Professor Joseph Atsu Ayee of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana has called for reconstructing the Ghanaian society to build strong institutions for democratic consolidation.
He said building strong institutions for democratic consolidation entailed reconstructing the Ghanaian state and society to internalise the values of developmental governance.
Prof. Ayee made the call on Monday in his keynote address during the opening on the 70th Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) at the University of Ghana.
“Strong institutions and democratic consolidation are mutually reinforcing, that is, the ‘rules of the game’, and ‘only game in town’. Institutions should not only be seen as entities or structures but also as rules, enforcement mechanisms and norms,” he said.
“Constitutional, legal and institutional reforms will not alone build strong institutions without the necessary attitudinal and behavioural changes since institutions are operated by men and women.”
The 70th ANYSC, on the theme: “Building Strong Institutions for Democratic Consolidation in Ghana,” is being organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education (SDCE) of the College of Education, University of Ghana, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
On the relevance of the theme for the 70th ANYSC, Prof. Ayee quoted President Barack Obama’s 2009 Speech in Accra that; “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions”.
He explained that the “strong men” in this context refers to dictators on the continent while institutions were structures, organisations, rules and enforcement mechanisms, which were the “rules of the game”.
Prof. Ayee said strong institutions reinforced and realised the values of good governance and that 26 years of democratic rule in Ghana would help in stocktaking and reflection.
He said building strong institutions should involve the constitutional, legal and institutional reform and attitudinal and behavioural changes.
He said building strong institutions for democratic consolidation was not an easy or quick venture but “it takes time, money, courage and patience to do it”.
Prof Ayee said strong institutions and democratic consolidation were mutually reinforcing and that governments must get it right.
He said transformational leadership was necessary to designing and enforcing the policy and institutional framework and the attitudinal and behavioural changes.
He said building strong institutions include bolstering democratic arrangements through checks and balances, accountability, civil rights, decentralisation, democratic discourse and norms of anti-corruption, rejection of favoritism and meritocracy and serving the public interest.