Participants in a consultative forum in Takoradi have called on Ghanaians to change their attitude towards politics and let the interest of the nation be paramount in all their endeavours.
According to them, there was the need to sensitise Ghanaians to their civic responsibilities and also instil in them a sense of nationalism to move the nation forward.
While some of the participants called for the amendment of the Constitution to change the winner-takes-all system of governance because it had led to polarisation, others contended that there was nothing wrong with the Constitution, except that the negative attitude of people towards politics had led to the polarisation.
The forum, which was held last Tuesday, formed part of nationwide consultations being organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs/Winner-Takes-All (IEA/WTA) Advisory Committee.
The aim is to mobilise support for the need to rethink Ghana’s “winner-takes-all” (WTA) system of governance, which is considered to be the basis for the deep-seated polarisation in the country, as the 1992 Constitution undergoes a review.
Opening the forum, the Chairman of the IEA/WTA Advisory Committee, Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, said there was the need for Ghanaians to reflect on where they had come from since the past 20 years; where they were now, and where they were going.
He said the past two general elections had been characterised by violence and brought the nation to the brink of conflict.
Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle, who is also the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, said despite the stage that the constitution review process had reached, “we feel that there are still some issues that have to be addressed to forestall violence”.
Some of the participants said there was nothing in the Constitution that suggested that only members of the ruling party should govern the country.
In their view, the problem had to do with people’s negative attitudes towards politics.
According to them, the only way for the nation to move forward is to change such negative attitudes.
“Our attitudes must change and it should be embodied in our syllabi to be taught in schools for children to imbibe,” Madam Dorcas Annan, a tutor at Ola College of Education in Cape Coast, stated.
Needs of people
The Supervising High Court Judge in the Central Region, Justice James Benuyenah Benson, said with the increasing rate of graduate unemployment, many people felt alienated from the governance of the country.
He said any system of governance that did not address the needs of the people would have challenges, and added that if care was not taken, the country would experience the Arab Spring.
“The feeling of alienation, the feeling of non-recognition, makes people become revolutionary,” he remarked.
Justice Benson said democracy in the country had now become what he described as “democrisis,” in which case people spoke anyhow and even insulted the elderly.
According to him, without good practices, even if experts in the world came to Ghana to write the country’s Constitution, we would still not get anywhere.
A private legal practitioner, Mr Supi Nkrumah Bentsi-Enchill, said the 1992 Constitution needed a complete overhaul.
He recommended the adoption of proportional representation under a federal system of governance as against the unitary system of governance currently being practised in the country, describing the former as a colonial legacy and a “museum piece”.
An official of the National Youth Authority, Mr Joe Appiah, said the ruling party was normally uncomfortable to invite members of the opposition to join its government because of mistrust and the fear that the opposition members would sabotage the government’s policies.
An assembly member, who is visually-impaired, Mr James Atieku, recommended the adoption of practices in Uganda and Denmark where people with disability and women were given representation in Parliament.
He called for a review of the constitutional provision that gave the President the prerogative to appoint district chief executives and some assembly members, insisting that they should all be elected.
Source: Daily Graphic
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