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Multi-Party Democracy: How It Should Be In Ghana

Thu, 7 Jul 2011 Source: Blankson, John Paa Kojo

THE ROTATIONAL POLITICAL SYSTEM:MULTI-PARTY DEMOCRACY: HOW IT SHOULD BE IN GHANA

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This is a suggestion worth considering by all who have the interest of the whole of

Ghana at heart. This has been designed to be non-partisan as possible, and some of

the reasons for any unusual proposition will be stated. It is very important to note

that this is only a sketch, and your suggestions, be it critical or otherwise, will

help develop this idea. It must also be borne in mind the objectives of the

proposal, which is to eradicate partisan and divisive politics to guarantee the

avoidance of civil conflict following any election; to concentrate the efforts of

governments on the real needs of the people of Ghana as opposed to the priority of

political party, [which is to win elections]; to replace short-term party manifestos

of individual parties with ONE agenda for the nation; and to enhance probity and

accountability in politics.

The system consists of the following bodies or arms of government:

1) THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF STATE (SCS),

2) POLITICAL PARTIES,

3) LOCAL GOVERNMENT,

4) THE JUDICIARY, and

5) THE MEDIA.

1) The SUPREME COUNCIL of STATE (SCS) will be made up of both elected and un-elected

citizens. You can suggest which kind of people to constitute this body once you know

the proposed function for it. They will act as the Board of Governors and Trustees

on behalf of the people of Ghana. The SCS will be responsible for drawing up and

reviewing a long term Developmental Plan for Ghana. They will also be responsible

for setting achievable TARGETS for a ruling political party. (This will be

understood more under Political Parties in the next paragraph). The SCS will

crucially be the evaluators of the ruling party to determine their performance, upon

which the term of office of the ruling party will depend. This body will also be

responsible for investigating corruption and abuse of office allegations against any

political party (in or out of power), and possible legal action on behalf of the

people of Ghana. The armed forces should be under the command of the

SCS and not the president, at least in principle. This body will not be sitting as

often as the parliament. It will meet only a few times in a month, (and as when

needed). When this body is in session, it will carry more power than the president.

It should be completely independent from all the other bodies. Its remuneration

will be determined by the fully elected local government, and not by the president,

or a political party. In my opinion, some of the experts who should be members of

this very august body are as follows: The head of the Institute of Economic

Affairs, Vice Chancellors, The Audit Commissioner (Auditor General), Head of the

Ghana Bar Association, Head of the National House of Chiefs, and at least one head

from a Ghana based human rights organisation, or The Commissioner for Human Rights

and Administrative Justice and The head of the TUC. In this case the president

should not have exclusive right to appoint any of the above positions.

The elected members of the Supreme Council of State should be, ten (10), one (1)

from each of the ten (10) regions of the country. These ten directly elected

members would also be the MAYORS of their respective regions. These members will

serve for as long as they are elected as mayors. The experts should also serve for

as long as they hold their various offices that propelled them to the SCS.

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2) The POLITICAL PARTIES will be formed to exclude the active members of the current

mostly tribal and ethnic based parties. I suggest three (3) political parties, which

will take turns to run the affairs of the state. They will act as contractors or

temporary workers for the people of Ghana, employed by the SCS, our board of

governors or trustees. They employ their own style or method of delivering or

meeting the set targets. The parties choose their own leader in accordance to a set

criteria, or qualifications, and vetted by the SCS. The leader will introduce

himself or herself to the people by touring the most regions and districts. The

chosen leader will be our President(Chief Executive Officer) when that party assumes

office. A party in power will have to work towards set TARGETS, instead of towards

winning elections and a short term party manifesto. The targets are set by our board

of governors, the SCS, at the start of a term of office. The

targets may include GDP, employment, export, school enrolment, inflation, law and

order, human rights, food production, health care, etc. Each target will be given

different priority for any government depending on the state of the nation and the

needs of the people at the start of the term. The party in power will also propose

laws, (legislation), to be debated on by the directly elected local government

office holders, (i.e. MCEs, DCEs), and the MAYORS (regionally elected members of

the SCS). The parties will also have strong presence in all the regions. A ruling

party will appoint a member to each Metropolitan, Municipal or District Assembly.

