mahama port

President John Dramani  Mahama

The ?winner-takes-all? aspect of our democracy is gradually coming under a barrage of opposition by observers of governance in the country.

A few days ago the subject came under the public spotlight during an Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Winner-Takes-All Advisory Committee deliberation in Accra.

We are excited at the bold move by the think-tank in giving the proposal a necessary impetus by providing a platform for the membership of the committee to mould it for a national conversation.

Equally exciting is the decision to educate Ghanaians on the merits of the reverse of the existing system with a view to seeking their final opinions in a referendum when the time is due.

Until now it has remained an abstract subject belonging to political thinkers: with such highlight Ghanaians would be in a better position to understand why politics has remained such a divisive occupation in the country.

It is instructive that both sides of the political divide appreciate the need for a rethink of the system against the backdrop of existing realities. This for us, is an important ingredient for spearheading a fruitful discussion of the subject. For once therefore we appear to be on the verge of deliberating on a subject without the destructive divisiveness that has given politics a bad and dirty garb.

President John Mahama and his colleagues in the largest opposition party have all at different times aired their opposition to this system which gives almost unlimited powers to the President.

If we seek to reduce the effects of the polarisation of the country, we cannot look elsewhere besides, among other things, reducing the powers available to the President.

The powers are almost limitless such that the principle of separation of powers does not appear to be wholly achieving its goals.

We have ended up witnessing the occasional yet expensive wielding of powers by the executive much to the chagrin of the opposition or even the legislature ? an important source of the prevailing polarisation.

No time are such powers used wantonly and recklessly than when governments are changed. The picture during this time is that of the aftermath of war: there is a rush for the various positions which are unnecessarily made vacant when holders of these positions are chased out by the incomers.

Need we not take another look at a constitutional amendment that would redistribute the powers available to the President?

The regrettable remarks of ?our party is in power? presupposing that the executive can do anything without looking back, is a painful and destructive feature of the ?winner-takes-all? system of government.

With very weak public institutions ? too feeble to crack the whip on bad government appointees ? the ?winner-takes-all? should be discarded.

Ghana?s poor financial rating and indiscipline undoubtedly attributable to unilateral decisions by the executive, thanks, to a weak legislature, have dominated public discourses in the past year.


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