The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD West Africa) yesterday called for inclusivity as it marked the International Day of Democracy.
It reaffirmed its commitment to the preservation and promotion of democracy and reflected on the challenges democracy faces worldwide.
A statement issued by the director, Idayat Hassan, said this year’s theme, “Empowering the next generation,” highlights the vital role that young people play in advancing democracy and underscores the need to ensure equal opportunities for all to participate in democratic processes.
“As we mark this occasion, we reflect on recent elections in Gabon, Sierra Leone and Nigeria where citizens exercised their right to vote. While these elections are a testament to the enduring spirit of democracy, they were not without their challenges. For example, in Nigeria the opposition went to court to contest the victory of the incumbent party while in Gabon the military seized power claiming irregularities in the electoral process. We hope that these experiences serve as a reminder of the importance of continually improving democratic processes, ensuring that everyone is given equal opportunities to cast their ballots, and that human rights are fully respected.
“Furthermore, as we countdown to the forthcoming election in Liberia, we call on stakeholders to remain resolute in ensuring that the elections are free, fair and with fervent hope that it will embody the core tenets of democratic principles and values, and that the invaluable lessons gleaned from past electoral experiences will help in ensuring these polls are a shining example of inclusivity and transparency.
“When democratic institutions are abused and disregarded, people find other means to seek legitimacy – and they are often unconstitutional, rash, and unsustainable. It is why we use this day to reflect on the challenges to democracy in states that have recently experienced coups – Burkina Faso, Gabon, Guinea, Mali and Niger. These actions have undermined the democratic progress that many in the region have worked tirelessly to achieve. CDD will continue to caution that a military takeover of the political and governance spaces would never be the solution to the challenges facing democratic governance and development on the African continent,” the statement said.