The former President of Mozambique, Joachim Chissano has urged opposition candidates of political parties in Africa to collaborate with incumbents by proffering alternative programmes that seek to improve the living standard of the people.
He stressed that their alternative development agenda “is the best way to prove that they have ideas to rule if they are elected and given the mandate to govern in future”.
The former President was speaking to TV3’s Zakaria Abdul-Kadiri, in an exclusive interview in Tamale after his lectures as a guest speaker at the University for Development Studies (UDS) of the third Annual Lectures of ‘African Leadership Lectures Series.
He regretted that opposition presidential candidates rather want incumbents “to commit mistakes to lose power, which is not good because if they commit mistakes you are only doing badly to your people.”
Speaking about incumbents, Dr. Chissano advised them to be transparent in all their development programmes adding that they should visit and talk to the people to know their problems and should not make decisions for them without their input or participation.
He said in this way, the people “will value and appreciate what they do for them.”
The Former President applauded Ghana for her democracy credentials pointing out that the country is a shining example in the world stressing the days of “taking arms to change governments is now a thing of the past”.
He said even though elections may be tough due to claims of irregularities “democracy is not an already made system, thus efforts must be made to ” perfect it all the time”
He commended Kenya and Ghana for using legal means to solve their election-related differences.
Touching on the recent Nigerian election, Dr. Chissano commended President Goodluck Jonathan for conceding defeat before official results were announced, and congratulated his opponent Gen. Mahamadu Buhari who emerged the winner of the presidential election adding that the act should be emulated by candidates.
He said, “some people thought there would have been mayhem and chaos if the election were declared in favor of one candidate, but Nigeria proved such people wrong.”
Dr. Chissano advised African leaders seeking elections to respect and accept the outcome of elections, saying that “the officers in charge of elections are like referees and their decisions should be respected.”
The University for Development Studies conferred on Dr. Chissano a doctorate degree of the Letters category.
Dr. Chissano is a proud recipient of the prestigious Mo Ibrahim award for good governance.
President Chissano in 2007, a year after the Mo Ibrahim was established, received the first Ibrahim Prize for his achievements as he led his country out of post-independence civil war through lengthy negotiations with the Renamo rebel group, offering its former soldiers half the spaces in the country’s army.
He stepped down as president in 2004, having served ten years, without seeking the third term allowed by the constitution.
An honorary prize was also awarded the same year to the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s much-loved first black president, who stepped down after just one term in office.
The following year, in 2008, Botswana’s former president Festus Mogae won the £3.2 million prize.
With a $5 million initial payment, plus $200,000 a year for life, the Prize is believed to be the world’s largest, exceeding the $1.3m Nobel Peace Prize.