The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International Idea) has said democracy in Africa can work and grow if political parties are accountable to the people instead of only working to fulfil individual interests.
International Idea Africa regional director Mustaq Moorad said this in Malawi’s lakeshore district of Mangochi on Friday during the closing of the Initiative for Leadership and Democracy in Africa (Ileda) Academy Training for politicians in the country.
He said: “In politics, accountability to membership is key. We should not only remember our people during elections. For a long time, we have been talking of elections as democracy, but democracy is not only about elections, it needs strong institutions.”
Moorad also said for democracy to work there is need for well functioning political parties.
He also said it was unfortunate that despite many countries having appropriate gender frameworks, these do not exist within political parties.
International Idea is an institution that works in the promotion of governance, democracy and free elections across the global.
Malawi’s former vice-president Justin Malewezi gave a keynote address during the function and called for the country to come up with a new constitution as a way of addressing the many constitutional challenges being faced.
Among several challenges Malewezi pointed out, included failure the never-ending sour relationships between the President and his or her Vice-President; the electoral system; and over reliance on donors even on crucial programmes.
Added Malewezi: “Our first challenge is that we created democracy without creating democrats. We used democracy just to change government but it is the same old people running the affairs. We must become democrats.”
The training drew participants from all the six political parties represented in Parliament and two from outside it.
The 18 participants who graduated on Friday started their training last year.