The Executive Director of Civil Society group Institute for Democratic Governance, IDEG, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, has proposed that all former ministers of state be accorded statesmanship status, as part of efforts to encourage political dialogue and also douse partisanship.
Dr Akwetey told Journalists at the end of the Senchi national economic forum on Thursday that the event could have benefitted from the experience of former finance Ministers who served in the Kufuor administration, if political parties had been encouraged to dialogue more.
“You know they have former ministers of state, hon Osafo marfo, hon Osei Akoto and then hon Gyan Baffour. These are men with immense insight and experience,” Dr Akwetey observed, adding that: “They held high positions of the state and because of that, what you see is that they are not just party members. They ride above that because at the taxpayers’ expense, they got the privilege, they served in the office, they grew further and they can render a lot of positive service to the nation.”
The main opposition New Patriotic Party, NPP, boycotted the event. It said it got the invitation late. The party’s leaders also said they didn’t see why their representatives should be part of a forum that sought for consensus on how to move the economy forward when, in their view, the Mahama administration had already started dialoguing with the International Monetary Fund, IMF, about how to salvage the economy.
“It’s a pity they didn’t come because of what was understood as their party’s position, but I think in the future, we should find a way that people like former ministers of state cannot be limited to party structures,” Dr Akwetey suggested.
“They are statesmen, and they could be stateswomen, and when the nation needs them, national interest comes first….It’s a good thing Mr [Kwame] Pianim was here [an Economist and senior member of the NPP]….”
“We should do everything to encourage our parties to talk. Dialogue is the most important channel for resolving our issues. If we don’t dialogue, ultimately we’ll fight. We don’t want to fight,” Dr Akwetey said.
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