As part of the series of Roundtables to discuss research findings on the proposals to deal with Winner-Take-All (WTA) Politics in Ghana. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on Wednesday, 21st June, 2017, held another Roundtable Discussion on the theme Dealing with Winner Takes All Politics: The Case for a Review of the Appointing Powers of the President.
The event was chaired by former Commissioner of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short and the presentation was led by Prof. Ransford Gyampo, Research Fellow of the IEA. The event was attended by several stakeholders including members of the Government, Parliament, Academia, Civil Society, Political Parties, Religious and Traditional Leaders, Diplomatic Corps and the Media. Amongst the dignitaries in attendance were Hon. Mustapha Hamid, Minister of Information, Hon. Ama Dokuaa Asiamah Adjei, Deputy Minister of Information, H.E Ron Strikker, Ambassador of the Royal Netherlands, H.E Kim Sungsoo, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Isaac Annan, Human Rights Director, CHRAJ, and Nii Okaidja III, Gbese Mantse.
The presentation primarily highlighted the overwhelming powers of appointment granted to the Executive President and the overly partisan manner in which this power has been exercised since the inception of the 4th Republic. According to Prof. Gyampo, the appointment powers of the President are exercised in a manner that benefits party supporters without recourse to meritocracy. This breeds the feeling of marginalisation that is usually associated with WTA Politics. It also slows down efforts of national development as it dissipates needed brains.
He also made known that the President is responsible for appointing a large range of people from Ministers of State and Ambassadors to Chief Executives of independent bodies and Chairmen of University Councils. Some of the dangers associated with these overwhelming powers are the undermining of constitutionalism and the denting of the legitimacy of independent bodies. Prof. Ransford Gyampo asserted that in order for these dangers to be avoided, the appointment powers of the President must be streamlined and all Presidential appointments must be based on meritocracy.
Prof. Gyampo concluded by asserting that the President should be encouraged to reach out to the opposition political parties in search of competent people to help govern the country. The goal of national development must be a shared one and in this regard, the opposition should also be willing to serve the interest of the country when called upon to do so.
The IEA is of the hope that the current government kick start the constitutional review process in order to address these issues.