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13.04.2014 Feature Article

A Matter For Constitutional Review For 2016 Elections

A Matter For Constitutional Review For 2016 Elections
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The year ended with the biggest funeral for the most beloved president of our time, the late Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa. And I can tell you the late Nelson Mandela was not directly elected by a popular vote; he was elected by what is called the Proportional Representation in line with their constitution of the country.

After being elected as the president of the ANC, which had a majority of MP's , there was no need for an amorphous arrangement to elect him by popular vote which is giving rise to the notorious and unnecessary scenario and vocabulary of Voting by ” SKIRT AND BLOUSE”. And the late Mandela was indeed a great leader by all standards. The style of electing a president by adopting the party with “M AJORITY OF MP'S TO RULE “system, does not diminish the efficacy of the president.

In drafting the 1979 constitutions and 1982 constitutions for the country Constituent Assembly veered too much towards the political style of the USA, leading to too much spending in General Elections and aggravated Economic discomfort as opposed to what we inherited from our British colonial masters.

Our history tells us of the two great leaders of our country, Dr Kwame in 1952 and Prof. K. A, Busia in 1969 after their respective parties got majority of members of MP's in an elections. Please we have an Identity and many members of the Common Wealth of Nations have made a lot of savings on National resources by sticking to the simple style of Britain and cutting down Electoral budgets. Examples are RSA, Botswana, Namibia, India, etc.

Let the parties elect the Presidential candidates, and the voting public shall have the simple task of electing the MP's, Assembly men and, mayors in a single election. Our Assembly men are what is called Councillors from electoral areas (wards). After every General election, the Assembly men should meet and also elect among themselves the mayors or DCE 's for a particular district or municipality. Such a scenario would remove the burden of appointing DCEs and mayors and place that squarely on the people representatives at the grass root level.

There are many things we can copy from the USA, such as building big and tall houses for only about a family of three or four, as opposed to the simple and small type of housing in the UK; and that is entirely a personal matter.

For the general good of our country, we must reflect seriously on whether copying blindly and expending resources on a model that is a departure from our colonial history is worth it at all. Let the political parties and persons who matter in the prompting a review of the constitution do a serious reflection in prayer and fasting to put the review in motion so that our resources , whether personal or national would be saved for other pressing issues in education, health etc.

And while we are on the floor to talk about the Republican president of Ghana, we should remember the suggestions made by former President Kufuor on the tenure of each party. We should have a move from four to FIVE years, to give each government a meaningful time to execute the mandate of the people.

Do we really feel so comfortable synchronising our elections with the 4-year cycle of the USA in expensive two parallel elections for MPs and president with the attendant possibilities of malfunctioning verifications machines.? Do we have to reject the wisdom of our statesmen who speak from experience ? No, we should not. Let the review of the constitution include these matters.

Thank you.

David M.Tembil

[email protected]

David M. Kabzot Tembil
David M. Kabzot Tembil, © 2014

The author has 2 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: DavidMKabzotTembil

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