Politics of Thursday, 20 September 2012
The Constitution Review Commission (CRC) has affirmed the constitutional mandate of the Electoral Commission (EC) to review the number of constituencies represented in Parliament.
The CRC also proposes a democratic system which requires meaningful participation and representation that integrates all societal groups – religious, ethnic, tribal, political, gender, socioeconomic, cultural and other minority groups into the decision-making process.
A CRC report on the: “Composition of Parliament,” obtained by Ghana News Agency on Thursday indicates that the Commission asserts that Parliament should reflect the diverse communities from which they come.
“Minority groups should not be systematically excluded from being represented...improving the representation of Parliament will strengthen its ability to reach out to all sectors of society,” the CRC stated.
The Commission noted that Parliament must be institutionally designed to produce a representational outcome that facilitates broad-based participation and requisite capacities in the democratic process.
The CRC therefore calls for appropriate electoral designs to ensure that all groups have a voice in Parliament, “thereby transforming the legislature from a collection of select members into an arena where differences can be dealt with and conflict managed.
“EC should therefore study the system of proportional representation for deployment in the future”.
The Commission observed that such proportional representation will balanced the tide of power as women and other minority groups continued to be under-represented at decision-making levels.
“In parliament today, the number of women is anything but fair, with only 19 women out of 230 parliamentarians, Ghana is rated among the lowest on the continent as compared to countries such as Rwanda, with 45 out of 80.
“South Africa through voluntary political party allocations has 172 women out of 400, representing 45 per cent of parliamentarians. Senegal without any particular legislation on representation of women had, in 2007, 40 women out of a total parliamentary representation of 100 members, representing 40 per cent”.
In a related development, a survey conducted by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) obtained by the GNA indicates that about 69.8 per cent of respondent expressed their willingness to vote for a woman as a Member of Parliament in the December polls, whilst 29.2 per cent indicated they will vote against a woman.
On willingness to vote for a Woman as President of the nation about 50 per cent said yes whilst about 49 per cent said no with about 1.1 per cent not sure of their vote.
Despite the fact that 5,233 respondents said they will vote for a woman as MP, only 3,580 said they will vote for a woman as President.
Regional statistics indicates that 72.2 per cent of respondents in the Northern Region said they will vote for a Woman as President; Upper East 68.5 per cent; Upper West 58.6 per cent; Eastern 49.4 per cent; Volta 46.25 per cent; Brong Ahafo 46.2 per cent; Greater Accra 46 per cent; Western 45.3 per cent; Central 45 per cent; and Ashanti 41.8 per cent.
In an interview, Mrs Charlotte Osei, NCCE Chairman, explained to the GNA that the objective of the survey was to collate information on matters of concern to the Ghanaian voters; provide political parties with issues that voters would like them to address and analyze matters of concern based on gender, age and identify whether there were any differences among the electorates.
The survey also seeks to provide electoral candidates with critical areas that Ghanaians and their constituents want them to address concerning the matters raised.
Mrs. Osei said the study was designed as a representative nationwide sample survey throughout the 230 Constituencies. In all 7,497 questionnaires were administered.