Justice Francis Emile Short
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) wants the powers of the President in the appointment of the leadership of the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) curtailed.
This is to ensure the persons appointed to serve in these institutions and other constitutional bodies are appointed based on merit.
Presenting highlights of the think tank’s ‘Winner Takes All’ committee report, former CHRAJ boss, Justice Francis Emile Short explained that this and other proposals tabled by the Institute after extensive consultations with stakeholders across the country is to promote accountability and good governance.
He stated that the powers of appointment by the President under the 1992 constitution are too extensive and ‘by virtue of the winner takes all system, all the appointments are invariably given to members or supporters of the ruling party and the appointments are not always based on merit.’
The report thus recommended that while appointments to constitutional bodies should remain under the President, ‘recommendations for these appointments should emanate from certain clearly designated bodies that have the capacity to identify suitable persons using clear, pre-determined criteria.’
The constituted body which will comprise professional bodies or institutions will then recommend ‘suitable individuals of at least five persons from among whom the President shall make his nomination.’
On his part, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Most Reverend Gabriel Palmer Buckle asked President John Mahama to re-open the constitution review process for more consultations to take place.
According to him, the nation is currently sitting on a time bomb due to the injurious nature of the winner-takes-all form of governance being operated in the country.
He pointed out that in Ghana many people are of the view that the last four years in the nation’s governance system has revealed several weaknesses within our constitution; ‘weaknesses that were not envisaged when the country was going through the constitution review exercise and hence, these proposals that we’ve forward now were not considered as part of the government-led review process.’
He said the reluctance of government established constitutional review implementation committee to accept new proposals and re-open the process is evident but he stressed that ‘there can be no meaningful and real reform of the constitution without a careful consideration and adoption of proposals aimed at doing away with the winner takes all system of governance.’
Most Reverend Palmer Buckle added that the purpose of the IEA’s meeting on Wednesday is to present their findings and recommendations which will ‘foster dialogue and proposals gathered from across the country.’
He expressed the hope that government will respond and act on the final report the Institute submitted early this year which will ultimately ‘give meaning to the will of the people.’
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