Prof Agyeman Badu Akosa has proposed that the leader of the biggest opposition party be given a role in the governance of the country.
The former Presidential Aspirant told his audience at the 47th J.B. Danquah commemorative Lecture in Accra that crafting a decent role for the leader of the biggest opposition party will relax the tension and polarisation in Ghana.
He said although Ghana’s adoption of a hybrid political system has essentially vapourised the role of the leader of the opposition, he nonetheless believed the leader of the biggest opposition party must not be sidelined from Government.
“We propose that the leader of the opposition must have a decent role in the governance of this country”, the former Director General of the Ghana Health Service said.
Prof Akosa bemoaned the situation where the first runner up in national elections “wakes up [after] the night of the elections, concedes defeat and has no other role in the governance of the nation”.
According to him, the leader of the biggest opposition party must be accorded a status befitting of shadow President.
“The position must come with a home as elegant as the Australian House and provided a staff strength of between 20 and 40|”, he proposed.
He also proposed that the biggest opposition leader must necessarily have “two instiutionalised meetings with the Presidency under the authority of the National Development and Planning Commission (NDPC).
“The first shall be before the reading of the budget to discuss the state of the economy and the second before the state of the nation address to discuss the welfare of the people. At the end of the meeting, a communiqué shall be released. We shall be learning something from the parliamentary processes of Westminster in the UK and Executive Presidency in the USA”.
He said the text of the budget and the state of the nation address, just like the Queen’s speech to the UK parliament in Westminster, must be given to the leader of the opposition the evening before to allow for broad consensus on the issue of national interest.
Prof Akosa believes adopting such a system will engender constant dialogue between the opposition and the party in government.
“We believe the acceptance of the position will tremendously lower the political temperature and pressure over the years [and] create a strong feeling of inclusiveness in our body politic”.
“There must be no surprises on the leader of opposition in the governance of the country. He must be aware of Government’s thinking and can agree to disagree and he, together with the minority leader in parliament, can work out the opposition’s responses in the national interest”, he suggested.
In his view, the current “one-sided parliamentary system where all ruling party MPs vote for everything that comes out of the Executive and the opposition votes against, must change”.
Prof Akosa said: “The national interest, as will be enunciated by the N.D.P.C in the medium term and long term development plans, must attract support and buy-in from all political parties”.