Samia touts grievances redress

…Details what democracy entails

DEMOCRACY could as well, become a pipe dream should African leaders fail to deliver essential public services to the people, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has said.

Dr Samia further urged fellow leaders to address the deficiencies in democratic governance.

“Now, unless and until African governments address the deficiencies in democratic governance and deliver essential public services to the people, democracy will remain an aspiration, never to be meaningfully realised,” the president posed, while officiating the Africa Drive for Democracy Elders’ Retreat, on Monday.

Dr Samia insisted that there is no alternative to democracy as a prerequisite to achieve sustainable development and strong economic growth for African countries.

“This is because democracy is closely associated with peace, social stability and rapid socio economic development,” she explained.

According to Dr Samia, the failure by governments to deliver essential public goods has increased grievances and turmoil in some parts of the continent.

She observed that some neglect has also prompted members of the society to challenge and undermine government authorities by establishing systems that violently express the will of the people.

“They include activists, terror groups, protesters; all these have cropped out of non-delivery of basic social services,” she noted.

According to the Head of State, for democracy to be meaningful, it needs to translate into improved public services and livelihoods of Africans.

Dr Samia further pointed out that African leaders would have committed grave mistakes should they leave behind a continent which is war torn, run unruly by leadership deeply entrenched in poverty with high levels of corruption.

To avoid such a path, President Samia underscored the importance of coming up with several initiatives that will make Africa a better place for everyone, saying Tanzania was committed to such a cause.

She told delegates gathered at four-day Africa Drive for Democracy Elders’ Retreat and conference that Tanzania bore witness to the value of democratic rule, which is achieved through strong constitutional foundations and an active political culture.

Dr Samia further challenged fellow leaders to create a society that will enable the citizenry participate in the management of public affairs, as stipulated under Article 13 of the African charter and democracy, elections and governance.

Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights states: Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government of his country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Organised by the Centre for Strategic Litigation, MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation and the Institute for Security Studies, the retreat aims to foster deeper reflection on the escalating threats to democracy.

It was attended by representatives from over 45 African nations, including former Heads of State, scholars and political movement leaders; the event will draw upon their wealth of experiences in democratic governance and together will explore practical strategies to ensure that democracy fulfills its promises while safeguarding the continent from authoritarian regression.

The ensuing Africa Drive for Democracy Annual conference, which is slated to open tomorrow to Friday, will then build on the inaugural conference and aims to once again provide a platform for participants to critically assess the progress and challenges in achieving democratic governance on the continent in the midst of multiple crises.

This year’s theme focuses on the role of social movements in promoting democracy on the continent.

The main thrust of the conference is to take stock of the state of democracy on the continent, highlight and celebrate the achievements of the African democratic movement, learn from the challenges encountered and craft forward-looking approaches towards promoting vibrant and tolerant democracies.

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