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Power-sharing governance option proposed for Ghana

By Dasmani Laary
Posted on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 15:22

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a public policy think tank, has made a raft of proposals that include the formation of a power-sharing government to do away with divisive second round presidential polls.

school boys are now preferred to experienced people

In the 2008 polls, the National Democratic Congress led by John Atta Mills polled 47.92% against 49.13% for Nana Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party.

Mills went on to overturn Nana’s first round lead by winning 50.23% of the vote against his opponent’s 49.77% in the second round.

In 2012, incumbent president John Mahama was declared winner of the election with 50.7% of the vote, while Nana received 47.74% of the vote.

The IEA said the closely contested polls promoted polarisation and were not good for development.

“All stakeholders must take a look at how best the negative trend entailed in the winner-takes-all system could be ameliorated to support the government to strengthen institutions,” said Jean Mensa, the IEA’s executive director in statement on Wednesday.

Justice Emile Short said the current system encouraged victimisation, sabotage and exclusion of opponents and competent persons from contributing to national development.

“Our elections are so tensed and divisive while the executive is vested with so many powers and applies to capture state resources and use them to exclude opponents,” he said.

The current constitutional requirement for appointing public officers in consultation with the Council of State largely remains an ineffective way of getting competent people to serve the government.

Policy analysts say the practice poses serious threat to Ghana’s fledgling democracy as it seeks to weaken state institutions and independence of parliament.

Political disorder

The formula, they say, is used to compensate party loyalists and antagonise political opponents leading to brain-drain and marginalization.

A senior research fellow at IEA, Michael Ofori-Mensah, described the ‘winner-takes-all’ system as a major cause for polarisation in Ghanaian political discourse.

“The threat posed by the ‘winner-takes-all’ practice in undermining our democracy gains is a real and present danger to the nation,” he said.

“It is critical to re-examine this system in order to arrive at a situation where decision-making becomes less divisive.”

The institute called for realistic interventions to mitigate the manifestation of negative political culture and attitude “fuelling rancour, acrimony, sabotage of state agenda, do or die malady and political autocracy.”

Ghana Presbyterian Church’s reverend Emmanuel Martey said the system encouraged the selection of party loyalists with no proven track record at the expense of experienced persons.

He said “school boys are now preferred to experienced people.”

“This weapon of political exclusion and victimisation is a recipe for political disorder, it could bring a doom to the nation if not checked,” Martey added.

Minister of state, Alban Sumani Bagbin, urged IEA to explore political party funding and campaign financing possibilities in order to check misuse of state resources.

The tendency for politicians to abuse state resources is rampant since they borrow money from individuals and organisations to finance their campaigns and would employ every means possible to recoup it.

The institute is pushing for apower sharing governance system to support the 50% plus one vote principle during presidential election run-offs.

It also called for an increase in parliamentary constituencies from 275 to 400 with 125 reserved for marginalised groups like persons with disabilities and women.

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