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Politics of Thursday, 27 September 2007

Source: GNA

Election 2008 - Would Mensah Also Land Safely?

A GNA Feature by Paul Achonga Kwode

Tamale, Sept.27, GNA - As Election 2008 approaches things have begun to take shape. It is becoming apparent by the hour that the Third President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana is likely to be a Mensah, as no woman has yet, even remotely, indicated her willingness to contest for the highest office of the land.

Some political analysts have already predicted that Election 2008 would be the most competitive election ever in the history of the country.

The question is: Would Mensah also have a smooth landing as Piesie Jerry John Rawlings and Manu John Agyekum Kufuor did?

It is the duty of every Ghanaian to ensure that Mensah also lands safely and this means we should all be prepared to pay the price of freedom - eternal vigilance - lest any adventurer sneaks into the ultra-modern Flagstaff House.

"Democracy (Government by the People) describes a series of related forms of government. With origins in ancient Greece, Rome and South Asia, democracy has gradually grown and expanded throughout history. Today, democracy is the predominant form of government in the world. The term democracy is typically used in the context of a political state; the principles are also applicable to other groups and organizations", (source; Wikipedia Foundation of US).

Democracy could also mean the rule by the people; government by the consent of the governed, either directly or indirectly through the election of representatives based on the principles of individual dignity, majority rule, liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities. New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) define democracy as a system of government in which people effectively and meaningfully participate in the decision-making processes that affect their lives and livelihood.

Governance is also defined as the art and skill of utilizing political or collective power for the management of society at all levels - be it economic, social or political from the smallest village to the largest nation. Democracy and good political governance are basic foundations for the promotion of human development and the alleviation of poverty and indeed, for reaching NEPAD's overreaching objectives.

Ghana, for that matter the rest of Africa had its system of democracy centuries before the arrival of Europeans. That system of democracy could be termed ancient democracy, which even aided indirect rule to work easily during the Colonial Era. In ancient democracy, which is still practised in parts of Africa by tribes and clans, an individual from the royal family is usually nominated; vetted by the elders or kingmakers before being accepted. The individual normally rules for life contingent on good governance and proper behaviour. Democracy in modern times has evolved into what may be termed as indirect democracy.

Justice G. L. Lamptey in tracing the years of constitutional rule (constitutional democracy) in Ghana said constitutional rule in Ghana began on 6th March, 1844, in the then Gold Coast when the Lieutenant Governor, H. W. Hill, representing the Queen of Britain and Ireland, signed the Bond of 1844 with the King of Denkyira and seven Chiefs in present day Central Region of Ghana.

On 1st July 1960, Ghana became a Republic with the Convention People's Party (CPP) pursuant to the 1960 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. This Constitution, however, did not stand the test of time and was over-thrown on February 24 1966.

On October 2, 1969 the Progress Party (PP) came to power under the Second Republican Constitution. The system had a ceremonial president and an executive prime minister - on the lines of Westminster - but it was also proscribed on January 13, 1972.

Democracy resurfaced with the People's National Party (PNP) on September 24, 1979 under the Third Republican Constitution, which was fashioned after the American type of democratic government where all the Ministers of State were from outside Parliament. The PNP was also overthrown on December 31 1981.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 6 1993 came to power under the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution. It managed to survive and handed over power successfully to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on January 7 2000 to date.


Ghana has been described by the NEPAD and the APRM as the "trailblazer and a torchbearer" for the rest of Africa in the fight for independence and democracy.

The stakes in Election 2008 are very high and already the cacophony electioneering is heard across the length breadth of the country. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has already settled on Former Vice President John Evans Atta Mills, who like the wise cricket with one leg, has started digging its hole long before the rainy season with the launch of his house to house campaign. He knows for sure that he cannot match the resources incumbency would bestow on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate.

It is now clear that the Convention People's Party (CPP) is bestirring and would hit the campaign trail with a bang. The Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) is also working feverishly and so are the People's National Convention (PNC) and other political parties.


Representative liberal democracy, which Ghana has adopted, puts the sovereign political power of the State in the hands of the electorate. The 1992 Fourth Republic Constitution of Ghana, Article one state: "The sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised in the manner and within the limits laid down in this Constitution".

This means that the race for the ultra-modern Flagstaff House would be determined by the number of thumb-printed ballot papers each candidate would obtain in Election 2008. The question is: Would it be CPP; DFP; NDC; NPP; PNC or any of the new parties? The listing has been done alphabetically. 27 Sept. 07