Life and selfless disposition of legendary icon, Nelson Mandela, reverberated yesterday, as Save Democracy Group-Africa, SDG-Africa, organised the 2016 Nelson Mandela International Roundtable on Political Development in Africa with the theme: ‘Presidential Constitutional Term Limits and the Future of African Democracy’.
The roundtable which had diverse dignitaries in attendance, reflected on the patriotic legacies of Madiba (as fondly called by his admirers), especially how he struggled for the freedom of South Africa, was incarcerated for 27 years, became president; governed for five years without bitterness and vengeance and voluntarily handed over to a groomed successor.
Keynote speaker, Vice President and Senate President of the Republic of Liberia, Joseph Nyumah Boakai, who eulogised Mandela, described him as ‘revolutionary’ who lived, worked and even suffered for others to live in peace as against ‘rebels’ who kill others to perpetuate self in power.
Boakai, who called for the establishment of a continental framework to enforce constitutional term limits and institutionalisation of peaceful transfer of power in Africa, condemned attempts by leaders to alter constitutional term limits. According to him, “though the constitution may not be the cure of bad governance, but it helps to guide and call government to order.’’
Earlier, in his opening speech, acting Chairman, Governing Council of SDG-Africa, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, said Mandela combined good education with great amount of native intelligence which prepared him for the pathway he took and urged youths to seek formal and informal education, so as to be versatile agents for good governance, transparency and honesty.
On his part, the Director-General, SDG-Africa, Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, assured of the organisation’s determination to make the difference in the promotion of democratic culture and sustainability of democracy in Africa.
He added that SDG-Africa has patriots, consensus builders, statesmen, erudite scholars and reservoir of talents required for cross-breeding and fertilisation of ideas for the enthronement of sustainable democracy in Africa.
The roundtable was organised to immortalise Mandela for the good leadership he bequeathed to his continent on one hand and to remind Africans of the dangers of an emerging trend to the future of democracy in the continent and the urgent need to nip it in the bud.