Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas  — African Union High Representative for Silencing the Guns
Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas — African Union High Representative for Silencing the Guns

Ensure outcome of 2024 election reflects wishes of people - Dr Chambas urges EC

The African Union High Representative for Silencing the Guns, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has stated that transparent and credible elections are prerequisites to ensuring smooth political succession and leadership change.

Therefore, he said, every effort must be made by the Electoral Commission (EC) and other stakeholders to ensure that the outcome of the 2024 election reflected the wishes of the people.

“The people’s choice must be determined at polling stations, not in courtrooms.

 This would be a pathway to stemming the spate of coup d’états on the continent,” Dr Chambas further stressed.

He was delivering a lecture on the topic: “Empowering citizens, enriching nation building: fostering active citizenship for sustainable development in Ghana".

It is part of the STAR-Ghana Foundation (SGF) third Annual Active Citizenship Lecture in Accra last Friday.

The lecture was in commemoration of the SGF’s fifth anniversary.

Citizens’ participation

The International Civil Servant, who has served in various capacities at the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), further stated that as part of efforts to ensure mass participation in governance and promote accountability, it was important to guarantee every citizen a voice in the decision-making process.

To achieve this, he said, “We must establish platforms for open dialogue where ideas, concerns and aspirations can be freely expressed.

Civic organisations, community gatherings and participatory governance mechanisms play a vital role in achieving this goal.”

Dr Chambas called on the government to create avenues for citizens to collaborate with policymakers, fostering a sense of shared responsibility in the nation-building process.

In that regard, he suggested the development of new systems that leverage technology and other means to allow broad participation of the people in governance at all levels, that is local, regional and national levels.

Additionally, he explained, regional and continental bodies must encourage participation by the people, including processes of policy formulation and accountability to lead us to an ECOWAS and Africa of the people, not of governments.

He stressed the need for active citizenship in rigorously monitoring the operations of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs), security agencies and non-state armed groups.

Dr Chambas said Ghana’s population was predominantly made up of the youth and women.

“Many studies have shown how this could be a boom or a bane.

 Indeed, some even talk of a youthquake if appropriate policies are not put in place to harness the full potential of the youth.

Significant investments must be made to empower the youth and women and give them space in the development process.

 In this way we can harness their energies, skills and capabilities for the rapid transformation of Ghana,” the AU High Representative indicated.

He argued that “empowering citizens is not merely a slogan; it is a fundamental pillar of a thriving democracy.

When individuals are educated, engaged and aware of their rights and responsibilities, they become active participants in the development of their nation.”

Positive mindset

Dr Chambas further stated that creating a positive mindset and attitude was responsible for the outcomes of all development efforts.

“What people perceive about themselves and the external environment influence to a great extent what they can achieve for themselves.

The mind is like the software on your phone.

Without it, the hardware cannot achieve anything,” he suggested. 

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