Winner-Takes-All system inhibits devt – Lecturer

xxxxxA Political Scientist, Dr. Ransford Gyampo, has bemoaned the Winner-Takes-All (WTA)  political system being practised in the country, saying it  is inimical to the country’s  development.

According to him, “the WTA   promotes politics of exclusivity and alienates capable and knowledgeable Ghanaians from the democratic process”.

Dr. Gyampo, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, made the observation in Accra yesterday, at a roundtable discussion on the WTA systems.

It was organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). He  said  effective decentralisation was a cure to the  WTA  canker.

The programme  with the theme, “Dealing with Ghana’s Winner-Takes-All Politics:  The Case for Effective Decentralisation,” was attended by representatives  of the political parties, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society organisations and development and donor partners, as well as the media.

Dr. Gyampo, also  a senior Research Fellow of IEA,  who presented a paper  on the theme of the programme,  said the WTA marginalised the citizens, especially, those at the  local level,  from actively participating in  the governance process.

He  defined the Winner-Takes-All politics as “a political mechanism for facilitating the inclusion and exclusion of individuals, groups and classes of persons from the spoils of political power, national governance, as well as the conferment of economic advantages to only those who win political power”.

He said because under the WTA, the ruling party offered jobs and positions to party cronies, instead of appointing qualified individuals to fill those vacancies,those who felt neglected in the governance process, especially in areas not the stronghold of the ruling government, could sabotage  government projects.

Dr. Gyampo suggested that the decentralisation system,  started  in 1988 to promote grassroots participation in governance, should be strengthened  to promote inclusive governance.

He suggested that MMDEs  should be allowed to be elected by locals, instead of being appointed by the President, saying “if local people  are capable to select the President, why can’t they participate to select their local leaders.”

Dr. Gyampo  also called for an Independent Body to oversee the appointment of  individuals to fill national positions, in a bid to reduce the extensive power given  the President to appoint state officials and also reduce the politics of patronage.

An Adjunct Senior Fellow of IEA, Professor Joseph Atsu Ayee, in his remarks said decentralisation should prominently feature in the manifesto of the political parties, saying decentralisation was key to promoting inclusive governance and facilitating the development of the country.

He also stressed that the tenure and excessive power given to the President should be highlighted in the report of the Constitution Revision Committee, which is yet to be published.

Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, The Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey, said the WTA was borne out of the constitutional and governance system being practised in the country.

He expressed concern that the country did not have a strong civil society to play a watchdog role on government and its appointees.

In his response Mr. Rashid Pelpuo, Minister of State at the Presidency, in-charge of Public-Public-Partnership, said the country’s constitution and governance was  based on the country’s aspirations and  historical experience.

He emphasised the need for “sober reflections,” in a bid to initiate a new political and governance system to meet current aspirations of the country.

By Kingsley Asare


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