Let’s create 2nd Chamber to replace Council of State – Former President Kufour advocates

Former President, Mr John Agyekum Kufuor is proposing the creation of a Second Chamber to replace the Council of State in order to enhance effective democratic governance.

Such a Chamber, he said, should not solely be constituted based on democratic line but on proven experience, public spiritedness, prudence, maturity and care for national inclusiveness.

The former President was speaking at a seminar held at his residence at Peduase in the Eastern region on Tuesday.

The seminar was one of the series of seminars organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) to engage stakeholders in a discourse on the review of the 1992 Constitution.

The Council of State is a body of prominent citizens, analogous to the Council of Elders in the traditional political system, which advises the President on national issues.

According to Kufuor, the Council of State was not fit for purpose considering the democratic system the country practised where majority always won election and are most at times largely represented in Parliament.

He explained, that having a majority representation in Parliament might not entirely lead to national development as the majority might not be informed enough to be able to influence government policy and its implementation.

“I don’t think the Council is fit for purpose given the state of development of our country, given the fact that the nation is committed to practicing democratic governance where majority may carry the day,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean the majority might be informed enough to be able to influence policy and its implementation in ways that will conduce to enlightened development that the central purpose of the constitution want,” he added.

The proposed second chamber, Kufuor said, must be allowed to operate openly and independent as the “wisdom” that would emanate from its deliberations would not only impact the President but other organs of government and the public at large.

He also expressed dissatisfaction with the idea of the President appointing 50 percent of Ministers as well as heads of local government which he said could hinder good democratic governance.

The former President indicated that political parties must have a place in the country’s local government system since they expressed the concerns of the will of its members in accordance with the rule of law.

However, he opined that in as much as political parties must have a place in the local government system, it must be used as a nursery of future leaders at the national level.

In terms of financing at the local level, former President Kufuor asserted that it would be difficult to mention a specific budget as the localities were not equally endowed.

Additionally, he noted that for the central government to adequately finance the local government it must encourage the creation of wealth through public-private partnership, citing Nigeria as an example.

Meanwhile, Kufuor said issue ofan increase in monecracy in political party financingcould be to population growth and the economic difficulties and therefore called for the development of policies in that regard.

He also underscored the need of the tenure of office of the Presidency to be reviewed as it did not allow for a progressive national development.


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