General News of 2013-12-05

NDC, NPP must form a coalition gov’t - Dr Jonah

Dr Kwesi Jonah, a Political Scientist, on Wednesday urged the two major political parties – National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) to agree to set up a coalition government.

He said: “The kind of power sharing or coalition I am proposing is one in which the major parties that matter in Ghana come together to make scarifies, compromises and reach consensus in the interest of our country’s accelerated development.”

He said all positions including Ministerial, Deputy Ministerial, Metropolitan, Municipal, District Chief Executives should be shared according to the proportion of presidential votes polled, the percentage of parliamentary seats controlled or both.

Dr Jonah made the proposal at a public lecture in Accra organised by IBIS Ghana, an NGO, on the theme: “Democratic consolidation: The way forward for Ghana’s two decades of democracy and good governance experimentation – The Winner Takes All system under review.”

He spoke on the topic: “Foundation of the Winner Takes All political culture in Ghana: What are the manifestations and effects on national development. What other options are available?”

He observed that under the 1992 Constitution, Ghana has neither a proportional representation system, a federation nor a competitive party based local government system.

“This makes general elections do or die affair. A Party that loses the general election has no possibilities of controlling resources or taking authoritative decisions at the provincial or local government level. This makes general election a very tense affair. The winner takes everything and the loser loses everything. To correct this situation, our parties must agree, not tomorrow, not 2016 and not 2020, but now on arrangements for an all-inclusive government,” Dr Jonah stated.

He said all delegations should include representatives of both parties and the chairmanship of all parliamentary committees should be shared according to the same formula.

He said the only system that would promote accelerated development for Ghana in the next two decades and beyond is the one that would enable the two major parties, the NPP and the NDC, to work together in the same government.

Dr Jonah said there should be no time limit for the experimentation of this type of government, but a minimum trial period of at least two decades should be agreed.

He noted that within the Fourth Republic, Ghanaian voters have since 1992 consistently called upon the leaders of the two major parties to accept all-inclusive government.

“But these leaders have either corked their ears or do not understand the language of the people,” he said.

“The people have done this mainly through the way they vote. The time has come for our political elites to get out of their cocoons and listen to [the] cry of our people. Anybody who has observed elections in Ghana since December 1992 will have noticed that the gap between the winner and the loser in the presidential elections is becoming narrower and narrower, the narrowest being recorded in the 2008 elections,” he said.

“In 1992, this gap 28.11 percent, in 2008 it was 0.46 percent and in 2012 was 2.93 percent. The message of the voters is clear. They do not see any big difference between the two big parties in Ghana. Therefore, they should work together in coalition or power sharing government. Parties are so obstinate they refuse to hear the cries of the people.”

Dr Jonah said another reason for an all-inclusive government being good for Ghana now is that whatever ideological differences the NPP and the NDC profess on paper do not reflect in their policies.

He said the practice of winner-takes-all is not good for the country’s socio-economic development.