The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) yesterday in Accra commenced a three-day high level peer exchange forum on the promotion of Interparty Dialogue in Africa.
A fifteen member delegation from Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe as well as their Ghanaian counterparts from the various political groupings in the country were in attendance during the opening ceremony of the symposium.
In her welcome address, Executive Director of IEA, Mrs. Jean Mensa indicated that the forum was to among other things, enable the delegation from Zimbabwe craft a dialogue agenda that will be acceptable to all member parties.
She stated that it was also expected to kick-start the process towards effective interparty dialogue among the political party leaders in Zimbabwe.
The former General Secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Ohene Ntow in a statement observed a deep level of mutual mistrust among political parties on the continent.
According to him, ‘In Ghana, it used to be that if you belong to the NPP and you had a certain level of engagement with a leader or personality of another political party, you could easily be labeled a traitor. That should tell you the level of suspicion and mutual mistrust that exists or existed on our political terrain in most African countries.’
To this end, he called for effective interparty dialogue and collaboration among African political parties to end the mistrust.
Service To State
He pointed out the need for politicians to always understand that they are elected to serve in the best interest of their states and not their parties.
He said ‘We as political leaders must understand that we represent something bigger than ourselves. We represent something bigger than our various political parties. Indeed, we represent the very destiny and future of our societies.’
He commended IEA and other Civil Society groups for continuously providing the platform for political parties to dialogue.
The leader of the Zimbabwean delegation and a member of the ruling Zimbabwe – Zanu PF, Oppah Muchinguri indicated that an atmosphere of mutual trust was significant for the advancement of democracy on the continent.
On his part, Bjorn Forde, Director of the Danish Institute For Parties And Democracy urged political parties in developing countries to rise above petty intra and interparty disputes and forged ahead to bring about tangible developments to their societies.
BY Melvin Tarlue & Felix Kwasi Aboagye
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