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Ghana’s checks and balances, separation of powers merely theoretical, breaks down in practice — Prof Kwasi Prempeh

Headlines Professor Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of Ghana Center of Democratic Development (CCD-Ghana)
TUE, 28 MAY 2024 LISTEN
Professor Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of Ghana Center of Democratic Development (CCD-Ghana)

The partisan nature of Ghana's presidential elections has undermined the country's democratic system of checks and balances, according to a proposal released by Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development.

In the proposal, titled "Putting Country First: The Case for Presidentialism Without Parties", Prempeh argues that Ghana's combination of a presidential system and winner-take-all elections for both the presidency and parliament has led to "toxic results".

Specifically, he believes the separation of powers and checks on the executive branch that are supposed to define the relationship between the legislature and presidency in Ghana merely exist on paper.

Prof Prempeh cites Ghana's political experience, saying "Our experience in this 4th Republic also shows that the separation of powers and checks and balances that is supposed to define the relationship between the legislature and the executive is merely theoretical and breaks down in practice, undercutting Parliament’s executive oversight role and reducing it to a rubberstamp, when a partisan president and the majority in Parliament are of the same party."

The renowned lawyer warns that either a partisan president facing a rival majority in parliament or parliamentary gridlock poses "governability challenges" that undermine good governance.

To address these challenges, Prof Prempeh is proposing a sweeping series of political and constitutional reforms including removing political parties from presidential elections, publicly financing campaigns, and limiting presidents to single six-year terms.

He believes these changes are needed to save Ghana's "fragile democracy" and move the country towards a political system that is less polarized and better able to balance power between branches of government.

Isaac Donkor Distinguished
Isaac Donkor Distinguished

News ReporterPage: IsaacDonkorDistinguished

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