Ghana’s parliamentarians have been told to be courageous and speak to power in the exercise of their responsibilities in order to defend the country’s democracy.
President of the Senate of Nigeria, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who made the call in Accra on Monday, underscored the need for parliament to take initiative and at the same time stand for the rights of the Ghanaian people.
“We must be courageous; we must be able to speak to power as difficult as it is sometimes. It has its own casualties but we must be able to do that because that is our responsibility. We must be able to take initiatives; we must be able to stand for the rights of our people. To do this we must defend democracy,” he said at a symposium to mark 25 years of parliamentary democracy.
It was on the theme “25 Years of Continuous Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana- Challenges and Prospects”.
Dr. Saraki said the strength of democracy starts with the strength of parliament, hence it is the responsibility of parliamentarians to instill in the public, the principles of participation, transparency and accountability.
“Parliament is a stabilizing force in democracy, especially regards our oversight responsibility,” he said, indicating the beauty of democracy witnessed should spur us on and take it to a different level.
“We’ve seen for ourselves the beauty of democracy since infancy. This should give us inspiration to steer to a level where we can compete favourable with older democracies in the developed world,” he advised.
The president of the Senate said parliamentarians ought to be ready to defend the independence of the legislative arm of government.
To that end, he said “We ourselves must live by example, we ourselves must be accountable, we ourselves must be accountable. We ourselves must be transparent. It is only when we do that, that truly can we provide that leadership”.
He told the parliamentarians “not be complacent” in providing the people of Ghana with effective and responsive governance by listening to them at all times to ensure their needs are met.
Citing recent events in Zimabwe that led to the ousting of President Robert Mugabe, Dr. Saraki said failure of Africa’s parliaments to practice good democracy, would derail the hard earned democracy in the Africa region.