Traditional Systems More Democratic than Ghana’s- Speaker

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has asserted that the governance in the traditional system is more democratic than what is practised by Ghana as a country.

Citing the Asante Kingdom as an ideal traditional system practising democracy, he said the Kingdom upholds law and order.

According to him, these traits need to be emulated by the country to perfect democratic governance.

“There are some serious things that in Ghana we take for granted. That is one of the positives of the Asante Kingdom that we haven’t learned from. The Asante Kingdom takes tradition and law and order seriously. Ghana hasn’t imbibed that yet and so we allow a lot of things to pass by.”

Lack of Appreciation for Democracy
He observes that the country lacks the requisite appreciation for the democracy it practices, a concern he says emanates from ignorance.

“We had been practicing what we call a multi-party democracy system for 30 years. Many Ghanaians don’t understand what that means. We reached a number of milestones we should take advantage of and get down to the people for them to understand yet we don’t do so. For example, our Silver Jubilee as a democracy in the 4th Republic passed by. We just assumed that Ghanaians know what democracy is but definitely what is happening clearly shows that our people don’t understand.

“I listen to radio and hear many talk about democracy about speech but that is not democracy. It’s not just about talking. It’s about dialoguing, it’s about recognizing the diversity of life, how do we factor everybody’s interest, how do we live in peace and harmony, how do we imbibe discipline, honesty, and integrity in the system so that we can reap the benefit that God has so richly endowed us with,” he said during a courtesy visit to the Manhyia Palace on June 30, 2024, as part of his three-day visit to the Ashanti Region for the nationwide activities marking the 30th-anniversary celebration of the Fourth Republic.

According to him, the misunderstanding about democracy sponsors the panic and tense moments the country feels in election years. He is therefore embarking on a nationwide tour to educate the masses.

In return, he said they would solicit the views of the public for input in the review of the constitution.

“We decided to go to the people, sit and dialogue with them trying to explain what the choice of the country is- multi-party democracy- and then get feedback from them so that as we try to reform the 1992 Constitution, we do it, we adapt it to suit the peculiar situation of Ghana.”

He takes it to be the Parliament’s responsibility to undertake this duty with the public as he appreciates the fact that “parliamentarians are seen as the symbol, the epitome, pillar of democracy”.

Ghana’s Democratic Flaws
Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II in response indicated that the country’s democratic practice is fraught with flaws and complexities as a result of attempts to learn and combine the systems of the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK).

“We have combined the Parliamentary System of the UK and the Presidential system of the US. How can that work for us? Meanwhile, in the practice of the UK, the Prime Minister is part of Parliament and renders account to the House every now and then.

“In the practice of the US which we have also adopted, the President doesn’t render account to Parliament. You don’t bring the President in to answer questions. After reading the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President leaves and Parliament deliberates about it during which the House have no chance to question the President.”

MPs Mandate
His Majesty further urged lawmakers to stay within their domain as he noted that Members of Parliament (MP) have swayed from championing the interests of their constituents and representing their interests in Parliament, fixing their focus on promising infrastructure development.

He noted that this misplaced mandate is sponsoring the ignorance among the masses to vote out lawmakers when they fail to honour their promises.

Meanwhile, he urged political parties to desist from monetizing Parliamentary seats and give competent candidates the opportunity to fill the House.

Additionally, he called for the prioritization of the country’s interest above that of political parties by lawmakers as he reflected on the recent deadly protest in Kenya.

He recognises that MPs usually represent the interest of their parties rather than the country and force through some “bad” policies at the expense of the nation, a sin he says the ruling New Patriotic Party and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) are all guilty of.

As an independent body, His Majesty expects that they stand firm against undermining policies.

“Why aren’t you able to resist the President’s policies which aren’t in the good interest of the country? When he brings in a policy and you are well aware that it is bad for the nation, you allow it to push through just because you are a part of his party. Both NPP and NDC are guilty of this… It’s true you belong to the same party but put Ghana first. Let’s all shape the future of the country…Do what is right.”

Otumfuo also called for the full autonomy of the judicial and legislative arms of government from the executive. He believes financial independence will go a long way to empower them to put the Executive in check.

The Speaker will host a public forum on Monday, July 1, 2024, and then a Mock Parliament on July 2 as part of the celebration.

He was accompanied to the Palace by his wife, Linda Ofosuaa, the Second Deputy Speaker, Hon Andrew Adomako Asiamah, the MP for Asokwa, Hon Patricia Appiagyei, the MP for Sekyere Afram Plains, Hon Alexander Adomako Mensah, the MP for Asante Akim Central, Hon Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, Clerks of Parliament and other Parliamentary staff.


Prev Put Ghana's Interest Above Party Loyalty - Otumfuo to Lawmakers
Next Chiefs Working with Land Guards Will Lose their Stools- Asantehene

Comments are closed.