Dr Kumi Ansah Koi, a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana, on Wednesday called for the pruning of the executive and shoring-up of the legislature to make Ghana’s democracy more vibrant.
He said a performance appraisal of Ghana’s legislature by various scholars, observers and analysts have noted that Parliament under the forth republic had been perceived as being a mere rubber stamp of the executive.
Dr Ansah Koi, who was addressing the first ever Forum for Former Members of Parliament at a Colloquium on the 1992 Constitution in Accra, made eighteen-point proposals for members to deliberate on and come up with recommendations to the Constitutional Review Committee.
He recommended among others things an amendment of Article 89 of the constitution to ensure a fair representation of political parties at the Council of State.
Dr Ansah Koi also called for an amendment to ensure a strict separation of powers such that Ministers of state do not serve simultaneously as members of parliament, Article (78)(1).
He urged forum participants to debate the issue of Ghana’s electoral system saying the First-Past-the-Post system the country had been practicing has almost invariably ends up throwing up two dominant parties.
Dr Ansah Koi said the MPs Common Fund should be increased and insulated from administrative blockade so that the MP could be seen to be relevant to the development goals of the constituency.
He said there should be a constitutional stipulation to ensure that annual reports from the Auditor General were not overdue for more than two years.
Dr Ansah Koi was not happy with the low number of women holding high political office in the country and said an affirmative action was needed to address that. He added that proportional representation electoral system was particularly amenable to ensure fair representation for under-represented social groups.
He said the issue of a parliamentarian, who crosses carpet to other political party loses his or her seat, must be removed so as to reduce party control on parliamentarians.
Dr Ansah Koi lauded the holistic approach being taking by government to amend the constitution.
He said it is a golden chance and urged the Forum participants to make the best out of that.
Dr Ansah Koi said the Forum should receive higher public profile and attention and should be seen as a patriotic nationalist organization that is committed to the public good.
He said the role of former MPs in the affairs of the state should not be discarded because they constituted a reservoir of experience in the art of democratic and constitutional governance.
Dr Ansah Koi said Forum must include in its recommendation to the Constitutional Review Committee the relevance and recognition of former MPs.