The President, John Agyekum Kufuor, has recommended a review of the mandate of members of Ghana’s independent Electoral Commission to build on their neutrality.
Delivering his last State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Monday, he said renewing their mandate for every six years would go a long way to ensure public trust in the commission and make it more accountable.
“The country has been fortunate with the current Commission whose core members have by and enlarge conducted themselves professionally. There is no doubt, however, that generally, it is risky to have a referee that enjoys permanent security of tenure.
“I therefore recommend for the consideration of this House and the nation a system which will retain the absolute independence of the commission but, also provide all its members with specific term tenure, consideration could be given to a six-year-two-term arrangement overlapping parliament.”
President Kufuor suggested their appointment and renewal should be vested in a specifically constituted electoral collage to underpin a “sustained public trust in the commission and also make it accountable to the people”.
Considering the composition of the incoming parliamentarians, he noted that the state of Parliament appears “hung and divided”, which requires regular consultations, responsible compromising and accommodation.
“Constructive consensus building must become the order of the day in the house,” he remarked.
President Kufuor said the current state where the constitution stipulates that majority members of cabinet should be appointed from within Parliament to facilitate cooperation between the two organs of the state however does not augur well for supervision and effective execution of their respective duties.
“It is clear that the demands of the two functions, require the full time attention, therefore to expect a full time minister to couple as a full time parliamentarian, only tends to lead to underperformance of the incumbent.”
He also noted that this combination gives undue psychological advantage to the ordinarily parliamentarian and impedes on the needed checks and balances from the two.