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Masisi calls for constitutionalism in African countries

President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has told African leaders that there is a need to counter democratic backsliding and the erosion of constitutionalism across the continent.

Speaking at the summit that was organized by National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) this week in Gaborone, Masisi said the theme of the summit “Constitutionalism and Democratic Consolidation in Africa” provides opportunity for political leaders, civil society activists and academics to bolster and expand emerging networks, showcase efforts to support the respect for constitutional rule across the continent and strengthen political discourse in favor of respecting presidential term limits.

“My firm belief is that this Summit represents our strong partnership to renew and strengthen efforts to respect constitutional term limits as a pillar of democratic governance and peaceful political transitions across our continent,” he said.

He said that Botswana participated in the US led Summit for Democracy back in December 2021 which was hosted by the President of the United States of America, Joseph R. Biden. He noted that the summit was a call to all global leaders to recalibrate their resolve to bolster democracy worldwide, and to defend against authoritarianism, fight corruption, and promote respect for human rights.

“At that Summit, we pledged to fulfil our commitment to cohost this particular Summit focusing primarily on the respect for constitutional term limits, in an effort to strengthen nine international coalition to defend the quality, integrity, and resilience of democracies around the world,” he said.

Masisi also stated that they reiterate commitment to democracy both at home and abroad and fully subscribe to its objective to promote dialogue on consolidation of democracy in Africa. “Recent trends of democratic backsliding across the world, have given greater meaning to this Summit, and we are grateful for our partnership and progress with NDI,”he said.

Masisi indicated that countries that have had relatively peaceful transitions at the end of each electoral cycle have concentrated more time on advancing Socioeconomic upliftment of their people and there is a direct correlation between peace and prosperity. He urged all partners from civil society, media, and private sector, to renew their commitment to reforms, initiatives and new partnerships for democratic renewal.

He said his Government’s commitment to democratic renewal includes; building strong, accountable, inclusive and transparent intuitions rooted on the rule of law; constitutional review; establishing frameworks to celebrate democratic achievements (regionally and globally; continual electoral reforms to enhance women; civil society; and non-state actors’ participation; and sharing lessons, experiences and best practices on the value of democracy to promote sustainable development.

The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit that works to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.
The summit was attended by Dr Festus Gontebanye Mogae- former President of Botswana, Nicephore Soglo – Former President of Benin, Goodluck Jonathan-former President of Nigeria, Mahamadou Issoufou- former President of Niger, Joyce Banda- former President of Malawi, Catherine Samba-Panza- former Interim President of the Central African Republic amongst other international delegates

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