By Edmund Mingle
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
The first Democracy Consolidation Strategy Paper (DCSP) put together by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Ghana, with the aim of significantly enhancing the country’s constitutional rule, has been launched in Accra.
The DCSP proposes practical reforms in by examining the constitution, political parties and the electoral system, decentralisation process, anti-corruption and human rights protection.
In addition, the DCSP which was prepared by a team of consultants commissioned by the IEA in October 2006, proposes reforms in the legislative framework to make Parliament more effective, the justice system, media independence and civil society’s participation in public policy formulation, implementation and monitoring.
The highlights of the document include the setting-up of an All-party Constitutional Review Committee to prepare towards holding a Constitutional Review Conference to consider discussions for proposed amendment of portions of the 1992 Constitution.
It also recommends the setting-up of a Ghana Centre for Multi-Party Democracy, comprising members of the political parties, the executive, legislature, judiciary, independent institutions, governance institutions and the media.
Rev. Dr. Mensa Otabil, Chancellor of the Central University College, launching the strategy document which analyses the shortcomings of Ghana’s democratic practice since the inception of the 1992 Constitution and offers suggestions for practical reforms, called for decency in the electoral system and asked politicians to respect each other.
He said decency was critical to the strengthening of a viable political and democratic culture in the country, adding that all stakeholders have a role to play in democratic governance.
He commended the various parties for their contributions to the creation of the document, saying it was a positive signal that politicians could collaborate productively.
Dr Charles Mensa, President of the IEA, urged the political parties to commit themselves to the recommendations in the document so as to effectively facilitate their implementation.
He said the document is critical to Ghana’s democratic development, since it can serve as a road map to entrench constitutional rule in the country.
For his part, Roel Von Meijenfedlt, Executive Director of the Netherlands Institute of Multi-party Democracy, partners of the IEA, lauded Ghana’s democratic process, and commended all stakeholders, particularly politicians for resorting to dialogue in addressing issues.