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03.03.2006 Press Review

Editorial: ROPAB Exposes Kufuor And His Rubber Stamp MPS

By Palaver

PRESIDENT Kufuor last Friday, February. 25, gave his ascent to the Representation of the Peoples Amendment Bill (ROPAB) into Law despite the protestations of opposition parties and Civil Societies.

With the passage of the bill into Law, amidst protests from some sections of the society, can the President and his party claim they are democratic and a listening government, asked some members of the public.

Only last January 3, this year, when opening an induction workshop for members of the Liberian legislature at GIMPA, President Kufuor condemned the situation where “Minority in Parliament is said to have its SAY, while the Majority, its WAY”, saying, it undermines the democratic system of the government and the welfare of the nation.

It is in this light that a section of the Ghanaians public have expressed shock at the President's ascent of the Representation of the Peoples Amendment Bill into Law at a time when Minority Parties have boycotted Parliament, at a time the Christian Council is asking the President to hasten slowly with the bill, at a time the Leadership of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has expressed their opposition to the passage of the bill into Law and also at a time when civil society groups opposed to the bill are on the streets of Accra protesting against the bill.

Most Ghanaians “The Ghana Palaver” spoke to, are of the view that, apart from the Hawks in the NPP pushing the President to give his ascent to the bill, the hierarchy of the party, who are also not comfortable with a situation where the NDC is likely to win the 2008 elections, are seen to be putting pressure on Mr. Kufuor, who from his utterances, dose not seem to believe in the bill. So why the double standards?

On January 3, President Kufuor speaking to Liberian Parliamentarians at GIMPA said, “ whatever democratic system a Legislature operates, which may vary from one country to the other, generally, it has three main attributes … “* Firstly, it tends to be the highest representative body of the citizenry. In this regard, it is the forum of the people to whom it must be accountable and whose concerns it must always reflect. As a forum, it has the right to raise any and every matter that it deems of concern to the people. And to facilitate this work, members are bestowed with certain constitutional immunities and other privileges …

“ * Secondly, the Legislature is the law enacting body of the state which must therefore be always guided by the public good in its deliberations … “In a democracy, this should mean seeking an enlightened balance between the interests of the state on the one hand and that of the other stakeholders, including the individual citizen on the other hand. However, in practice, this ideal tends to be compromised or corrupted more or less …

“This corruption tends to issues out of the competing demands of various interests including political parties, ethnic and religious affiliations, business and other influences, as well as personal ambition. Many a time, the parochial bias tends to get under weight as against the national interest … “Another aspect of this negative tendency is captured in the maxim that “the minority has its say and the majority has it way.” With this, it is not always that the best decisions are made to achieve the enlightened balance for good democratic governance …

“ The unacceptable aspects of partisanship rather than national interest tend to hold sway in the deliberations of the House. In the long run, such tendencies undermine the democratic system of government and the welfare of the nation …”

Some NPP insiders believe President Kufuor, is putting in place machinery that would entrench his party in power for a very long time before his successor is elected, to prevent the NDC from winning any future elections.

So even though he knows the attitude his party is adopting, as far as the ROPAB is concerned, is not proper and not in the interest of the nation, as he was telling the Liberians at the workshop, for the sake of party security, the Bill must be passed to tell all those who are opposing the Bill, that he is the President and can do everything he wants to do.