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I’ll hand over power peacefully in 2025 … President pledges, challenges fellow W/A leaders to do same

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President Nana Addo Dank­wa Akufo-Addo has pledged to hand over power peacefully in 2025 in line with the country’s dem­ocratic system that limits presidential terms to two.

He said he would not make any substantial modification to electoral laws in the last six months to the next election nor be an impediment to the conduct of a free and fair election in the country. Speaking at the opening of the 2nd Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum in Accra yesterday, he has rallied his fellow presidents in West Africa to also take the pledge as they continue to promote democracy and governance in their respective countries and the region at large.

“I am pleased to reaffirm before you my unshakable belief in the principles of democratic accountability that con­stitutes the basics of good governance in our member states.

“As President of Ghana and the current chair of the Authority of Heads of States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and governments, I intend to continue to re­spect the tenets of ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo’s pledge comes at a time some African pres­idents are amending their country’s constitution to extend their presidential terms, leading to chaos in those coun­tries.

Instituted in 2019 by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) and the Kofi Annan Foundation, as tribute to the late for­mer United Nations Secretary-General, the annual two-day forum is a platform to discuss issues of peace and security on the continent.

This edition scheduled earlier for last year, is on the theme: “Democracy and governance in the contest of complex crises in West Africa and coincides with 20 years since the ECOWAS adopted its protocol on democracy and good governance to promote peace in the region.”

Participants and speakers include Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, ECOWAS Special Envoy to Guinea; Former Pres­ident John A Kufuor; Former Libe­rian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; representatives of African Union and ECOWAS and other regional bodies, heads of security agencies; politicians and academics.

Touting Ghana’s 29 years of democ­racy and its accolade as the beacon of peace in Africa, President Akufo-Addo said the country had held eight elec­tions, five presidential transitions out of which three were from one party to another. He said the country would want to be seen as a positive influence for countries facing challenges with democracy.

He said after two decades of demo­cratic elections in the region, member states continue to struggle with democ­racy, reminding the current generation of their duty to the next generation to consolidate peace and security by safeguarding the integrity of electoral process.

Expressing concern about the secu­rity situation in the region and political situation in Guinea and Mali, he said ECOWAS would continue to work to­wards addressing these challenges while Ghana would leverage its membership of the UN Security Council for the peace of Africa because the economic growth of the continent was hinged on peace and security.

A Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the AU and Head of UN Office to the AU, Hanna Tetteh, said the pursuit of peace and security on the continent should not be limited to slogans but, more action and commitment should be invested, promising that the UN would play its part to support.

The Commandant of the KAIPTC, Major General Francis Ofori, noted that democracy was declining in the region and called for urgent steps to be taken to protect the peace in the region.

Board Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, Elhadj As Say, said it would collaborate with KAIPTC to support efforts to protect peace in the region as desired by the late Kofi Annan.

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