Nelson Mandela

I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.- Nelson Mandela

Parliamentarians must help the disadvantaged to participate meaningfully in society

Point of View

On September 15, the United Nations celebrates the International Day of Democracy. To mark this day, we asked Parliamentarians from both Europe and Africa the following question:

“What do you think the politician’s role is in strengthening the voice of the people in Africa, to establish and maintain a healthy democracy?”


Roundmaureen o sullivan copy “I am very conscious of women in African countries who do not enjoy the rights I enjoy living in a democracy – rights to education, express views, decent work, who to marry, number of children I might or might not have, right to drive a car, to vote, stand in elections. The reality for most African women is poverty, disadvantage, exploitation, few, if any rights. Parliamentarians cannot just make lofty statements with fine words, expressing noble intentions and no connection with the realities of life for so many African people. Fine speeches which ring out in fine halls and at rich banquets are meaningless and irrelevant if they do not transform the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalised. Parliamentarians must encourage the disadvantaged to participate meaningfully in trade unions, social movements, parent groups, youth groups, church groups in order to further the democratic process.
Maureen O’Sullivan
Irish independent politician and TD for Dublin Central constituency.
AWEPA head of Irish Section

To read more about our International Day of Democracy special, please click here.