Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director of Afrobarometre, a non-profit organisation, has advocated the amendment of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution to reduce the executive powers of the president, as part of efforts to address the “Winner Takes All” syndrome.
He said this at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development’s (CDD-Ghana) in Accra recently, during a roundtable discussion on former President Jerry John Rawlings and Democratic Development in the Fourth Republic.
He said the constitutional review was essential and necessary for the existence and continuous progress of the nation.
“Secondly, we have got to also change the culture of Ghana; we have to significantly mend our ways, and one of the ways to do that as history has shown over and over again is to have citizens who have a real sense of duty,” he said.
Prof. Gyimah-Boadi explained that;“Duty, meaning the willingness to pay your taxes, being available for national service if the nation needs you, making yourself available for voting if you have to vote, making sacrifices and bringing a balance to this idea that you can have citizenship without obligations.
Because it is that imbalance that makes us all sit somewhere and say that well ‘CDD you talk corruption, some people are being corrupt, go and talk about it and then I do not have any part in this’.
We have to change that. And we do that because we do not recognise ourselves as citizens but rather as clients.”
Dr Christine Amoako-Nuamah, a former Minister for Education and a former Presidential Staffer, said there was the need for Ghanaians to build upon some of the legacies of former President Jerry John Rawlings.
She suggested that there should be a vibrant civic education in order to get the citizenry well informed on the civic rights and responsibilities.
Mr Kwasi Oppong-Ofosu, a former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said former President Jerry John Rawlings was a not reluctant democrat.
“He was thrust on us by some groups, especially June 4 and all that. So, when I reflect, I tell myself that if we had not experience all that in our body politics or exercise of leadership, we would not have even known Jerry Rawlings, he would have been retired as an army officer but exigencies of the time brought him into the limelight,” Mr Oppong-Ofosu said.
“So, what are the lessons? Did we learn anything from that or are we back on the issues of exercising power with impunity? Are we on the path of a bracing corruption and all the issues that resulted in we having Jerry Rawlings as a leader?
Even though people say he was reluctant, but he raised some concerns about party politics. And his concerns at the time was that party politics attracts corrupt practices. Are we doing transformational politics or transaction politics?” Mr Oppong-Ofosu quizzed.
“These are some of the issues that are going forward, we have to address in our minds, because if we continue the way we are going with electing leaders in our political parties to national offices to various offices through the system of transaction.
“What it means is that we are inviting corruption into the body politics and these are some of the reasons that occasioned the emergence of Jerry Rawlings and we need to really address these issues in our democratic dispensation.”
Dr George Bob-Milliar, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science and History, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, hailed former President Rawlings for championing Ghana’s socio-economic development agenda during his tenure as Head of State/President.
He also commended the former President for creating the Upper West Region out of the then Upper Region, which had led to the acceleration of the socio-economic development of the region.
Dr Bob-Milliar said in the past, Ghanaians really sacrificed for the nation, saying that the current generation however, was not interested in that, which was a worry.
Mr Francis Tsegah, a Senior Research Fellow, CDD-Ghana, said CDD Roundtables offered an avenue and a space for well-informed discussions and conversations on various topics of national interest.