Friday, February 6, 2009


Some civil society organisations and individuals have called for the removal of an aspect of the country’s political system which they describe as “first past the post” or “winner takes all”.
They reiterated the urgency for the government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to introduce specific legal and administrative measures that would change the system.
The political system practised in the country, they said, resulted in the party which emerged winner in an election having all the say in resource mobilisation and deployment, as well as all other developmental initiatives.
That, they said, resulted in partisanship, alienation of some Ghanaians and, in some cases, as was witnessed in the last elections, tension and rancour in the political environment.
In separate interviews, a media consultant and advocate for electoral reform, Mr Kwesi Gyan-Apenteng; the Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, and the Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP), Mr Emmanuel Bombande, offered a diversity of opinions on how the political system of the country could be improved.
Mr Gyan-Apenteng said although the Constitution did not oblige any government to do so, the inclusion of other skilled and experienced Ghanaians who might not be members of the governing party in the government was the morally and politically correct thing to do.
That was particularly so when the results of the elections showed that Ghanaians had not given a massive and clear win to the NDC or a total rejection of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), he added.
He further proposed a deliberate effort by the government to unite the country and make sure “Ghana keeps and pulls together” through thick and thin, especially after the presidential run-off on December 28, 2008 and the presidential run-off in the Tain Constituency on January 3, 2009 that saw the country almost at the brink of violence.
He said the new government had the opportunity and responsibility to ensure a united country.
Mr Gyan-Apenteng’s final proposal was for an electoral reform that would ensure that Ghanaians were properly and justifiably represented.
He suggested a system of representation that was proportional and the subsequent election of the President by the MPs elected through that means for a broader and better representation of the people.
Dr Akwetey, for his part, said changing the political character of the country to foster better developmental outcomes was needed but said suggestions should be made after the new government had had a firm grasp of its work.
He was also of the view that the new government would have its own plans on how to achieve the challenge of a better political character and rather preferred to monitor how it would go about it for suggestions to be given to make its efforts better and make it accountable.
Dr Akwetey lauded the comments made so far by the new government on its willingness to consult with others who did not belong to the NDC to foster the unity of the country.
However, while its comments were right and conciliatory, it was the practice of its intention that would bring about the inclusive political system and that called for all to monitor to find out how these intentions would be implemented, he noted.
Mr Bombande said an agenda for national reconciliation to deal with the country’s multi-ethnic background should be made the bedrock of actions by the new government, saying that the results of that would be the human resource store of all Ghanaians for development.
His proposals were, among others, the election of district chief executives (DCEs) to complete the decentralisation process and ensuring that diverse groups of Ghanaians contributed to the governance of the country, both at the local and national levels.
On the election of DCEs, he said the patronage system of governance, part of the “winner-takes-all” political system, would be no more.

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