Prof Gyampo's take on Akufo-Addo's televised address on U.S. military deal

Prof Ransford Gyampo11 Prof Ransford Gyampo

Fri, 6 Apr 2018 Source: Prof Ransford Gyampo

1. Mr President, I am happy you have spoken on this matter. I am quite elated because I whispered into the ears of some people about the need for you to speak as Father of the nation and assure us about your commitment to safeguarding our security.

2. You have done this so eloquently.

3. I believe the hypocrisy of the typical Ghanaian politician must always be exposed and I am happy you did this at least partially. I liked the rhetorical question that interrogated how a document destined to parliament could be described as secret.

4. Our Media must not always be in a rush to break news, especially when they aren't sure

5. But Mr President you know your speech cannot escape my scrutiny. As you are very much aware, there are some slight differences between the previous agreements and the current one. Unfortunately, you were silent on the differences. That wasn't fair and transparent enough.

6. Hypocrisy is annoying and must be exposed. But the President as father of the nation must be cautious in such responses in order not to be overly emotional. It was inappropriate for the father of the nation to insinuate that a section of Ghanaians were anti-American. Being against the agreement doesn't make one an anti-American

7. Again, as you may be aware, there is a great difference between procedural and substantive democracy. Given what happened to the agreement in Parliament, I am tempted to say that there wasn't much difference between those who signed their agreement in secrecy and those who sent it to parliament. Indeed, sending a document to parliament without allowing minority views to tamper the original agreement satisfies only the tenets of procedural democracy, which means little in the quest for democratic maturity.

8. Sending an unsigned agreement to parliament in my view was an ingenious strategy to solicit a bipartisan input into it before signing it finally. If Parliament could not make input into the agreement; and if the Attorney-General's input could not change the contents of the agreement, then why was it sent to parliament in the first place? It could have been signed in secrecy too. Parliament can ratify an agreement that has already been signed by the executive. But if an unsigned agreement gets to parliament, then one expects the content of the agreement to change a little to reflect the views of parliament.

9. Sending an unsigned agreement to parliament shouldn't be just to inform the populace through their representatives. It should be to solicit input too. If the input particularly from the minority succeeds in altering some portions of the agreement, so be it. That would be a great move towards substantive democracy.

10. The way and manner this particular agreement was handled by parliament was shameful and I was expecting you, Mr President to condemn the practice of intransigent politics that has plagued our body politic since 1992. The majority must not always have its way because of its numbers. That cannot be part of the tenets of substantive democracy. Substantive democracy calls for consensus building particularly on key national issues.

11. Because you omitted the issues above, I"ll score you 70 percent which is a B.

12. Friends, our democracy won't grow if the minority would always have their mere say while the majority enjoys their way. The minority members must be encouraged to stay even if they want to walk out. Similarly, the majority must be encouraged to be magnanimous and willing to factor minority views into their stance on issues. It doesn't advance the interest of substantive democracy to always use numbers, because the majority cannot always be right.

13. Once we decided to be open and democratic about this agreement, Mr President, you could have gone the full length of the process. You could have withdrawn the agreement from Parliament through the minister temporarily, and engaged the minority leadership behind the scenes. This could have softened their stance to pave the way for the re-tabling of the agreement before parliament. This process could have galvanized bi-partisan support of the agreement.

14. As our democracy grows, it is likely we would have a President whose party may not have majority seats in parliament. Let the majority learn to build consensus and win the minority to its side by offering convincing and superior arguments. Let there be no display of intellectual bankruptcy by bulldozing ways with numbers or opposing just for the sake of it.

15. Now that it has been signed, let's all learn some lessons particularly in the area of consensus building on key issues of national interest that affects all of us. There must be an elite consensus on key issues that must never be politicized in a partisan manner.

Yaw Gyampo

A31, Prabiw

P.AV. Ansah Street


Columnist: Prof Ransford Gyampo
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