Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said African countries still lag behind the rest of the world in making democracy work for the electorate.
He stated that when leaders encouraged impunity in the conduct of elections, they pushed the aggrieved people to desperate limits.
According to him, this fuels crises and conflicts which is why some African nations are currently in turmoil.
Jonathan spoke in a keynote speech, titled, ‘The need for good governance and peaceful electioneering process in Africa,’ during the African leadership conference, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The conference had the theme, ‘Peace and family.’
According to a statement on Monday, Jonathan also said a leader who truly wished to serve his people would not impose his will on them.
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Jonathan said, “In many African countries, democratic process remains fragile because of leadership struggles among politicians. Such struggles mainly driven by ego do not allow for the deepening of democratic values and the conduct of free and fair elections.
When leaders encourage impunity in the conduct of elections, they push the aggrieved to desperate limits, which fuels crises and conflicts. That is why some African nations are in turmoil today.
“A leader who truly wishes to serve his people will not impose his will on them. Such a leader will not be tempted to manipulate constitutional processes to either repress opposition or extend his tenure.
“Although multiparty elections have become more regular in Africa, we still lag behind the rest of the world in making democracy work for the electorate. The reason for this is the winner-take-all approach to democracy in Africa.”
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Jonathan, who emerged the chairperson of the International Summit Council for Peace, canvassed for the strengthening of democratic institutions in Africa.
ISCP is a body made up of mainly African former leaders, and was inaugurated at the conference.
He stated that the credibility and legitimacy of electoral processes depended on the impartiality and independence of electoral management bodies.
He urged the African Union to set minimum acceptable standards for appointing key members of EMBs on the continent, as a means of boosting citizen confidence in elections.
Jonathan also said that strong family values would build peace and foster development in communities and nations.
He said, “To build a world that will be peaceful and prosperous, we must pay attention to how we are building the family unit. It begins from building the home through very respectable family values.”