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Politics of Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Source: GNA

IDEG organises seminar on political and administrative transitions

Accra, Feb. 29, GNA - The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) on Wednesday organised a seminar to educate the media and other stakeholders on issues of Political and Administrative Transitions.

The seminar on the theme: “Reflections on Issues in Political and Administrative Transitions”, was the first in the series of critical discussions on various political issues of national concern.

Mr Kwesi Jonah, a Senior Research Fellow with IDEG, said although Ghana had been cited as an excellent model to democratic governance on the African Continent, she was saddled with the challenge of smooth transition of power.

“We as a country have taken the issue of power transition for granted since the country opted for a multi-party democratic system of governance in the early1990s”.

He noted that although Ghana had successfully alternated power for two consecutive times and successfully held general elections for five times, she still lacked in depth knowledge on proper transitional processes to prevent potential conflicts and hatred between political parties.

Nana Ato Dadzie, Former Chief of Staff under Former President Jerry John Rawlings, said transitional period in governance constituted a crucial period that must be carefully handled as a result of the leadership vaccum.

He called on Parliament to hasten passage of the Transitional Bill which would provide a consensual approach to the transitional process, clearly defining the processes and give reasonable time set for handing over of power.

Nana Dadzie noted that the absence of a constitutionally mandated institution to effectively handle transitional processes in the country gave clear indication of an institutional gap and weakness in the democratic process which needed urgent redress.

“The absence of such an institution poses a stiff and humiliating situation for the losing team, as they are often given no time at all to do proper handing over,” adding “It takes six months to fix a government, but barely seven days to hand over”.

He advocated for the institution of an administrative body to be headed by an Administrative – General who would keep archival records of all national assets and important documents in trust for effective hand over to the incoming government.

Nana Dadzie indicated that the Office of the Administrative-General must be established by law and must be equivalent to that of an Appeal Court Judge to leverage higher political office holders and handle issues including payment of end of service benefits to the President.

He said it was such a body that would plan for the transitional processes including swearing-in of the incumbent President and ensure an accurate briefing on national security situations to the in-coming Presidency.

Nana Dadzie said this would eliminate the face to face humiliation and confrontations between two opposing parties that often bred bitterness and hatred.

He lauded the constitution of an Inter-Party Advisory Committee by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), but called for a Transitional Advisory Body which would play a consultative role to the transitional process.

Nana Dadzie said intensified media and public education must be done to disabuse the wrong impression created as if the transitional period marked a time of trial for the loosing team, adding, such periods must be smooth to ensure continuous peace and development.

He indicated that utterances of political heads were critical and urged both parties to accept the fact that the new era of democratic governance had its own challenges as far as the transitional processes were concerned.

Nana Dadzie said democratic disposition of the leadership of political parties was critical to sustaining the democratic disposition of the country and must not allow the transitional process to weigh down the economic and development process of the country.