Ghana has very weak institutions. So feeble are some of these institutions that they appear not to exist at all, incessantly failing stress and efficiency tests. It is a reality hardly contended.
As a critical factor militating against good governance in the country, it accounts almost wholly for the abysmal state of governance and economic malaise we find ourselves entrapped in.
In as much as this knowledge is not contentious to players of both sides of the political divide, little or nothing has been done to remedy the drawback. The closest we have come to addressing the challenge are the many unproductive talk-shops organized on the subject and occasional references to it by society’s elites.
Existing institutions set up to deal with impunity, abuse of power, arbitrariness, conflict of interest, among others, have not lived up to expectation – the fallout being a painful erosion of public confidence in these bodies.
When the public, in whose interest such institutions were set up, lose faith in them, the repercussions are not farfetched, impacting negatively on the running of the state in all its ramifications.
We have heard regrettably, for instance, disappointed members of the largest opposition party remarking that because it is useless turning to the judiciary for fair adjudication in election disputes, they will never consider such an option in future.
The media, judiciary, law enforcement agencies and others, have all exhibited instances of weakness in various forms to the detriment of good governance.
In the past few days, the political scene has been awash with the remarks by Alban Sumani Bagbani, a key member of Ghana’s Parliament, about how some MPs collect bribes, an obvious slight on the integrity of the legislature.
Although he claimed he was not accurately reported, for us he has called our attention to the legislature, whose health we all must take interest in.
The reason for this is not farfetched: its oversight responsibility is pivotal in the strengthening of the weak institutions of state and therefore democracy.
The issue at stake for us is not whether Hon Bagbin said what he is reported to have said or not.
It is about reversing the impression created so far about this arm of government and indeed other institutions, which have lost their teeth in a manner which threatens democracy and good governance.
When people one day show indifference to their civic responsibilities such as voting during elections or even turning to the courts for adjudication, it is because of their waned confidence in institutions of state.
Seeking appropriate and effective means of strengthening state institutions should be the preoccupation of all Ghanaians, especially Parliament. Winnowing Hon. Bagbin’s remarks – if that will strengthen the arm of Parliament – should not be marginalized.