Good governance, Democracy and Human Rights at all levels are fundamental to economic growth, political stability, human capital development, peace and security. A country cannot be truly democratic, until its citizens have the opportunity to choose their representatives, through free and fair elections. Critical development efforts cannot succeed, without a legitimate and democratically elected government, that is responsive and accountable to its citizens. Free and fair elections play a critical role in political transitions by advancing democratization and encouraging political liberalization. Elections provide important opportunity to advance democratization and encourage political liberalization as well as help build strong democratic principles. The democratic processes would not be complete without free and fair elections. For an election to be free and fair, certain civil liberties, such as the freedoms of speech, association and assembly, are required.
WHAT WE MUST DO
- We must promote peaceful democratic political transformation, that will lead to increased stability, economic growth and prosperity. We must ensure that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. And insist that Government is responsive to the present and future needs of society.
- We must focus on building strong democratic institutions, and systems that promote equity, fairness and equal participation of all; in order to cut the great gulf between men in power viz a viz women and youths.
- We must build an open, responsive, and accountable institutions and processes that serve the needs and preferences of the public.
- We must ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate and have a voice and stake in who governs them and how they will be governed. We must encourage more women and youth’s participation in the political process, closing up the great gulf between the aforementioned group (women and youths) and the older men.
- We must ensure and promote free, transparent and fair political competition, so that citizens’ preferences are represented.
- We must defend and champion citizens’ rights of association and expression, so that they can play a role in their country’s future.
- We must require and demand effective governance from our elected leaders, holding them accountable; while ensuring competitive multi party systems and sustainable community engagements and representations,
It is imperative that, we acknowledge and recognize that democracy and good governance, are critical components of sustainable development and lasting peace. Countries that have ineffective government institutions, rampant corruption and weak rule of law have a 30-to-45 percent higher risk of civil war and higher risk of extreme criminal violence than other developing countries. To help change this narrative, The Center for Innovative and Pragmatic Development Initiative CIPDI integrated programs to push and promote democracy, human rights and good governance throughout our core development work; focusing on strengthening and promoting equity, accountable and transparent governance; and launch an independent and politically active community advocacy. At the same time, we remain committed to fundamental democratic empowerment activities, including supporting free and fair elections, youths and women involvement and participation, up-to-date technology for new and traditional media, as well as the rule of law.
In conclusion, we must tackle poor governance, human rights abuse, inequality, corruption and abuse of power by elected officials. We must champion and promote rule of law, equity, equality, accountability transparency, freedom of speech and expression, freedom to participate in the political and electoral processes. We must work to develop effective legislation, and strong democratic systems and institutions as the foundation of a functioning and successful State.
We can no longer afford to take a back seat in the affairs of our nation. We must take a front row seat, and become participants in the day to day affair of our nation and polity. We must take steps to measure how Government and Public institutions, conduct Government and public affairs as well as manage public resources.
By Ifeanyi Nwanoro
Founder and President Center for Innovative and Pragmatic Development Initiative. (CIPDI)