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15.06.2005 Politics

Chief advocates review of Executive's power of appointing officers


Accra, June 15, GNA - Togbe Afede XIV, Agbogbomefia (Paramount Chief) of Asogli State, Ho, has advocated constitutional amendments to the Executive powers of appointment as a way of reducing ethnocentrism in the country's politics.

Citing sections 70, 78 and 144 of the 1992 Constitution, Togbe Afede observed that the lack of an effective check on the Executive powers of appointment had allowed for the under-representation of certain groups in government, with adverse consequences for national cohesion.

Togbe Afede made the suggestion, in paper on: "Ethnicity and National Reconciliation" on the second of a three-day public forum on: "Reconciling the Nation", organised jointly by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FEES), in Accra. Togbe Afede stated similarly that the powers granted the country's unicameral Legislature and the Executive over the creation of constituencies, and the creation and functioning of the District Assemblies had led to the over politicisation of local governance, and thereby defeating the purpose of decentralisation.

He suggested that a look should be taken at the possibility of non-partisan second legislative chamber, with representation of traditional rulers, with equal representation of the regions as antidote against the exclusionary, winner takes all kind of politics that was behind the acrimony that had become a feature of the nation's democracy. He stated also that the requirement of public declaration of assets as opposed to what was in Section 286 of the Constitution; should minimise corruption, nepotism, and ethnic bias in the appointment of public officers.

The Paramount Chief attributed the current growing suspicion, rivalry and tension among the various Ghanaian ethnic groups to the struggle over limited resources, adding that poverty and inequity were worsening the existing hatreds and suspicions. He said all citizens were entitled to a fair share of education and health facilities and that a government should provide these including job opportunities.

"So far not all groups are convinced about government's commitment to fairness in the allocation of limited opportunities and resources available," Togbe Afede said.

Togbe Afede reiterated that the country should make conscious efforts to rid the country of growing ethnocentrism rather than pretending that it did not exist, or posed no threat.

He advocated education, especially at the children level, that no tribe was superior to another so that they would begin to accept the diversity of the world they would grow into.

Also, instead of a national language, "we should promote the teaching of Ghanaian languages, and require that every child learned to speak and write another Ghanaian language apart from his or her own", Togbe Afede said.

The Paramount Chief suggested the need to explore the possibility of legislation that would criminalize speech and action that had the tendency to incite ethnic and tribal conflicts. There should be legislation to ensure good governance and accountability among public officials and a transparent formula for the allocation of state resources in order to avoid politicisation. Professor Reginald Amonoo, Fellow of the Academy, who chaired the forum, noted that Ghanaians had, more of the things that would unite rather than divided them.

He said Ghana was an artificial country, with more then 50 groups of languages and culture but unified by education, judicial system, and parliamentary democracy.

He called for tolerance, stating " We are all bothers, and our mother is Ghana.

In attendance at the lecture were the President of the GAAS, Nana (Dr) S. K.B Asante, Chiefs, University Dons, Members of the Council of State and representatives of the country's development partners.