By Kodjo Adams, GNA
Accra, Jan 15, GNA - Professor Michael Ayitey Tagoe, the Dean of Continuing and Distance Education, University of Ghana, has stated that, the country needs strong institutions with responsible citizens to consolidate democratic governance.
Prof Tagoe, who is also the Acting Provost, College of Education, University of Ghana, said the country could not have strong institutions when those who were tasked to enforce regulations are corrupt.
The Professor said this in Accra at the opening session of the 70th Annual New Year School and Conference on the theme “Building Strong Institutions for Democratic Consolidation in Ghana”.
The Conference is organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education of the University of Ghana.
He said the theme was critical because democratic consolidation was necessary to the preservation of democratic institutions and sustainable development.
“Strong institutions contribute to citizen’s well-being because they protect citizens, check corruption, provide access to justice and ensure fair distribution of basic services and resources,” he added.
Prof Tagoe said strong institutions encompasses robust legal frameworks, an accountable and transparent executive, a parliament with a strong capacity for oversight, efficient security services and a judiciary that upholds the rule of law.
He said although the country’s Fourth Republic had been stable and appeared to be on the path to strengthening democracy, there were still many visible and subtle threats to the country’s democratic values.
He said the country continued to experience spates of ethnic, political and domestic violence, adding that, peace was a prerequisite for democratic consolidation, as no nation can be developed effectively in an environment of insecurity.
He called for effective institutions to ensure that violence in any form was condemned and that perpetrators are appropriately punished.
The Professor said another threat to the country’s democracy was corruption because it undermined the sanctity of democratic consolidation, as it eroded the foundation of trust that individuals had in political leadership and institutions.
“Corruption becomes a barrier to sustainable development when resources are mismanaged and funds diverted into private use. Development will suffer if, as a country, we spend the majority of our time, resources and efforts dealing with issues of violence and corruption,” he added.
Prof Tagoe said the theme was based on the relevance of Sustainable Development Goal 16 to the country’s socio-economic development, which enjoins governments ‘to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.’
He encouraged policy-makers to prioritise education programmes aimed at educating adults or the citizens to uphold the provisions of the country’s constitution and adopt traits that would contribute to building the strong institutions necessary for democratic consolidation.
A speech read on behalf of Prof Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana, said the New Year School and Conference, provided a platform for stakeholders to share ideas on national issues and discuss solutions to the nation’s challenges.
He stressed that weak institutions lead to the erosion of democratic dividends, which negatively affect the growth of the country and eventually lead to the cessation of democratic rule.
Prof Owusu said the University would continue to make efforts to help build stronger institutions of the country’s human capital development.
“The University will continue to champion the country’s democratic credential and contribute its quota to the training of new breed of leaders as well as the establishment and sustenance of effective institutions”.