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Policy think-tank, the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), has held a lecture as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations. The focus of the presentation was on governance and democracy in Ghana within the last 25-years.
After 25-years of a thriving democracy which seems to have seen some gains, there remains some significant gaps in representation of the people. This is according to the Executive Director of Afrobarometer Prof. Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi.
He said, while it is true that Ghanaians have been choosing their leaders freely in a largely peaceful elections over the period, only families of the winning party, close associates, or professional politicians, mostly those who lack significant working experience benefit.
“The 25-years of democracy has also seen a manifestation of under representation of women and people with disabilities at all levels of the governance process,” he noted.
According to him, groups which constitutes the backbone of the economy, particularly farmers, fisher folks, and miners are completely left out as spectators while the winners of democracy, the colorful politicians take all the glory.
Dubbed the 14th “Kronti ne Akwamu” lecture series under the theme: “Making Democracy Work for the People: Reflection on Ghana’s 25-year journey towards democratic development,” Prof Gyima-Boadi recounted Ghana’s history, while emphasizing that, in almost 11-years of military rule, there was a transition which ushered in a new dawn of democratic governance signifying the beginning of the fourth republic of Ghana.
On elections in Ghana, he lamented the fact that two main political institutions or political parties – the governing NPP and the opposition NDC, have monopolized the system.
He asked, “to what extent has this democracy benefitted the people as stipulated by the directive principle of state policy or are we plateauing on the change without transformation?”
Answering the question himself, he said Ghana’s democracy must be as representative and inclusive as noted in Abraham Lincoln’s famous words, “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Even though the outcomes of the elections in the fourth Republic are broadly representatives of the will of the people, Prof. Gyimah-Boadi indicated that only few have benefitted as the critical groups still play spectator roles.
Role of Money
He said the absence of a credible regulations on campaign financing in Ghana has not helped matters.
He said, Ghana’s elections have generally skewed towards parties that buy votes or instigate violence, mostly as a detraction from the idea of peaceful stable democracy.
Prof. Gyimah-Boadi praised the lively and free media, particularly the growth of local media in Ghana which he said has deepened participation in the country’s governance process.
Prof. was impressed with the involvement of the middle class in the country’s governance process and applauded civil society groups for their vigilantism in helping keep public officers on their toes.
Source: Nii Aflah Sackey.