A year-long programme has been launched to celebrate the 30th anniversary of parliamentary democracy in Ghana.
It is on the theme ‘Thirty Years of Parliamentary Democracy under the Fourth Republic: The Journey Thus Far’.
It should be recalled that the country is in its fourth republic because military coups d’etat had truncated three earlier democratic dispensations.
The first dispensation spanned March 6, 1957 – February 24, 1966 (with the country’s republican status itself taking effect from July 1, 1960); second, October 1, 1969 – January 13, 1972; and third, September 24, 1979 – December 31, 1981.
After the alternating civilian and military governments in Ghana, from March 1957 to December 1992, a space of 35 years, on January 7, 1993, a military government, the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), gave way to the Fourth Republic after presidential and parliamentary elections in late 1992.
Ever since January 1993, the country has witnessed eight four-year parliaments, with the eighth one still running till January 6, 2025.
Considering the fact that the first three republics together made only 13 years and barely seven months, it is a great achievement that the Fourth Republic alone has so far run smoothly for 30 years and counting.
It is our hope that the Fourth Republic would never be truncated but we believe that much of that would depend on the country’s political leaders and other public officials.
The theme, ‘Thirty Years of Parliamentary Democracy under the Fourth Republic: The Journey Thus Far’, which has been chosen for the celebration of the country’s 30th anniversary of parliamentary democracy must speak to the whole nation.
The country is being touted all over the globe as a good example of democracy in Africa because over the past 30 years, it has had eight administrations through peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections and the country is peaceful.
Has it been all rosy? What has that achievement translated into as benefits for the totality of the people?
Some developments have taken place in all sectors of the economy, though.
For instance, there is now a Free Senior High School education for qualified children and we can guess that every household or family in the country has benefited from it.
However, there are problems that must be tackled head-on for the benefit of the masses, particularly the vulnerable in the society.
The speculation in the market which is fanning the ever-rising cost of living must be checked.
Even though there is a health insurance system in place, because it does not cover all diseases and prescriptions, the poor are smarting under it.
Universities are charging outrageous fees and care less about the situation and the government seems helpless in checking this.
Today, some parts of the country do not have electricity and or water and even where there is water, it is mostly being rationed.
On top of these and other problems affecting mostly the common people are corruption and other misdeeds in high places, which have become difficult to fight because of acidic partisanship fanned by politicians for their parochial interests.
The country, no doubt, can chronicle a lot of achievements in the political space but since every country’s political performance affects other sectors of its economy, we encourage the political establishment to order things well for all these sectors to meet the needs and aspirations of the people.
In the meantime, we wish the country a successful 30th anniversary of parliamentary democracy.