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Dr Michael Ofori Mensah, a policy analyst at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on Thursday advocated a ceiling to the number of people appointed to serve on the various committees of the Presidential Transition.
He also stressed the need for the Presidential Transition Law to be clear on the duration of the Committee’s work.
Dr Mensah was speaking at a day’s workshop organized for political parties, parliamentarians, civil society organizations and religious bodies to review the implementation of the Presidential Transition Law, which was passed by Parliament in March 2012.
He also noted the need to empower the Administrator General of Presidential Transition Committee to enable him function effectively.
“We also need to fully resource the Presidential Estate Unit to carry out implementations very efficiently and effectively,” he added.
Dr Mensah noted that even though Ghana was a model of democracy in Africa, its transition of especially in January 2001 and January 2009 was characterized by confrontation instead of cooperation.
To correct that, he said, the IEA initiated the process of the passage of the Transition Act and expressed the joy that it had finally been passed by Parliament and had since been implemented.
He said per the Transition Act, a Speaker of Parliament was supposed to be appointed two days before the dissolution of Parliament but as the law stands currently, it means that there would be two Parliaments and two speakers of Parliament and called for inputs from participants to solve that problem.
Dr John Kwakye, a Senior Fellow at IEA, said prior to the passage of the transition law, Ghana had an enviable record with political transitions and in both 2001 and 2009 but the absence of a transition blue print contributed to the confusion that characterized both transitions.
He said after its passage, several issues and suggestions had come up in the wake of its implementation, hence the need to organize the seminar to review the implementation of the Act through a non partisan and all inclusive approach.
He said the review would provide the platform for lessons to be learnt from past mistakes and the necessary corrective actions taken.
Professor Mike Oquaye, Former Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, said the IEA helped Ghana to go a long way towards transition management.
He said: “As a country we have some difficulties in this regards because we are still on our way to democracy and are not used to transitions,” he added.
He said during Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s regime there was no intention to hand over power to anybody and after the overthrow of his government what we had been witnessing was military handing over to civilian government.
Prof. Ocquaye said for the IEA to come in again to assist the country as to how to do it properly, deserved recommendations.
“As for NDC and NPP they each had their own side of the coin and had fair experiences of the casualties that characterize the 2001 and the 2009 transitions,” he said and called for the need to come to amicable solution to future transitions in Ghana.
Mr Joe Ghartey, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament said the difficulty with the transition law started with its heading which only talked about the President.
He said transition should not only be for the executive arm of government but the legislature as well.
“We need to tackle transition in general because the leaders of Parliament and other government appointees are also given official accommodations and cars and they are also to be taken through transition.
“Public offices are transition in nature and every public office holder should be aware that one day they will be asked to hand over government properties,” he added.
Mr Ghartey also disagreed with an aspect of the Act which stated that the Speaker of Parliament should be elected two days before the dissolution of Parliament, saying it conflicts with the constitution and needed to be checked.
Mr Cletus Avoka expressed the hope that the flaws in the Transition law, especially the one concerning dissolution of Parliament and inauguration of the President before the new Parliament would be looked at properly to avoid Parliament sitting at 12 midnight to dissolve and the same time form new one.