General News of Tuesday, 20 January 2015
Flagbearer of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo has expressed qualms about the overbearing powers of the Office of the President.
“I’m not happy with the amount of power presidents have – the question is, how can we get more people involved in the process, to say no, the balance should not be this way”, the former Foreign Affairs Minister said during a discussion on democracy in Africa on the BBC to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the UK’s first Westminster Parliament and 800 years since the sealing of Magna Carta.
Magna Carta or “the Great Charter”, also called Magna Carta Libertatum: “the Great Charter of the Liberties” [of England]), is a charter issued by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.
First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons.
Neither of the sides stood behind its commitments and it was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons’ War.
The two events played very significant roles in the development of parliamentary democracy under the rule of law in Britain and elsewhere, including Ghana.
Speaking to an audience on the BBC with fellow discussants including Nigerian businessman Jason Njoku and Libyan activist Ayat Mneina, the three-time NPP Flagbearer said it was important to correct the imbalance of power between the Office of the President and the citizens who repose that power in the President.
“Process for redressing the balance is what should concern us. How can we get more and more people involved in the process and would be able to say no this particular balance should not be this way but it should be that way.
“Little by little some of these matters would be resolved,” Akufo-Addo said.