The Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, has challenged Ghanaians to use the multi-party system of governance to find solutions to the challenges being faced by the country.
He reminded all that multi-party democracy was the option for peace.
He added that every country at a point in time had innovated with its system of governance for the solutions to its peculiar challenges; thus, Ghana’s multi-party democracy, with all its challenges, could still be the model to innovate with for solutions to economic and social challenges.
Dr Akwetey said this at a sensitisation workshop for journalists organised under the State of the Union (SoTU) programme of IDEG, and also organised in conjunction with the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI).
Ghana’s hybrid system
Dr Akwetey explained that multi-party democracy was increasingly becoming the preferred system of governance in Africa, as it was the best framework in managing the diversities of the people of Africa.
However, the multi-party system of governance that had been practised by some countries such as Ghana for more than two decades, had its challenges.
He said the country’s hybrid system was tailored in certain respects to the Westminster system or Parliamentary System of the United Kingdom and in other respects to the presidential system of the United States.
However, the similarities of the two systems of governance were only reflected in the election of the President of the country and Parliamentarians.
Explaining further, Dr Akwetey said in the Westminster System as practised in the United Kingdom, parties were heavily regulated, with a focus on local elections and parties having to draft manifestos with the policies and programmes with the full cost included.
The parties also had to hold conferences on their programmes yearly to sensitise people.
In the Parliamentary system in the United States on the other hand, after the election of the president, think-tanks took over, driving policy for the national interest.
Dr Akwetey said when those two systems were juxtaposed to Ghana’s hybrid system, it was evident that the system had not been allowed the needed space for the necessary innovation and growth, because apart from elections for the president and parliamentarians, Ghana’s local authorities functioned under appointed people by the president.
He said journalists had to critically look at the challenges and probe for responses on what actions were needed to resolve the challenges.
Dr Akwetey proposed some critical questions that journalists ought to think about and be guided by in their work.
Some of the questions he posed were whether the country could afford another disruption in its governance because the benefits of democracy were not being felt fast enough, and whether having practised with a system for more than two decades, it was right to do away with the system for a new one because of challenges.
Dr Akwetey proposed solutions, which were ideas that had come out of the work of IDEG and CFI, that could help in the innovation process for solutions to challenges.
Among the solutions were the opening up of the executive branch of governance by the election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives, making elections at the district level party-based and basing assembly elections on a mixed member proportional representation system as the Electoral Commission (EC) had proposed.
He challenged journalists to also probe political parties and find out what they did in between their elections.
He said the political parties in Ghana all functioned contrary to constitutional provisions on the country’s multi-party system.
Earlier, a lecturer at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), Dr Linda Akua Darkwa, took journalists through the AU organs and its structures, and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
She challenged journalists to have a wider perspective on issues, as that would empower them to inform the people on local and national events.
Source: Daily Graphic
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