‘Govt Cause Of Polarisation’

The Deputy Director and Head of Research and Programmes at CDD-Ghana, Dr Franklin Oduro, has described the country’s political system as being between a liberal democracy and a competitive clientelist political system.

He had, therefore, praised Ghanaians for their contribution that has made the nation a bastion of democracy in Africa.

According to him, “Ghana has been a developing democracy since 1993 that has manifested in the way Ghana successfully managed six relatively peaceful and credible multi-party elections since 1993 and on two occasions experienced the rare peaceful transfer of political power from one party to the other.”

The Deputy Director of CDD-Ghana made the observation at a roundtable discussion in Tamale on Ghana’s political system and its impact on inclusive and sustainable development.

He also commended the growing trend among Ghanaians for the popular support for democracy, an active legislature with the key presence of a strong and somehow credible political opposition, an independent judiciary, a growing free and vibrant media providing ample coverage of public affairs and a relatively assertive civil society.

He opined that, notwithstanding the gains made on the nature of competitive political process, multi-party system in Ghana had become increasingly characterised by and further entrenching patron-client forms of politics rather than democratic competitive clientlist settlement.

This, he lamented had resulted in political polarisation that was affecting inclusive and sustainable development “as clientelist political settlement is preventing Ghana from turning economic growth into structural transformation.”

Dr Oduro further explained that the factors driving this arrangement included a high tendency for inter-elite factionalism, patronage politics, corruption, ethnic politics and weak checks and balances and therefore called for the passage and enforcement of existing laws that promote transparency and disclosure such as the Freedom of Information Bill and the Whistle blowers Act, among others, to transform the current political settlement.

Contributing to the discussion, participants called for the strengthening of institutions that promote accountability in governance to check the excesses of the current political settlement and the dominance of the two main political parties.

There were also calls for the review of the current political system that vested wide discretionary powers to the president (‘winner takes all system’) to a more competitive and pluralistic political system that promote inclusive and sustainable development.

The discussion was chaired by the Regional Director of the NCCE, Alhaji Razak Saani with participants drawn from government, civil society and the media.