He observed that such punitive action would boost decentralisation as an effective means to address the challenge of “winner-takes-all” notion, which has taken a hold in the country’s body politics and marginalises parties that lose elections.

Disbursement of the DACF, he said, is fraught with embezzlement and delays, quoting from the Auditor-General report, that suggests that GH¢ 44 million was embezzled or misappropriated in 2014.

“In order to ensure effective decentralisation as a solution to winner-takes-all politics government allocations to Metropolitan, Municipal and district Assemblies should be timely, there should be punitive sanctions against those who embezzle such funds.”

Dr Gyampo was speaking on the topic: “Dealing with Ghana’s winner-takes-all politics: the case for effective decentralization,” on Wednesday.

He defined winner-takes-all as partisan monopolisation of all largesse of political powers, resources and business opportunities among others that is perpetuated by parties, particularly ruling ones, who work all out to influence people with inducements and get them into local assemblies.

Such attitude, he said, could provoke feeling of marginalisation and infuriation by those who did not vote for the ruling party, and might result in people seeking to undermine development agenda of the country.

“They may work to sabotage national agenda. This does not inure to our benefit,” he said.

He called for revision of the president’s constitutional powers of appointing all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).

He also advocated the election of MMDCEs by the people at the local level, saying: “In transferring power from national to local level then the grassroots must participate in decisions that directly affect them.”

“There should be direct elections of all MMDA members on a full scale partisan basis in order to let the local people feel that we contested an election, we lost miserably but we still have an opportunity to elect whoever will govern us at the grassroots,” he added.

“I think that will soothe the pain, the feeling that you have lost everything at the national level and knowing that it’s same at the local level will make politics a do-or-die affair.”

Contributing to the discussion, the immediate past Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey blamed the phenomenon of winning political party sweeping all state powers after election on lapses in the 1992 Constitution.

He claimed the constitution was written and designed to suit the persona of former President Jerry John Rawlings.

“If you look at the 4th Republican Constitution it has been so designed to suit a persona, I have said it before, the 4th Republic Constitution is Rawlingsphobic and unless this is addressed we will not go anywhere,” he said.

He also slammed civil society groups and the public for being passive on matters bordering on national interest.

But Minister of State at the office of the President in-Charge of Private Sector Development and Public Private Partnership, Dr Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, urged sober reflection before taking a definite stand on the winner-takes-all idea.

He said Ghana’s constitution was written based on the country’s past experiences so care needed to be taken in making certain proposals that could derail the gains made in the country’s democratic effort.

Source: GNA/News Ghana

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