Former President of Sierra Leone, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, at the Africa Drive for Democracy Elders Retreat held in Tanzania, told African leaders that in order to fight and tackle the sad state of democracy in Africa, they must Confront Challenges that threaten its foundations.

The Africa Drive for Democracy Elders Retreat is an initiative bringing former African Leaders together to discuss the state of African Democracy and find solutions to improve it.

Delivering his speech, he said, “Democracy is not just a system of governance. It is a vehicle of hope, progress and social cohesion. It empowers individuals and communities alike and it gives them a voice and agency in shaping their own destinies.”

Unfortunately, he said the African Continent is witnessing an era where electoral commissions are doing the bidding of incumbents and using state security to suppress opposition supporters.

Moreover, he noted that Legislatures and judiciaries which are supposed to check the excesses of the executive are, in many cases, leading the charge in breaching constitutions to favor undemocratic practices, such as entrenching leaders against the wishes of their people, or use pandemics to their advantage to suppress the opposition and dissenting voices.

As a result of that, he said citizens are experiencing a growing contention between the State and its youth, civil society and the media, all of whom are increasingly being muzzled. He said  these are the source of actions that have in some instances paved the way to the re-emergence of the military in several countries on the continent.

As Leaders, Former President Koroma  advised that inorder to achieve democratic values and tenets, they should work collectively and tackle the issues that is hindrance to it.

“No doubts, democracy is not without obstacles, but together, we must confront the challenges that threaten its very foundations – Poor leadership, ineffective citizenship, poverty, corruption, political polarization, rogue elections, and all their attendant ramifications of social unrest and political instability. It is our collective responsibility, as leaders and advocates, to tackle these issues head-on and work tirelessly to build resilient democracies that leave no one behind,” he stated.

“Let us remember the millions of fellow Africans, who, owing to bad governance, are being pushed away into the hazards of Mediterranean Sea and the hostilities of irregular migration. Let us keep in our thoughts citizens who are routinely forced from their homes, whose livelihoods are destroyed, who are unlawfully incarcerated, wounded and killed by those who are supposed to be the ones to protect them,” he added.

He ended by commending the West African Elders Forum, for giving them the platform to explore solutions, harness their influences thereby paving the way for a future where democracy thrives across the African Continent.