come or land here, they see us as one of the stars,” he said.
Mr Bagbin added that: “And so, when you see the recent uprising or revolution, please do not take it that people want undemocratic regimes.
“It is just because of the conduct of so-called democratic regimes, that is what is leading to the upheavals,” he said.