Ghana: Time to review the One Man One Vote policy

Every democratic institution that yearns for progress must periodically re-assess itself, revise its untenable processes, procedures and protocols and realign the objectives to attain its set goals. Any institution that fails to improve upon its existing rules, regulations, or constitution is doomed to fail. Nothing new is achieved when same input is fed unto a system over and over again. We are talking about the recently held parliamentary primary elections held by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its impact thereafter. Allegations of bribery and corruption, insults and assaults, intimidation, and even the invoking of dreadful deities against some officials and candidates have characterized primary parliamentary elections of all political parties in Ghana. The current characteristics of the parliamentary primary elections will not in any way strengthen the credentials and resolve of the western-type democracy we are wont to practice. It’s time we went back to the drawing board.

Once upon a time parliamentary primary election of the New Patriotic Party was the sole preserve of only a few constituency executives of the party. It was a field day and windfall for unscrupulous and corrupt delegates to cash in on equally corrupt aspirants seeking to become members of parliament. The “One Man One Vote” (OMOV) policy, the brainchild of NPP-USA under Dr. Kofi Boateng was conceived in 2009 after the contentious delegates conference of the elephant fraternity party held at the Great Hall, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra in 2007. The current expanded delegates system is a watered-down version of the OMOV alternative to stem voting prejudice and influence. Unfortunately, the expanded delegates’ option has invited more bribery and corruption and everything in between. It’s about time to retool OMOV to meet the changing needs of the party.

Meanwhile the National Democratic Congress (NDC) experimented with an OMOV approach in 2012 but reverted to the old practice of delegates vote under the pretext of infiltration of non NDC members who voted for non-preferred candidates. In both the NPP and NDC cases, itching palms were greased and some underserving candidates ended up winners.

Ghana, and Africa need deep-thinking, experienced and well-qualified people in parliament as law makers to move the country and continent forward. There should be no place in parliament for inexperienced Ghanaians, college/university graduates et al to cut their political teeth at the legislature. It’s simply suicidal and too costly for the country. Parliament is sui generis of the three arms of government and a place where the primus inter pares put their heads together to move a country forward. Entry to the august house must therefore be solely on merit and not to the highest bidder.

Amandla, calls for serious political reforms across board that would minimize corrupting the system and/or potential law makers. OMOV needs serious deliberations and implementation to stem the canker that has eaten almost into every fabric of society in Ghana.

Entrenched Parliamentarians? 

There have been calls from sections of Ghanaians to insulate “experienced” parliamentarians from losing their positions through primary elections. We might as well insulate well-performing government ministers. The decision to elect a parliamentarian is determined by a constituency that also has the prerogative to recall same for several reasons, including but not limited to non-performing law makers. The dictates of western democracy that we have adopted do not subscribe to entrenchment based on experience or longevity in parliament. Those who serve their constituencies well are re-elected without much difficulty. On the flip side, constituents have every right to reject any representative who brought no development or positive impact to the community. The idea to entrench experienced parliamentarians must be put to rest as quickly as it was conceived. After all, a law maker is a political position not an inheritance.

Fish the undesirables out

Ghana’s Electoral Commission (E.C.) has embarked upon the registration of qualified Ghanaians for the  next elections in December. The exercise started after the Supreme Court gave the E.C. the green light to do so after the major opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and interested parties attempted to stop the new registration. As expected, unprintable words have been used to describe the seven eminent members of the Supreme Court who voted unanimously to throw out the request of the petitioners.

Amandla suggests that after the registration, the E.C. must transparently clean the national register against multiple registrations. Fingerprint and facial (photograph) identification technology exist and can be employed to fish out the undesirables. Those caught in the net and election officials who collaborated should be made to face the full rigors of the law.

Posted by on Jul 12 2020. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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