Give President Six-Year Term – Oko Vanderpuije

Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma South, Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, has called for a six-year non-renewable term for the president instead of the four-year term to promote development in the country.

He said the current four-year term is a complete waste of time and resources and that there is the urgent need for the 1992 Constitution to be reviewed to give every president a six-year non-renewable term to give him ample time to execute his plans and that of his party’s manifesto fully.

He said as Ghana celebrates its 60th Independence anniversary, the country must seriously review the constitution and increase the tenure of the president to help fast-track development of the country.

“In a four-year term, the President uses the first year to appoint his ministers and put in place his government, the third-year is used to marshal resources for another elections and the last year is used for electioneering campaign and so the only active year for effective governance is the second year,” he said, stressing that if a president is not re-elected in his second term bid, his first term would not have any impact on the electorate and would have been a waste of time.

Dr Okoe Vanderpuije made the call in a statement he made on the floor of parliament yesterday on the topic ‘Ghana @60, the political lessons and the way forward’

He disclosed that it is an undisputable fact that since the promulgation of the 1992 constitution, anytime a president is elected, time and resources are spent to defend a one-term four year incumbency and that the first four-year-term  comes with huge financial outlay and burden.

“The term of office, as it exists under the current constitution, is woefully insufficient for any government to seriously consider improving the economy and organizing elections in every four years. It is a financial pest and a drain on the limited state resources,” he said, stressing that there can’t be any effective planning and maximum development during a four-year term.

“My statement is for the consideration of the House a six-year term of presidency without any opportunity for re-election since this will in the long run promote greater development, save the nation huge financial burdens in organizing elections and promoting proper accountability to the electorate”

The NDC MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini backed the call by the Ablekuma South MP, saying it was for the same reason that former President J.A. Kufuor in his last ‘State of the Nation’ address also called for a five-year term renewable for the president.

He said there is great wisdom in giving a government enough time to implement its policies to improve the lives of the people.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Effutu, Alex Afenyo-Markin, in his contribution, said he has also made several calls for some portions of the constitution to be amended to meet the needs of the people.

He could not fathom why the constitution could prevent some groups of public workers like civil servants from engaging in partisan politics and at the same time allow public servants like teachers and health workers to openly engage in partisan politics and even contest for positions in political parties.

When that happens, it becomes very difficult for people who openly opposed other candidates while holding public offices to work with elected politicians, for instance, in the Ministry of Education, who could undermine them in achieving their political goals.

Some of the MPs also called on the President to quickly bring the report of the Constitution Review Commission to Parliament for immediate consideration.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr