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Opinions of Sunday, 19 April 2009

Columnist: Ayisi, Gabriel A.

Some Things That Need To Change In Ghana’s Political Landscape:

AMEND THE CONSTITUTION TO ALLOW THE ELECTION FO MAYORS, DCES, AND MCEs The fact that DCEs and MCEs are appointed is fundamentally flawed. Apart from the fact that it gives too many powers to the ruling government, and the President per se, it results in inefficiency because they become nothing but YES MEN and kowtow to the wishes and whims of the government to the disadvantage of the people they represent. In effect, the process disenfranchises the electorate. The citizens must be allowed to elect whom they want to manage their cities, districts and municipalities. The present system where the president/ruling party appoints the Mayors, DCEs, and MCEs is also fraught with corruption and open to manipulation. Some of these manipulations are playing in the present administration where citizens are being influenced to reject the president’s choice.

ASSET DECLARATION

Asset declaration by politicians must be laid in the public domain through publication in the dailies so that we can compare the BEFORE and AFTER ECONOMIC METAMORPHOSIS of our politicians in a very transparent and accountable manner. BEING IN OFFICE FOR JUST FOUR YEAR CAN TRANSFORM A PERSON’S ECONOMIC STATUS BY ABOUT 5000% THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG SOMEWHERE. SALE OF STATE PROPERTY TO POLITICIANS

Politicians must not be allowed to buy State properties (Buildings and Cars) when leaving office. They should buy their cars on the open market just like everyone else. These properties, if they must be sold, must be auctioned to the general population. Example, If chancellors, lecturers are not allowed to buy cars and other property belonging to the Public Universities upon leaving office, why should we allow politicians a privilege that is skewed in their favor? If the medical doctor cannot take away property that belongs to the hospital upon his/her retirement, why should the politician be allowed such a privilege? All of us contribute to the development of the nation, therefore, no one class of people should be allowed to steal in a legitimate manner. No one is above the law…we are all equal in the face of the law.

BUREAU OF NATIONAL INVESTIGATIONS (BNI).

Bureau of National Investigations must be set up in a way where it is not seen as an arm of the sitting government so that it can prosecute everyone and anyone without its actions being interpreted as politically biased. We need to stop politicizing our criminal investigations. If we do not, politicians who run afoul of the law will always hide behind what has become known as “Political Witch-hunt” and use it to avoid prosecution for their misdeeds.

VOTER REGISTERS

The Electoral commission must publicize the voter register (the total number of registered voters in every region) to avert the inflation of registered voters as occurred in the VOLTA and ASHANTI REGIONS, printing of fake ballots and double voting, etc.

MINISTERS OF STATE AND OTHER POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS

Ministers must have solid academic and professional backgrounds that are commensurate with the ministries they head. We must stop putting square pegs in round holes.

Other Political appointments must be inclusive—The President could reach across the political divide and the general population at large based on merit and not just political or tribal affiliations.

THE COUNCIL OF STATE

The Council of State should be above politics. Membership of the Council of State should be for life. In addition to distinguished Ghanaians could be appointed to the council, ex-presidents automatically, unless disqualified for corruption, become members of the council of State.

Others suggestions are welcome to streamline our democratic political journey and growth.

Dr. Gabriel A. Ayisi New York