Good governance is vital for democracy - conference

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- African leaders have been reminded that the sustenance of democracy and constitutional rule depends on good governance.
This was the message at the end of a three-day international conference on the military in West Africa and options for constitutional and democratic control.
The participants noted that the vital message that ran through the statements of coup makers in the sub-region was mainly on the accusation of the civilian administration of bad governance, which they sought to redress through military interventions.
The conference, organised by Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA), was attended by parliamentarians, academicians, politicians, leaders of civil society, diplomats and retired military officers.
West Africa has been rocked by a series of military coups and bloody civil wars since Togo's President Gnassingbe Eyadema ousted President Sylvanus Olympio in 1963.
The participants urged governments to be more accountable, transparent in administration, engage in constructive and realistic dialogue with the military as well as to re-orient the professionals from colonial structures.
The gathering also said there is a need to bridge the gap between the military and civil society that often led to suspicion, mistrust and the relegation of the military to the background.
It also called for the introduction of political education in military institutions to understand the intricacies of democratic rule.
The conference cited a situation whereby soldiers mistook heated parliamentary debates between the majority and minority MPs as national crises which needed an intervention.
The conference advised governments to "keep soldiers busy" by engaging them in realistic constructive ventures.
The participants also cautioned the military not to be allowed to be used as "a tool of instability" of democratic order.
The participants said civilian politicians and civil society should learn to "support the ballot box and nothing else in the attempt to gain political power and consolidate it.

18 june 2001 12:03:00

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