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General News of Sunday, 27 April 2014

Source: Graphic Online

National Interest Dialogue to be launched on Monday

The Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) and its partners have proposed a set of complementary reforms aimed at filling the gaps in the constitutional review and amendment processes.

They expressed the confidence that if implemented, these inter-locking reforms, termed the Multi - Party Governance (MPG) Reforms, would strengthen the development focus and thrust of the multiparty governance system, as well as peace, stability and national unity towards the 2016 elections and beyond.

A statement issued by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) in Accra last Wednesday said on Monday, April 28, the proposed reforms would be made public in Accra with the launch of an accompanying nation-wide conversation and campaign under the topic: 'The Urgency for Multi-party Governance Reforms, before 2016 Elections.’

The programme dubbed the National Interest Dialogue, will be held at the Movenpick Hotel in Accra.

“The conversations and campaign have been packaged as the first events of the National Interest Dialogue that will serve as a standing mechanism for promoting broad-based and inclusive participation in the constitutional amendment process and Multi-party Governance Reforms, “ it added.

Neglect of proposed constitutional amendments.

The statement said the apparent neglect of the proposed amendments to the 1992 Constitution by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) posed a threat to democratic development and national cohesion.

“The open and inclusive orientation of the CRC process seemed to have reduced as the process advanced 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,” the statement said.

Democratic challenges:

The statement said in spite of the strides the nation had made in its democratic development leading to the holding of six successful parliamentary and presidential elections, a critical analysis of events revealed inherent challenges that needed to be tackled if the peace and stability achieved so far was to be maintained.

It mentioned the challenges to include the recurring threat of political violence in democratic national elections, weakening of national cohesion, and politicisation, corruption and paralysis of the public service bureaucracies.

The others were the challenge arising out of a political duopoly that promotes self-serving politics and exclusionary government, and 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.

Collectively, they underscore the fragility of the multiparty governance system and pose serious risks to its stability, peace and sustainability in the long-term,” the statement said.

It said there was growing public concern about the intensification of the challenges and the apparent lack of adequate and sustained attention from political leaders and policy-makers in government.

Benefits of CFI proposals:

The benefits, according to the statement, included the promotion of more inclusive government; eradication of the threat of political violence in the country's electoral democracy; the strengthening of national cohesion; transforming the public service bureaucracies for effective, professional and impartial services; and transforming the political parties into effective development organisations rather than being election machines only.

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