The WADEMOS Network recognizes the efforts by democracy actors, defenders, activists, and the rest of the world as we mark this year’s International Day of Democracy. We solidarize with people across the globe in the hope of living in a world of unity, peace, and prosperity.
It is reassuring to know that this hope remains alive in a world that continues to strive for democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. It presents an opportune occasion for us all to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made by people from all walks of life in service and defense of freedom, justice, and equality.
As we celebrate this day, we attest to the challenges confronting democracy at all levels of governance—global, regional, and national. As a network focused on building democratic resilience in West Africa, we are highly concerned about the spread of insecurity with the proliferation of jihadist insurgencies and the resurgence of unconstitutional changes in government in the sub-region. It remains crucial for all stakeholders to collaborate and work together to collectively reverse these challenges and enhance the safety and security of the sub-region, especially for young people.
In line with the theme for this year’s International Day of Democracy, “Empowering the Next Generation”, we would like to remind the sub-region and the world that the struggle for democracy remains a worthy cause and a valuable legacy that must be passed on to the younger generations to enable them to meet their aspirations. Young people must be encouraged and supported with the right policies and institutions to use their skills and energy in service of humanity and in defense of justice, equality, and democracy.
Afrobarometer survey suggests a worrisome trend of young people increasingly expressing disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the prevailing quality of democracy offered by governments on the continent and the world over. Hence, it is the duty of society and the state to ensure development policies and programs are inclusive, sustainable, and, most importantly, intergenerational. Society must instill in them pro-democracy values and norms that would enable them to contribute meaningfully and positively to their communities and engage them constructively in decision-making at all levels.
As we commemorate #InternationalDemocracyDay, let us remain committed to the ideals of freedom, dignity of all persons, and the prospect of a better quality of governance across the world.