These political appointees will act as liaison officers between the Executive and

the Local Assemblies. This is not an executive position. They will take part in

debates and discussions but will have no vote. They will be on the pay roll of the

Ministry of Local Government and should not be paid more than the

average pay of a headmaster of a local JSS.

Very importantly the length of term of office will be determined by the performance

of a ruling party. The performance will be measured against the set targets. I

propose a standard term length of FIVE (5) years. This means that if a party in

power meets the target set for it by the SCS at the start of its term, they rule for

5 years before making way for the next party in line. If at the end of a 5-year

standard term, a ruling party performs better than the set targets, it is rewarded

by a term extension of 3 years. That party would therefore govern for EIGHT (8)

YEARS, before making way for the party in line. If on the other hand, a ruling party

is evaluated after two and a half years and predicted to perform less than average,

it loses two (2) years. This means that a poor performing party will govern for only

THREE (3) years instead of the standard 5. The number of years a party rules

determine the pensions of its executives. Their image will also be

at stake here. In this Rotational Multi-Party System, a ruling party aims directly

at meeting the set targets, (set by the SCS), instead of “painting the opposition

black” to the voters, and amassing state funds to fight general elections. Parties

in waiting will not have the need to pull down a party in power. In fact the

opposite is the case under this system. A party in line to assume office will wish

to take over from a successful government to give them a smooth start. All

governments work towards the same long-term grand socio-economic programme for

Ghana drawn by the SCS.

When political parties are not in power, they will operate as charity clubs and

educate and help the needy in our society. They will also be obliged to familiarise

themselves with the people of the whole country by systematically travelling round

the country.

3) The LOCAL GOVERNMENT system in operation now will be more accountable and

sensitive to the people they serve with a handful of changes and additions. Instead

of appointed regional ministers, Mayors will be directly elected. These mayors will

represent their regions on the Supreme Council of State. This is an executive

position. Their election should strictly be non-partisan (that is not between

parties but independent individuals). The chief executives of the assemblies, namely

the Metropolitan/ Municipal Chief Executives (MCEs), the District Chief Executives

(DCEs) must all be directly elected on a non-partisan platform, as opposed to being

appointed by a ruling party. A ruling party will be represented by its Party Liaison

Officers, (a non executive post), at every assembly.

4) THE JUDICIARY system is very good except the political interference seen under

the current political system. I am pretty certain that under this proposed

Rotational System where political vendetta and witch hunting is non existent,

Presidents will follow the correct laid down procedure to appoint the Chief Justice,

and judges to the Supreme Court.

5) Last but not the least is the MEDIA. The media will have an important role as a

watchdog. Registered (Professional) Journalists should be given more access to

unclassified public information. This will help them accurately inform and educate

the general public on the state of our various socio-economic activities. For

example, they should have access to infant mortality rate in any hospital; reported

crimes in police stations. They should be able to make public controversial

activities of public and political office holders without fear of prosecution. They

will also be required by the constitution to keep alive all political investigations

and prosecutions till their conclusion. Any registered journalist can impeach or

indict any member of the SCS on two conditions at the public expense. First, the

journalist should have overwhelming evidence of a wrong doing, and secondly the

legally binding support of at least five (5) of the ten elected SCS

members (the Mayors).

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In conclusion this proposed Rotational Political System will ensure meaningful

democracy; accountability; continuity; grass root participation; efficiency; lasting

peace and above all much needed accelerated development. Respect for our elders and

those in authority which used to be a quintessential part of our diverse culture,

will be restored.

This system will also eliminate tribal and ethnic tensions, political antagonism,

vilification, expensive and highly charged presidential and parliamentary elections,

no more waste on a politically polarized and rubber-stamp parliament, and no more

cross party collusion on corruption investigations.

The presidency also ceases to be a gold mine for greedy and selfish individuals.

With the elimination of general or presidential elections, one would not need

campaign ‘sponsors’ that lead to corruption. The presidency cannot therefore be

‘bought’.

Imagine a group of constitutional experts or even ordinary Ghanaians like you and me

getting together to debate this idea and develop it further. I always believe that,

we as Ghanaians, have the ‘brains’ to develop our own system, and be the hallmark

for not only Africa, but all developing countries. We will not be really free or

independent until we find our unique and working system of ruling.

LONG LIVE GHANA!!

By John Paa Kojo Blankson.

Columnist: Blankson, John Paa Kojo