• Prof. Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi — Executive Director of the CDD
The Executive Director of Afrobarometer, Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, has advocated the amendment of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution to reduce the executive powers of the President, as part of efforts to address the “Winner-takes- all” syndrome.
“And we are not going to get rid of crazy partisanship and winner-takes-all, unless we do a fundamental restructuring of our politics and particularly the constitution; so that it does not concentrate power in the hands of the President and the executive branch and, therefore, the governing party”.
Prof. Gyimah-Boadi stated this at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development’s (CDD-Ghana) Round-table on Rawlings and Democratic Development in the Fourth Republic.
He said the constitutional review was essential and necessary for the existence and continuous progress of the nation.
“Secondly, we’ve got to also change the culture of Ghana; we have to significantly mend our ways, and one of the ways to do that as history has shown over and over again is to have citizens who have a real sense of duty,” he said.
“Duty, meaning being willing to pay your taxes, being available for national service if the nation needs you, making yourself available for voting if you have to vote, making sacrifices and bringing a balance to this idea that you can have citizenship without obligations.”
“Because it is that imbalance that makes us all sit somewhere and say that well ‘CDD you talk corruption, some people are being corrupt, go and talk about it and then I don’t have any part in this’. We have to change that. And we do that because we do not recognise ourselves as citizens but rather as clients.”
A former Education Minister and former Presidential Staffer, Dr Christine Amoako-Nuamah, said there was the need for Ghanaians to build on some of the legacies of former President Jerry John Rawlings. She suggested that there should be a vibrant civic education in order to get the citizenry well informed on the civic rights and responsibilities.”
A former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Akwasi Oppong-Fosu, said although people would say former President Jerry John Rawlings was a reluctant democrat, he would say he was a reluctant leader from all the events.
“He was thrust on us by some groups, especially June 4th and all that. So, when I reflect, I tell myself that if we had not experienced all that in our body politics or exercise of leadership, we wouldn’t have even known Jerry Rawlings. He would have retired as an army officer but exigencies of the time brought him into the limelight,” Mr Oppong-Fosu said.
“So, what are the lessons? Did we learn anything from that or are we back on the issues of exercising power with impunity? Are we on the path of a bracing corruption and all the issues that resulted in we having Jerry Rawlings as a leader?”
“Even though people say he was reluctant, he raised some concerns about party politics. And his concerns at the time was that party politics attracted corrupt practices. Are we doing transformational politics or transaction politics?” Mr Oppong-Fosu quizzed.
“These are some of the issues that are going forward, we have to address in our minds, because if we continue the way we are going with electing leaders in our political parties to national offices to various offices through the system of transaction. “What it means is that we are inviting corruption into the body politic and these are some of the reasons that occasioned the emergence of Jerry Rawlings and we need to really address these issues in our democratic dispensation.”
Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science and History at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dr George Bob-Milliar, hailed former President Rawlings for championing Ghana’s socio-economic development agenda during his tenure as Head of State and President.
Creation of Upper West
He also commended the former President for creating the Upper West Region out of the then Upper Region, which had led to the acceleration of the socio-economic development of the region.
Dr Bob-Milliar said in the past, Ghanaians really sacrificed for the nation, adding that the current generation, however, was not interested in that, which was a worry.
He said there were lessons that Ghanaians would have to learn, such as people being patriotic to the state and contributing to the development of the country.
Senior Research Fellow, CDD-Ghana, Mr Francis Tsegah, said CDD Round-tables offered an avenue and a space for well-informed discussions and conversations on various topics of national interest.