General News of Tuesday, 16 August 2016
The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has underscored the importance of how social media can be used to check electoral fraud on the African continent.
Questioning the basis of how Africans vote for candidates, he said it was regrettable that people do not vote on issues but rather “on small favours and nepotism”.
“Voters in Africa don’t vote on issues but on small favours and nepotism… Elections on the continent have been abused and characterized by fraud but with the social media, which provides freedom of speech,” he said, the citizens can express themselves and share information.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II said this Monday when he delivered a lecture in the UK Parliament during the launch of two books authored by two Ghanaians, Ivor Agyeman Duah and Nana Ayebea Clarke.
The books are ‘All The Good Things Around Us: An Anthology of African Short Stories; and May Their Shadows Never Shrink: Wole Soyinka and the Oxford Professorship of Poetry. Otumfuo’s lecture was on the theme: “Africa’s Democratic Path And The Search For Economic Development”.
He urged African electorates to vote on issues as against favours and nepotism, noting that elections are essential ingredients in multi party democracies and that is why 16 countries in Africa are going to the polls this year.
He observed that “challenges in democracy and competitive elections have been [the] abuse of freedom of speech on the continent,” adding that bad leadership and geopolitics have also played part. “Not all changes are good and beneficial,” Otumfuo said, and cited South Sudan and Rwanda as examples of such situation.
Reliance on aid
On the issue of donor support to most African countries by the West, Otumfuo Osei Tutu expressed regrets that many Africans cannot have budgets without the approval of the West due to something he attributed to colonialism. “Some African development partners have been indifferent and used sanctions to perpetuate democratic violence.
The West exploit the people for their own ends,” he observed. Colonisation, he said, is something that has destroyed the foundations of African democracies “because these colonial masters have little regard for African institutions. Their reforms influenced the grants and loans and these have crippled many African economies”.
Weakening African traditions
He said although solid African traditions have supported stable societies on the continent, colonialism has undermined the integrity of the traditional systems. “Rural communities remain loyal to the traditional authorities in spite of modern democratic structures, yet these colonial masters have disregard for these institutions” he observed.
He mentioned the Brexit experience as an example of the stability of the nature of traditional rulers and the role chieftain plays in the midst of political confusion.