CSOs Speak On Constitutional Reforms

Participants at the forum, INSET:Dr Emmanuel Akweteyspeaking at the forum

Participants at the forum, INSET:Dr Emmanuel Akweteyspeaking at the forum

Participants at the forum, INSET: Dr Emmanuel Akwetey speaking at the forum

Civil society organisations have said Ghana needs a constitutional reform that will make governance more relevant to the political aspirations of the country’s citizens.

According to them, the present governance system needs to give way to multiparty governance that could address diversity, socio-economic and political challenges of the country.

At a dialogue session in Kumasi on Tuesday, the civil society organisations observed that the practice of the hybrid system of governance by Ghana per the 1992 Constitution had created a two-party state with its corresponding polarisation, politicisation, corruption and paralysis of the public service.

Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), stated that the time has come for the nation to democratise executive powers as the current constitution has centralised power in the executive arm of government to access the enormous wealth of the state with question.

In his view, this had made winning executive power and its associated privileges the focus of the two major political parties – NPP and NDC, noting that the centrality of the struggle for power overrode every other consideration in the country.

Dr Akwetey said apart from weakening of national cohesion by the current dispensation, the hybrid system had created growing inequality in society with generally poor public service delivery and recurring threat of political violence around competitive elections.

He believed adoption of the multiparty governance system would help address challenges of the country as it would bring about checks and balances to prevent manipulation of the system by elected government.

He called for Metropolitan/ Municipal/ District Chief Executive (MMDCE) positions to be elective in order to end presidential appointment at the local government level to bring about the needed development.

Democracy Fund
The IDEG Executive Director called for the setting up of multiparty democracy fund to support political parties to develop, while suggesting for parties’ manifestos to be given centre stage in electoral and governance activities, and possibly made mandatory.

He said the civil society organisations were also proposing for elections of presidential, parliamentary and district to be merged so as to end the election cycle of the country.

Dr Akwetey stressed the need for the country to define an election year and a campaign period so that development issues did not become inconsequential in Ghana’s electoral politics.

Peace and Stability
Major General Nii Carl Coleman, Chairman of the Civic Forum Initiative, said observations and insight of the 2008 and 2012 elections had given course for civil society organisations to worry about the stability of the nation’s democracy.

According to him, while government intended to make changes to the constitution, civil society groups found some gaps in the recommendations by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) as well as government white paper for referendum.

The army officer pointed out that the current proposals of CRC did not address issues of national unity and peace that are paramount and pre-requisite to development of the country.

He prayed for Ghanaians to embrace the multiparty governance system being proposed by the civil society groups to be included in the recommendations for the referendum.

From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi
( [email protected] )

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