FULL SPEECH – YOU FIX THE CONSTITUTION, YOU FIX GHANA – PRESS CONFERENCE BY PPP IN MAY 2021
FIX THE CONSTITUTION AND THE COUNTRY WILL BE FIXED
STATEMENT READ BY NANA OFORI OWUSU, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF THE PPP ON 12TH MAY 2021
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are grateful that you have honored our invitation for this press conference aimed at helping to “Fix Ghana” for us and the unborn generation.
The Leadership of the PPP will be inviting you to periodic press conferences from now onwards aimed at offering policy alternatives. This we will do to fulfill our civic responsibility in helping fix this country for the better. A copy of today’s statement can be downloaded from www.pppghana.org. A video of this event will also be available on our YouTube Channel – PPPGhana as well as our official Facebook page @PPPGhana.
To start with, we commend the Youth of this country who are asking government to fix this country. We also commend the current government for taking up the challenge to fix the country. Whilst agreeing with the demand for Ghana to be fixed, we would like to remind the President and Parliament who are the two main organs of Ghana that can deliver the conditions that will “fix Ghana”, that there are known solutions that need political will for implementation. Any attempt to “fix Ghana” without recourse to these solutions would return us back to the same situation as has been happening over the years.
The following are the solutions we are re-iterating as the cardinal solution which will become the bedrock upon which Ghana will be fixed.
ABSOLUTE SEPARATION OF PARLIAMENT FROM THE EXECUTIVE.
Ghana’s constitution seeks to infuse the parliamentary system with presidential system. This has proved to be very inefficient over the years that the 1992 constitution has been in force. Parliament has been weak in its duty to check the executive thus allowing the Executive to do whatever it wishes whether good or bad.
The selection of at least 50% of ministers from the legislature denies parliament the needed brilliant human resource which are usually selected into the executive to become ministers. This limits the strength and ability of Parliament to effectively check the executive.
Again when an MP becomes a minister, the time he/she has available to perform parliamentary duties becomes significantly reduced since they will have to spend a lot of time doing the work of the Executive.
This MP/Minister is the same person who comes back to sit in parliament to become a member of parliament that is supposed to check the executive of which he/she is already a member.
Sitting MPs of the ruling party are always seeking to please the president in order to be considered for appointment should there be the need. This also leaves the remaining non – minister MPs not critical of the government further weaking the legislature. Perhaps this has fed into the very polarized parliament we have where only opposition MPs see wrongs with government programmes 100% of the time.
This is even worsened by the fact that the Legislature determines the salaries of the President and his ministers whiles the president decides the salaries of MPs. Scratch my back, I scratch your back.
The PPP has proposed and will continue to advocate for an effective legislature that is able to effectively check the executive and get Ghana fixed. We the citizens should as a matter of urgency, promote the campaign to amend the constitution to prevent the president from selecting 50% of his ministers from amongst the members of parliament.
SEPARATING PERSECUTION FROM POLITICAL POWER
Another aspect of our constitution that needs to be fixed is Article 88 which makes the Attorney General also the Minister of Justice.
History has shown that it has been difficult to deal with political corruption cases because prosecution is always done by the Attorney General who is also a Minister of State. The result is that no AG has been able to prosecute a fellow minister who is from the same political party. It has always been ex government appointees and people in the private sector who are seen as political threats who are prosecuted by serving government’s Attorney Generals. This has always fed into the perception that these are mere political witch hunting cases.
The enormous powers of the AG requires that he/she is separated from Cabinet in order for him to have the necessary independence to do the job without or with less political considerations.
The PPPs solution is that there must be an independent Attorney General. Not a special prosecutor who is still “under the control” of the AG in any way. Can you imagine what would have happened with Martin Amidu as Independent Prosecutor and if Article 88 had been amended and Mr. Martin Amidu had been made the first Independent Attorney General instead of a Special Prosecutor who had to work under the AG. Let’s demand to Fix the prosecution in Ghana.
ELECTION OF MMDCES
Many of the things which are worrying Ghanaians include developmental issues that could have been solved by our local assemblies if they were independent and efficient. The lack of independence which has resulted in the inefficiency of our local assemblies requires that we put in place mechanisms to make the office of the MMDCES and all assembly members elected and given the necessary independence to work irrespective of which party is in power. Even a politically elected MMDCE would be better than the current supposed non- politically appointed MMDCEs. Not only should they be elected but they should also be insulated from financial control from the Centre. No finance minister should have the power to determine how much of our budget should go to assemblies. A nationally agreed percentage should be allocated them for their planning and development. It will be easier for a locality to check their DCE than for the entire nation to check a center based President and demand what is due us.
BRINGING BACK THE ECONOMY HOME
Government being the biggest spender in our economy has the power to use its purchasing power to bring the economy back home. Over the years, our spending lines and actions have put the economy in the hands of foreigners thus the slightest external shocks brings untold hardships to the people.
The PPP proposes a positive and concerted effort by the Executive which is the spender to direct its agencies, ministries and departments to spend only on external products only if there is no local substitute. This will created millions of Jobs.
Ladies and Gentlemen. We are a reformist party not because we just love reforms. We are reformist because Ghana needs reforms in many ways in order to get on the right track. The essence of our existence as a party is to keep reminding citizens and government of these reforms.
We believe that when these suggestions are taken and implemented, Ghana will be fixed.
Thank you for coming.