Akufo-Addo Calls for Election of DCEs and Assembly Men on Party Lines

Politics of Thursday, 22 January 2015

Source: NPP UK Secretariat

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, the NPP 2016 Presidential Candidate, presented his

vision for transforming Ghana at an invitation to address a selected audience at

Chatham House, the esteemed Royal Institute of International Affairs in London,

this morning.

He spoke on the theme “Developing Ghana: Policies for Prosperity” before an

audience comprising business leaders, diplomats, foreign relations and

development experts, political and social commentators. His zeal, passion and

advocacy for a transformed and prosperous Ghana, was compelling.

After his spectacular off-the-cuff delivery of his vision, which he stressed has

been consistent because he truly believes in it as the only path way for Ghana’s

prosperity, the audience gave him a warm applause.

He concluded the 90-minute interaction by answering a question on what makes him

believe he can be third time lucky, he said instinctively, “My own sense is that

the Ghanaian people have come to trust me.”

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Nana Akufo Addo in his submission traced Ghana’s

development and democratic journey to date and acknowledged that the “values and

principles of democratic engagement continue to deepen in the country”

describing the next critical task to be on how the programmes, players and

institutions of the country can be synchronised to address the overarching issue

of “raising rapidly the quality of life of the mass of our people.”

He admitted that there were structural imbalances between Parliament and the

Presidency, stressing, “that the performance of the legislature has not been

spectacular.” And, he blamed that on the constitutional framework that “makes

the legislature second to the executive,” saying, that the imbalance has to be

addressed consensually and constitutionally.

He reiterated the need to strengthen the institutions that underpin our

democracy, especially our executive, legislature and judiciary, to ensure that

each plays their respective roles in building a strong democratic culture that

ensures accountability, effective separation of powers, and guaranteeing respect

for the rule of law.

He had kind words for the judiciary. “As a rule,” he said, “Ghana’s judiciary is

considered as one of the most independent in Africa. But, a lot more must be

done in terms of resources to strengthen its capacity and also the calibre of

the people there.”

Nana Akufo-Addo also used the occasion to again call for fundamental reforms of

the nation’s electoral system to restore public confidence. To him, if trust in

the system is to be restored then the problems with the voters’ register must be

addressed head on. This means replacing the current register, which he argued

was bloated and not a true reflection of the country’s population eligible to be

on the electoral roll.

For the NPP, he said, “Our interest is that we have elections in the future that

are incident-free. We are not the ones who are going to disturb the governance

of our country. On the contrary, our history has been one of leading in the

struggle to consolidate our democracy,” he said.

Nana Akufo-Addo said mobilisation of greater public participation in the

governance process must be facilitated. He welcomed greater civil society

engagement in the governance process but went further to show constitutional

policy measures that , he believed, could assist in the process of greater

participatory democracy, especially at the grassroots level.

The Presidential Candidate of the NPP took the opportunity to state his

commitment to a radical shift in the status quo of the local government

structure. He stressed the need to deepen participatory democracy at the local

level with a move from non-partisan elections at the local level to a fully

elected local government administration, including election of district chief

executives, who will be fully accountable to the people.

“In my view, political parties must be free to openly sponsor candidates for

District Assembly elections. Also, District Chief Executives, or Mayors, must be

directly elected.”

He argued that the situation where DCEs feel accountable to the president, the

appointing authority, rather than the people at the local level is a democratic

anomaly that must be addressed. He described that as a major check on the

quality of local governance.

He bemoaned the current level of corruption in Ghana, describing it as

widespread. “There is a strong stench of corruption in the country,” he said. “I

do not speak as an opposition politician, but as a citizen of the country.”

He prescribed two ways of dealing with corruption: the personal example of

leadership and the institutional capacity to deal with it. On the leadership

level, he told the audience, including representatives of multinationals that

for him any person in his party who wishes to make money would not be allowed to

serve in public office but would rather be encouraged to go in the private

sector where making money can be a legitimate objective.

“I have told people in my party – if you want to make money go to the private

sector.”

He said he has a personal commitment to the fight against corruption and has

demonstrated that as Attorney-General under President J A Kufuor. “It was not my

job to see to it that people were punished for corruption but to send cases to

court to for the judiciary to rule on them.”

He added, “Then, of course, is the institutional thing. Which in short means the

willingness and capacity to enforce the law. Enforcing the laws is not just

about prosecution, but, also about the laws that allow greater efficiency in the

management of public resources and for greater value for money.”

He said one law in point, which has been ignored under the “Mills-Mahama era” is

the Public Procurement Act. He said his government would reverse the current

culture “where sole sourcing of public procurement contracts is the norm rather

than the exception.”

He said the philosophy of his government would be to give Ghanaians value for

their money because if that is done the problems of basic infrastructure could

be quicker resolved and Ghana would not be in the situation where it is now

spending more money to pay off interests on its loans than it uses for

infrastructural development.

Nana Akufo-Addo said, for example, when the NPP left office in 2008, Ghana was

using 7% of its GDP to develop infrastructure. “The figure is now 5%. We were

expecting the oil and gas discovery to allow us to invest more money in

developing our infrastructure. But the reverse has been the case,” he lamented.

Nana Akufo-Addo said, “Ghana was poised for a major take off after 2008. Sadly,

the Mills-Mahama era has seen a drastic drawback.” He expressed the hope that

with the right leadership Ghana can once again become the Black Star of Africa.

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