Politics of Thursday, 4 July 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

PPP drawing up new constitution

The National Secretary of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Mr Kofi Asamoah-Siaw, has hinted that the National Committee of the party is drawing up a new constitution for the party.

He said the new constitution hopefully would be completed before the party’s National Convention where all paid up members of the party and card bearing members would be eligible to vote to elect their national executives.

The national secretary explained that the PPP was determined to democratise the party from the lowest level saying, “it is the goal of the party to have all paid up members facilitated to attend the national convention and have a say on who would be their national executives and presidential candidate.

Mr Asamoah-Siaw said the first national convention of the party took place in Accra on February 25, 2012, where the present executives were elected.

He said one of the key reform issues discussed with the grassroots of the party were the election of municipal, metropolitan and district chief executives through direct and popular elections.

He said the PPP was proposing these reforms because they wanted to offer Ghanaians the opportunity to elect their leaders at the grassroots level instead of the President appointing them which bred a system of political patronage and the winner takes all architecture.

Mr Asamoah-Siaw said the PPP would like the Attorney General’s Department to be separated from the Ministry of Justice’s office.

This will make the Attorney General completely independent of the executive, to be held accountable in order to prevent what he described as “elected dictatorship in the body politics of the country.”

He also said that the PPP was campaigning for reforms so that members of Parliament who were appointed ministers left their seats in Parliament.

This will call for a by-election to be conducted in their constituencies for new MPs to replace them.

Presently, he said, MPs had a tendency to behave in a certain manner to catch the eye of the President for a ministerial position.

He said the core functions of Parliament, which was to hold the executive accountable for its actions, had been greatly compromised.

He said in its wake, conflict of interest had been the order of the day and separation of powers relegated to the background.

Mr Asamoah-Siaw said the PPP was also calling for reforms of the electoral system from biometric verification to electronic voting.

This he explained, would minimise the human element in the electoral system since according to Mr Asamoah-Siaw “ there were too many people involved in the electoral system.”

He also called for a voter education on the electronic system to improve standards of the electoral system.

The National Secretary said institutions especially the media could be brought on board to assist in the voter education on the electronic voting systems saying “ it is not enough to say that Ghanaians were not prepared for the electronic voting because of inadequate education on the system.”

Mr Asamoah-Siaw said the country could not afford to live with the numerous limitations of the present biometric system for ever since it would not augur well for the democratic dispensation the country had embarked upon.