Politics of 2014-05-12

Party executives should sit in cabinet meetings – Asiedu Nketia

General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has rubbished calls not to allow ruling political party executives sit in cabinet meetings.
According to him, there cannot be a clear separation between the government and the ruling party, especially as the president was elected on the ticket of the ruling party and the government was supposed to be implementing the party’s manifesto.
The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) had proposed that governments must cease from the practice of allowing party officials to sit in Cabinet meetings, since according to it, there ought to be a clear distinction between serious government business and party matters.
Under the NPP administration, the party’s National Chairman and General Secretary regularly attended cabinet meetings.
The practice is continuing under the current government and the Executive Director of the CDD, Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi thinks the practice is wrong.
The debate over whether executives of the ruling political parties should attend cabinet meetings was ignited last week after Mr Asiedu Nketia proposed that government should consider using the money being saved in the Heritage Fund for future generations.
His argument was that there was no point saving the money for future use which earns little interest on the investments when the funds were badly needed to fix the economy now.
Speaking to Radio Ghana, Mr Asiedu Nketia said the argument on stopping party executives from sitting in cabinet was flawed.
“There are a lot of country experiences that we can look at. In fact in some countries the General Secretary of the party is also the President of the Republic. So you cannot even talk about division between party and the government at all,” he said.
“In other countries the leader of the party when he is removed as the leader of the party loses his position as Prime Minister and it happens in the UK, South Africa and other places.”
“I think the issue has to be whether we should have a separate party business from government business.”
Mr Nketia who is popularly known as General Mosquito argued that the Supreme Court even dealt substantially with the issue when three members of the NPP decided to take President Mahama to court over election 2012 and the NDC sought to join the case on the basis that, they produced the presidential candidate and supported him.
The NDC argued then that it was the party’s programme and manifesto that the president was going to implement, so they had a vested interest in the presidency and hence needed to join the case.
The Supreme Court agreed and ruled for the NDC to join the case.
Mr Nketia explained that to that extent, “if anybody thinks that there could be government totally separate from the party in power, I don’t want to share in that idea at all, because the government would be implementing the programme of the party in power.”