Professor Kwame Karikari, the Dean of School of Communication Studies, Wisconsin University-Ghana, has called on African leaders to help gravitate the relevance of the African Union and position it as the bastion of democracy and human rights.
He said although the over half century old Organisation possessed a strong mandate to sanitise governments activities and guarantee citizens’ rights, the AU had little bearing on the local population, thus the need for stakeholders including the media to help “awaken consciences on the institutions and their roles”.
Professor Karikari made the call in Accra when he took a section of journalists through a two day capacity building workshop on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), and the African Governance Architecture (AGA), both guided by the objectives and principles enshrined in the Constitutive Act of the Union.
He said knowledge of the institutions was necessary to maintain the powers of the Union, and activate people to resist attempts by governments to devalue the processes of its courts and institutions.
He said AU Day must be used to promote the Union with the media creating more space for democratic issues as well as others that would bring the Union to the fore.
Professor Karikari urged the media to help enhance the development of the continent and devise “more civilised methods in dealing with challenges of democracy in Africa”.
“Government is not a perfect machinery. It requires constant shaping, a responsibility that requires strong media activity, therefore, media professionals must not initiate violence, but provide opportunities for constructive criticism”, he said.
The workshop was organised by ActionAid Ghana under its “Mobilising civil society support for the implementation of the African Governance Architecture” with support from the European Commission, and benefited journalists drawn from Greater Accra, Brong Ahafo, Upper East, and Volta Regions.
Mrs Margret Brew, Advocacy and Campaign Manager, ActionAid Ghana, said the aim of the event was to promote effective reporting on ACDEG, and AGA, and increase awareness and demand implementation of policies in the country.