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25.03.2009 Politics

Lecturer suggests new electoral system for Ghana


Dr Henry F. Akplu, a lecturer at University of Cape Coast (UCC) School of Business, on Tuesday suggested a Closed Party List System of Governance for Ghana.

He said the electoral process in Ghana should adopt such an all inclusive government because 'the winner takes all system” was not good for the country.

Dr Akplu made the suggestion during a debate organised by Coalition for African Unity (CAU) for students of Casely Hayford Hall (CASFORD) and Atlantic Hall (ATL) on the topic “Leadership is the greatest obstacle to Africa's integration”.

He explained that, under the system, a party would conduct its primaries and submit list of candidates arranged in order of preference or merit to the Electoral Commission (EC).

Dr Akplu said after the general elections, the number of seats allocated to a particular political party was determined by the proportion of votes it won and those elected to Parliament.

“It would be imperative for Ghana to adopt its own electoral system because the 'Winner-Takes-All System' of governance does not really produce a true representation of the people, “he said.

“Theoretically, a party can win an election with 35 per cent of the total votes cast if the remaining 65 per cent of the votes cast scattered thinly among the other political parties,” he said.

Dr Akplu said under the suggested system, the stakes were high and no temptation to cheat or indulge in vote rigging, adding “we survived the near fatal Election 2008 but we cannot be sure of making it through such situations all the time”.

He said the system would compel the electorate to choose between potential winners, giving the smaller political parties little chance of growing, eventually leading the country to become a two-party state.

Dr Akplu said the current system was too expensive since the political parties invest in campaigning and expressed concern about how the country was granted loan to conduct elections but politicians distributed T-shirts and other party paraphernalia, erected expensive billboards, hired crowds and paid money for votes.

He said government was unable to tackle indiscipline and corruption, adding “if you engage in indiscipline behaviour, just support the political party in power loudly and you are protected”.

Dr Akplu said since at the grassroots the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies oversee their administration, parliamentarians should be at the national level and the country taken as “one big constituency”.

He therefore suggested a 200-member Parliament with 40 seats reserved for women and four indigenes from each region.

Dr Akplu said the youth between 25-39 years should have 20 seats, five seats for the disabled and the rest contested by political parties.

He said Parliamentarians should not be given ministerial appointments but the 200-member Parliament and a 50-member Senate should replace the Council of State in Ghana.

Dr Akplu said the number of administrative districts could be increased to enhance the implementation of government policies and programmes.

Students of ATL who spoke in favour of the motion won the debate against students of CASFORD.