Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle
Members of the Institute of Economic Affairs /Winner-Takes-All (IEA/WTA) Committee of eleven dignitaries have agreed that appropriate constitutional amendments be taken to forestall the drawbacks of the winner-takes-all concept in local politics.
They concluded that the concept is divisive and not in the interest of the country’s fledgling democracy.
The committee met for the second time in Kumasi last week at the Royal Lamerta Hotel as part of a series of public consultations.
The high-notched meeting was attended by over 200 participants representing the leadership of registered political parties, the Electoral Commission (EC), the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), media, clergy, traditional authorities, youth groups, women’s groups, security agencies, Ghana National Association of Teachers, National Association of Graduate Teachers and Ghana Registered Nurses Association.
Representatives of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Council of Zongo Chiefs, Council of State, representing the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, and other indigenous Civil Society Groups selected from the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions were in attendance.
Winner-Takes-All and the politics of exclusion, the committee noted ‘manifests at the intra-party level where those who are deemed not to have contributed to the electioneering campaign of a candidate; and held different views were marginalized after elections.
To remedy this situation, the committee opted for ‘a state funding for political parties to prevent a few financiers from hijacking political parties.’
‘The constitution as it stands facilitates the practice of Winner-Takes-All politics. In this regard, there should be appropriate constitutional amendments to ensure that institutions and systems work to curb the practice of Winner-Takes-All politics,’ it noted.
For Parliament to perform its work of checking the Executive, the committee recommended that ‘there should be a strict Separation of Powers between the Executive and Legislature.’
On a long-term national development plan, the committee agreed that ‘there should be a long-term National Development Plan formulated with inputs from across the political divide prior to the conduct of general elections.’
They added that the manifestoes of political parties must explain how the targets in the plan would be achieved by them.
Corrupt acts, the committee observed, can only be curtailed if those who commit them are punished and not celebrated.
The all-encompassing recommendations did not leave out the issue of proportional representation.
The committee pointed out that this concept for now may not be the solution to the winner-takes-all concept.
‘The appointing powers of the Executive President must be reviewed. Appointment of heads of professional bodies, independent constitutional bodies, Civil/Public Service and Members of Council of State must be done by independent constitutional bodies,’ adding that the constitution must mandate the President to appoint people outside his party on merit and in proportion to the votes and electoral strength of the opposition parties.
The committee joined the chorus of the call for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), as well as members of district assemblies.
The committee noted that the pace of the constitutional review process was too fast and should be slowed down with the winner-takes-all concept factored in.
A press release containing the recommendations was signed by the Executive Director of the IEA, Jean Mensah and the eleven-member Advisory Committee of experts and eminent Ghanaians, which is chaired by Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle.
By A.R. Gomda
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