General News of Thursday, 24 April 2014
The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) has released a statement as part of its Civic Forum Initiative warning that Ghana’s democracy faces five key challenges that threaten “its stability, peace and sustainability.”
The statement mentioned the five challenges as “(i) recurring threat of political violence in democratic national elections, (ii) weakening of national cohesion, (iii) politicization, corruption and paralysis of the public service bureaucracies, (iv) the challenge arising out of a political duopoly that promotes self-serving politics and exclusionary government, and (v) the lack of sustained political dialogue and national consensus on measures for resolving the challenges peacefully”.
“All five challenges are matters of profound national interest,” the statement said. “Collectively, they underscore the fragility of multiparty governance system and pose serious risks to its stability, peace and sustainability in the long-term.” It was signed by IDEG Chief, Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey.
The statement said, “There is growing public concern that the challenges appear to be intensifying but not receiving adequate and sustained attention from political leaders and policy makers in government”.
“The clearest evidence of this apparent neglect is that the proposed amendments to the 1992 constitution have either not addressed any of these critical challenges or not done so effectively,” it added.
IDEG’s statement comes at a time Ghana is preparing to hold a referendum later this year on proposed changes to the 1992 constitution. The proposed changes, according to the Commission that reviewed the nation’s fundamental laws, will move the two-decade-old document “from a political to a developmental constitution”.
But, IDEG’s statement, which was released Wednesday, suggests that the processes leading to the upcoming referendum seem to have so far failed to address the key issues that threaten the survival of Ghana’s democracy. “The open and inclusive orientation of the CRC process seemed to have [been] reduced to the stage where specific decisions or hard choices had to be made on the reforms. Consequently, the recommendations of the CRC did not appear to have been effectively disseminated to the public and subjected [to] broad-based inclusive and informed public discussions,” it said.
The Civic Forum Initiative and its partners, the statement said, are therefore “proposing a set of complementary reforms aimed at filling the gaps in the constitution review and amendment processes”.
“These inter-locking reforms called the Multi-Party Governance (MPG) Reforms are crucial to: (i) promoting more inclusive government, (ii) eradicating the threat of political violence in the country’s electoral democracy; (iii) strengthening national cohesion; (iv) transforming the public service bureaucracies in effective, professional and impartial services; and (v) transforming the political parties into effective development organizations, not just elections,” it said.
“These reforms, if adopted and implemented, will strengthen the development focus and thrust of the multiparty governance system as well as peace, stability and national unity in 2016 and beyond,” the statement added.