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Opinions of Sunday, 25 August 2013

Columnist: Boateng, Immanuel Okrah

Ghana would be better off if NPP wins

If Ghanaians have genuinely been asking for the separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution and an end to the canker of corruption in our systems, then the best opportunity to answer this is here. But it all comes down to the historic decision by the Supreme Court (SC) justices on August 29th.

To put it in perspective, supposing the pending verdict goes in favor of the NPP, the three arms of government would effectively be rendered independent. We would have an Executive with minority in parliament, an opposition-dominated Legislature and an enviable independent Judiciary. The benefits from such a setup would be enormous.

Should the above happen, then the doctrine of separation of powers would have been inadvertently put into force and checks and balances wouldn’t be a big deal. The abuse of Executive powers would be curtailed; the Legislature wouldn’t be under any duress to pass Executive bills into laws due to intimidation or manipulation by the Executive; and debates would take a bi-partisan approach so that the best decisions would be taken in the best interest of the country.

The Judiciary, having proven to the whole nation and the rest of the world that they are no Executive stooges would have the guts to ensure that the constitution and the laws of which they are the custodians were strictly adhered to by politicians and public office holders. Then a system would emerge in the Ghanaian democracy where “ambition [would] be made to counteract ambition,” as predicted by one of the framers of the famous US Constitution, James Madison. This is the only way our democracy would be given a true meaning. In what follows I would show you the benefits of such a systematic setup.

Ghanaians are sick and tired of the AFRC’s tenet of probity and accountability, which is nothing but an empty cliché. And, likewise, want to forget about the zero tolerance for corruption mantra, quickly. What they yearn for is a pragmatic system in which the calls for accountability government would no longer be necessary but would rather be a product of the system. This would be the biggest benefit of the above system. For, over the years we’ve come to realize that lack of accountability is a systemic problem.

Therefore, when a system of accountability is put in place, who are you, oh corruption before the system of separation of powers and checks and balances you shall be brought low.

I strongly believe this is the type of calls all politicians and political analysts should be making instead of calls for peace and power-sharing. This is the finest opportunity for our nation to enrich our democracy. And do it, we must, if we want to see our nation develop.

But there’s a hurdle to clear. In case the SC’s decision goes the NPP way, I personally foresee a transitioning problem. Given the facts about the current political situation, the tendency for violence is very rife. Therefore, the incoming NPP administration needs to form a transition team which comprises people of wisdom, who would use optimum precaution and tact to get the outgoing NDC government hand over power peacefully. The new administration must also restrain their party activists from engaging in the seizure of government official vehicles and other property to prevent chaos and disorder. The outgoing administration must also live up to their pledge to commit to peace.

In my wishful thinking, I wish I had the justices’ ears and hearts too, but trust that whatever their decision, justice would be served the good people of Ghana. MAY GOD BLESS GHANA. SHALOM!