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15.10.2008 Politics

IEA to roll out democracy consolidation strategy

By The Statesman

Management of Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA Ghana) on Monday briefed the media on highlights of the Democracy Consolidation Strategy Paper to be launched today October 15, to enhance constitutional democracy.

The highlight includes the setting-up of an All Party Constitutional Review Committee to prepare towards holding a Constitutional Review Conference to consider discussions for proposed amendment of portions of the 1992 Constitution.

The Review Committee would also group proposals for amendments under the entrenched and non-entrenched provisions in conformity with the Constitutional procedure for amendment, Kwamena Ahwoi, member of the three-member IEA Ghana Consultants, told newsmen in Accra.

The Consultants also recommended the setting-up of an 11-member Ghana Centre for Multi-Party Democracy comprising members of the People's National Convention, New Patriotic Party, Convention People"s Party and National Democratic Congress to see to the implementation of the review conference recommendations.

Others members of the GCMPD are executive, legislature, judiciary, independent institutions, governance institutions and the National Media Commission.

Mr Ahwoi who led the team including, William Ahadzi, a Political Science Lecturer and Professor Yaw Twumasi, Former Political Science Lecturer, explained that a bill for amendment of an entrenched provision before it was tabled in Parliament had to pass through the Speaker to the Council of State for advice.

The Council is mandated to offer its advice on the bill within 30 days after receiving it, publish it in the Gazette but shall not be introduced into Parliament until the expiry of six months after the publication.

He said after first reading of the bill in Parliament, "it shall not be proceeded with further unless it has been submitted to a referendum held throughout Ghana and at least 40 percent of the persons entitled to vote, voted at the referendum and at least 75 percent of the persons who voted cast their votes in favour of the passing of the bill.

'Where the bill is approved at the referendum, Parliament shall pass it.'

Mr Ahwoi, who was a Former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development under the NDC, said the consultants had recommended to the Judiciary to initiate the necessary steps for transforming its operations.

The consultants recommended the immediate training mechanism for para-legal staff, including the registrar, bailiffs, Commissioner of Oaths and other judicial staff who daily interacted with the public.

He said the Legal Aid Scheme Act needed to be reviewed, rejuvenated and popularised to ensure that it operated to the benefit of the poor, converting of prosecuting department.

The consultants also recommended the establishment of Ghana Women Conference and Ghana Youth Conference to draw national policy on women and the youth.

Dr Ahadzi said the DCSP document also focused on anti-corruption agenda, media, traditional institutions and role of civil society organisations.

He said the DCSP was the initiative of Ghana Political Parties Platform -parties with representation in Parliament including New Patriotic Party, National Democratic Congress, People's National Convention and the Convention People's Party.

Dr Ahadzi said the consultants also called for the setting-up of an Electoral System Fund.