Mr Stephen Harper, 22nd Prime Minister of Canada, says the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is arguably the freest and most democratic society in Africa.
He explained that the NPP had enhanced the concept of free elections, rule of law, market orient to grow and Continental free trade in Africa.
“Since the advent of the fourth republic, Ghana has become a different and very kind of model for Africa one more in keeping with the international model of freedom and justice.
“Ghana is a safer, progressive and increasingly prosperous free democratic party under the NPP in particular,” he said.
Mr Harper said this at a public lecture held in Accra by the Young Democrat Union of Africa (YDUA) themed: “Democracy and Geo-Politics: A Global Perspective on the Changing Dynamics of International Order.”
He said political parties were the core infrastructure of democracy, as, without political parties, democracy was just a theory; adding that strong political parties turn broader into teams and turn ideas into platforms and policies and the NPP was doing just that.
“Any vibrant democracy has a strong centre-right party that is a strong party of conservatism which is arguably democracies of the philosophy,” he said.
Mr Harper, who is also the Chairman of the International Democratic Union (IDU), said the organisation of the IDU and
YDUA were vital in the development of political parties around the world.
He said Ghana was keeping the kind of law that IDU was founded on to defend and promote.
“The event by YDUA is one example of revitalisation of the Democratic Union Africa (DUA) that has been witnessed over the past seven years and Ghana’s role in that revitalisation and the world should not be a surprise that Ghana is playing a leading role in Africa,” he said.
According to Prime Minister Harper, as the first country to achieve independence in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana had served as an African Model since the days of Dr Kwame Nkurmah, Ghana’s First Prime Minister.
He admitted that the theory of democracy had come under question in recent years due to technological and social changes, importantly the internet, smartphones and social media which had brought forth the true complexity of political opinion society.
“Also, consistent mistakes in public policy in western countries in recent years depriving working and middle-class citizens of some of the opportunities of previous generations,” he said.
Mr Harper noted that the challenges of a democratic society were small and significantly they could be corrected through public debates, real changes in government and public policy.
“Indeed, we are on the path of change and what will be key if society produces a new generation of leaders. Leaders who will adopt the right and true values of conservative public policy and the challenges of our era,” he said.
He, therefore, challenged African leaders to rejuvenate the youth to sustain the challenges and be free when times get tough and that challenges would be big, however, a free and democratic society was what ordinary people wanted given the choice.
Madam Louisa Atta-Agyemang, President of YDUA, said despite various failed regimes, the centre-right tradition had led Ghana for over two decades.
She said it had given time and room to build a series of tools that provided education, knowledge and information for crucial development and urged leaders to be reminded that their next political decision would affect the poor and marginalised in society.
“Let us be guided, let us remember that we have a continent to build with clear political dimensions,” she said.
She advocated that the centre-right politics was the best alternative to building Africa.
Dr Holger Dix, Director of the Regional Programme Political Dialogue for Sub-Sahara Africa, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, said the centre-right was currently under threat following Ukraine and Russia’s instability and that was exposing many threats to Africa, especially when Europe and Africa’s relations would also be put to the test.
Dr Dix said the dialogue was timely to discuss the ongoing political conversation with and within Africa.
Mrs Akosua Frema Opare-Osei, Chief of Staff, Office of the President, said the NPP was making sure IDU values were passed on to the next generation of leaders through YDUA. “With this, the capacity of African youth in democracy and the rule of law is built through a reference point as this lecture is serving,” she said.
Mr Henry Nana Boakye, National Youth Organiser, NPP, called for youth capacity building to shape the global conversation of the youth.
He pledged NPP’s continued commitment to playing an advocacy role toward a successful democratic process.
Mr John Boadu, General Secretary, NPP and the Deputy Chairman, DUA, lauded organisers for the theme said democracy and centre-right policies were at the heart of the union.
Economic inequalities, young people’s participation in politics and the older generation mentoring the youth to lead were some of the leading discussions that the open forum centred around.
A youth Conference for members, an engagement with former President John Agyekum Kufour and stakeholders meeting with the Institute of Economic Affairs were some of the activities that preceded the lecture.
Participants came from Ghana, Tanzania, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Morocco and Uganda.
The others were, Togo, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, and Namibia among others.
Citations were presented to Mrs Opare -Osei and Mr Harper for their efficient and effective leadership roles in their endeavours in an event that was supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the NPP.
YDUA is an alliance of centre-right political parties in Africa. Founded in Dakar, Senegal, in 1997, it is affiliated with the global IDU.
It has the primary aim of bringing together parties with similar objectives and political goals, such as the protection of democracy and individual liberty, from the whole of Africa, with its headquarters being found in Accra, Ghana.