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Prof. Mike Oquaye calls for paradigm shift in Ghana’s politics

Politics

Speaker of Parliament, Aaron Michael Oquaye, says Ghana’s political system needs a second wind of change.

Speaker of Parliament, Aaron Michael Oquaye, says Ghana’s political system needs a second wind of change.

 

The change Professor Oquaye explained would perfect the system introduced by the 1992 democratic dispensation by addressing the challenges confronting the nations’ electoral system.

He said this when he presented a paper on the role of the United Kingdom in supporting democracy around the world and  the link between democracy and prosperity.

It formed part of the 25th anniversary of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy held in London.

Prof Mike Oquaye said even though the current dispensation had done away with the arbitrariness that accompanied military rule, some key measures need to be put in place to consolidate the gains it had made.

The Speaker believed reforming the legal framework that regulates Ghana’s elections would take the country closer to the second wind of change.

As part of the legal reforms, Professor Oquaye recommended the revision of the laws to identify weaknesses and provide against grey areas.

“For example, should stealing of ballot papers not be specially provided for? Secondly, if there is doubt about a person’s date of birth or nationality, how do you allow any two registered voters (usually political party representatives) to verify age or nationality? People who do not stand in loco parentis cannot vouch for a young person’s age,” he emphasized.

Prof Oquaye also made a strong case for the training of judges to adjudicate election related disputes.

“In the wake of confusion after every election, how do we tackle the various sources of conflict before they erupt into a conflagration which will derail all the gains made?” he said.

It would be recalled that during the 2016 elections, parties feuded over the presence of non-nationals in Ghana’s voters register that resulted in the Supreme Court ordering the Electoral Commission to delete some names from the voters register.

To address this challenge, Prof Oquaye proposed the setting up of a sub-regional election management body.

“If there should be a West Africa Electoral Commission which is donor-driven, we can have one register for West Africa to help solve the problem,” the Speaker said.

In addition, he believed the West Africa Electoral Commission can serve as an election-monitoring instrument in the wake of the withdrawal of donors.

He therefore appealed to the United Kingdom to continue supporting the electoral process of Ghana.

“I invite the United Kingdom to consider that the second wind of change must be consolidated by filling the gaps remaining to be dealt with,” he stated.