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14.06.2017 General News

Nana Pushes For Constitutional Amendment

By Daily Guide
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo has raised serious concerns about the inability of Ghana's parliament to exercise effective oversight of the Executive arm of government.

According to him, “Our parliament has…one big handicap, its inability to exercise effective oversight over the Executive arm of government.”

Speaking at an event put together by the Konrad Adeneur-Stiftung Foundation in Berlin, Germany, yesterday under the theme, 'Ghana – a Rising Star in Africa,' he narrated the strains that the country has gone through to its current state where he and his government are putting measures in place to put the country on sound economic footing.

President Akufo-Addo admitted, “The Legislature, which has been the arm to have suffered the most from the years of political instability is gradually coming into its own.”

Even though he indicated that the competition to get elected into the Ghanaian Parliament had become one of the keenest in the world, he thinks the body lacks what it takes to checkmate the Executive as the country's constitution prescribes.

He is, therefore, pushing for more powers for the Legislature to enable it stand on its feet to shoulder this responsibility.

“I admit there is, so far, not yet a consensus on this, but I belong to the group that feels strongly that our parliament should be able to exercise full authority over our public finances, and we should accordingly amend our Constitution to make this possible,” he advocated.

When that was done, he stressed, it would enhance parliament's oversight capacity.

President Akufo-Addo admitted that his proposal might not come easily, saying, “If you knew anything about Ghana, you would know that this is not something that would be easily done. We take our politics very seriously, and we are passionate about our beliefs, and it would not be easy to make such a change or any change, for that matter, to the Constitution.”

Apart from that, he noted, “we are a people who argue endlessly, and many of our arguments end up in the courts, and it makes for a busy and challenging time for us all. When I speak about the Judiciary – the third arm of the state – I should probably disclose an interest.”

As a man who made his living as a lawyer, he could not but admit, “You would not be surprised to hear that my interest is rather keen.”

On the media, President Akufo-Addo said, “The Ghanaian story cannot be told without mention of those whose business it is to tell our story – the media. We probably have one of the most vibrant media on the African continent, if not in the world.

“Like many of the other institutions of state, the media in Ghana came into their own in the Fourth Republic, where the national Constitution guarantees freedom of the media.

“It is a loud and crowded media that we now have, and some feel that many journalists err on the side of recklessness.

“In that regard, there is a lot to teach and to train those who practise journalism in our country, but, I must say, I would much rather have the loud and reckless media than the meek and praise-singing ones that used to characterize our newspapers, radio and television.”

Nana Addo expressed profound gratitude to the Foundation for the principled assistance it had given him and his party – the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – over the years and especially in last year's elections which saw him becoming president.

Whiles he appreciated the fact that they did not receive any money from the Foundation in view of existing laws in Ghana, he admitted, “What we received was more precious than money. It was intellectual property, which offered us valuable insights into the techniques of political mobilisation and modern methods of marketing the political ideas and values of our common ideological affinity.”

“We are grateful to successive country managers of the Foundation in Ghana – Mr. Martin Wilder, Mr. Klaus Loetzer, Dr. Gregor Ryssel and Mr. Burkhard Hellemann – who remained resolute in their conviction of the ultimate validity of our cause, the entrenchment in the hearts of the majority of Ghanaians of the concept of development in freedom,” he said.

According to him, “They were given unstinting support by their leaders and associates here in Berlin – Dr. Gerhard Pottering, Dr. Gerhard Whalers, Ms. Andrea Ostheimer, Dr. Klaus Schüler, Mr. Markus Brauckmann, Mr. Christian Echle, Hon. Hartwig Fischer and Hon. Volkman Klien.

“To all of you, and to all the others whose names I have not mentioned, but who are part of the Ghana desk, the New Patriotic Party says danke schoen, yɛ da mo ase paa.”

From Charles Takyi-Boadu, Berlin, Germany