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24.10.2007 General News

This Law Must Go - Political Parties Sing In Unison

(from left to right): Prof. Nii Noi Dowuona - CPP General Secretary, Mr Asiedu-Nketiah - NDC General Secretary , Nana Ohene Ntow - NPP General Secretary and Mr Gabriel Pwamang, General Secretary of the PNC.(from left to right): Prof. Nii Noi Dowuona - CPP General Secretary, Mr Asiedu-Nketiah - NDC General Secretary , Nana Ohene Ntow - NPP General Secretary and Mr Gabriel Pwamang, General Secretary of the PNC.

Four political parties with representation in Parliament have agreed to initiate moves towards repealing the law on “wilfully causing financial loss to the state”.

The parties are the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People's Party (CPP) and the People's National Convention (PNC).

A statement signed by the general secretaries of the political parties and policy analysts at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra Tuesday and read by the General Secretary of the NPP, Nana Ohene Ntow, said the parties were convinced that the continued existence of the law on the statute books was inimical to effort to promote reconciliation and goodwill among political parties and players in the country.

The general secretaries, it said, had, therefore, agreed to undertake the necessary education required to create an appropriate environment that would enable the law to be repealed.

The statement also proposed that in order to make the issue of national reconciliation a permanent feature on the nation's political landscape, the National Peace Council (NPC) should be strengthened and designated the Permanent National Council for Reconciliation and Unity (PNCRU), with an expanded mandate to receive complaints of past, present and future abuses and injustices.

Touching on gender issues, the statement said given the importance of mainstreaming gender issues into the national development agenda, the affirmative action policies of the various political parties and the Women's Charter should be harmonised into a National Affirmative Action Policy for Women, to be subsequently converted into legislation with verifiable and enforceable provisions.

The general secretaries called on the government to, as part of the evolution of the National Youth Policy, convene a multi-party National Youth Conference involving the political parties and youth associations and organisations to ensure that whatever policy emerged would be multi-partisan, consensual and truly national.

On the issue of future political transitions, the parties agreed to propose “guidelines for the handling of future transitions” to cover the contents of legislation stating which political and public office holders lost their jobs on the assumption of office of a new President.

The proposal, the statement added, would also cover the issue of treatment of ministers and appointees of the preceding government in terms of accommodation, vehicles, diplomatic passports and other privileges.

The parties also proposed that there should be a reasonable period between the declaration of a winner in the presidential elections and the swearing in of the new President to enable sufficient time for efficient handing over in the event of a change from one party to another.

The general secretaries also made a commitment to ensure that in official party policies, practices, strategies and speeches, the whipping up of ethnic sentiments was avoided.

The Administrator of the IEA, Mrs Jean Mensa, earlier in an address, had commended the parties for coming together to deliberate on issues of national importance.

She said by jointly signing the statement, the parties were demonstrating that consensus provided a win-win situation and asked them to keep to the agreement.

At the beginning of 2007, the Platform of General Secretaries and Policy Analysts of the four main political parties with representation in Parliament considered, as one of its main issues, polarisation in national life, with particular emphasis on politics.

Subsequently, an expert paper on “Polarisation of Ghana's Politics” was commissioned and later deliberated on and approved by the platform.

Story by Ras Liberty Amewode

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