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18.12.2008 Elections

Rev. Otabil: Poor transitional plan polarized political class

By The Statesman
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Research has shown that the 2001 transition from the NDC government to the NPP has been partly responsible for the extreme polarization of the Ghanaian society.

Mensah Otabil, General Overseer of the  International Central Gospel Church, stated this when he launched the Presidential Transitional Bill,which was initiated by the Institute Of Economic Affairs in collaboration with the political parties in the country.

Again, the research on polarization indicates that there is as much as intra-party polarization as there is inter-party polarization.

"The 2001 transition from the NDC government to the NPP presented a real challenge in transition politics and it was not the smoothest of transitions, 'he added.

The Presidential Transitional Bill, if enacted into law, will seek to ensure the smooth transfer of power from one government to another and also strengthen the pillars of the country's democracy.

Some of the issues the Bill seeks to address include which of the public officials enter into government and leave with the President, what are the entitlements of the President, when the new Speaker of Parliament to be elected, how can we ensure that the new President"s swearing-in ceremony is not unduly delayed.

According to Rev Otabil, there was the need for a law on political transitions in the country to define the dos and don'ts for both the outgoing and the incoming Presidents.

He expressed the hope that the Bill would be passed before the end of the year but said even if it delays it would provide ample guidelines 

for whoever becomes President so that the mistakes of the past are not committed.

Francis Agyemfra of the IEA said there was no precedent to guide the two parties in 2001 that were involved in the transition and therefore many mistakes were made which led to acrimony, tension and ill-feeling.

"The lesson from that transition of 2001 is that we must prepare for future transitions of that nature by agreeing on a multi-partisan framw-work and ground rules and regulation to govern and guide the transitions of the future,' he stated. Brigadier General Agyemfra said some of the considerations in the Bill include guidelines for the treatment of appointees of the former government, the conduct of investigations into the activities of the previous government and its appointees, end of service benefits of departing office holders.

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