'Let my vote count': Ghana urged to go South African way in electing MPs
Ghana’s political system for electing MPs has been criticized as stifling the voice of the people.
Ghana’s left-wing political movement, the Economic Fighters League in an exhaustive paper concluded the First-Past-The-Post system which declares a candidate a winner by a simple majority means the voices of the minority is insignificant.
They point to the Proportional Representation system in which if a party wins say 10% of the votes it is allocated 10% of the seats, making every vote more significant in securing representation in parliament.
The EFL maintained that this is a critical solution that allows divergent views in Parliament beyond the “binary addiction” to NPP and NDC political parties.
The Economic Fighters League made the presentation following remarkable progress chalked by a 5-year old political party in South Africa, the Economic Freedom Fighters, an ideological ally to the group in Ghana.
The EFF formed in July 2013 improved from 25 seats in 2104 to 44 in the 400-seater National Assembly following the recent general elections May 8. The party is now the second largest in three provinces, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West province after toppling the Democratic Alliance.
While the ANC, which has ruled the country since the abolition of Apartheid in 1994, continues to be a dominant party, political observers say slumping from 62.15% in 2014 to 57.50% in 2019 is a cause for concern.
This was also the ANC's lowest vote share since the election after the end of apartheid in 1994. The official opposition the Democratic Alliance (DA) declined from 22.23% to 20.77%, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) significantly grew, going from 6.35% to 10.79%.
Ghana’s Economic Fighters League point out that the progress of minor parties is down to the proportional representation system.
South Africa’s National Assembly has 14 political parties represented while Ghana has two, keeping out more than 20 others despite the 1992 constitution’s promise of a multiparty democracy.
“The 1992 constitution of Ghana pretends to give us a democracy but ends up giving us a dictatorship of two parties”, the group lambasted and pointed out the preferred system will allow for inclusiveness, accountability and a true democracy.
The EFL noted that inclusiveness in Ghana’s politics has been misconstrued to giving a few opposition figures positions in government.
President Kufuor appointed the People’s National Convention’s (PNC) Mallam Issah as Sports Minister and Convention People’s Party’s (CPP) Papa Kwesi Nduom as Minister for Public Sector Reforms in the 2001 NPP administration.
The current President, Akufu-Addo, has appointed of PNC’ 2016 flagbearer Dr. Edward Mahama as Ambassador At Large.
“….the reality is that these spasmodic appointments have rather had disastrous consequences on the credibility of these minor parties.”
“As the dwindling fortunes of the CPP and PNC have shown, political inclusion that comes at the benevolence of the NPP and NDC has resulted in the depletion of confidence of the masses in those parties,”, the nine-page paper said.
The EFL said their proposal will address the winner-takes-all mentality of Ghana’s politics which has been linked to political violence as MPs and parties bend over backs to ensure they win.
In a Proportional Representation system, MPs won’t have to spend so much money on their individualistic campaigns to get to Parliament because they get into parliament by focusing on getting their party more votes, the document explained.
Ghana’s current electoral system has “proven pretentious and wasteful in practice.”