Political Parties Confer On Transitional Processes
Political Parties Confer On Transitional Processes Website
Political Parties with representation in Parliament, at the weekend underscored the need for the nation to prepare adequately for future transitions after the conduct of Election 2008 and its transitional process. Top echelon personalities of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People's Party (CPP) and the People's National Convention (PNC), at a retreat at Atimpoku, near Akosombo, concurred that the parties must agree on a multi-partisan framework, ground rules and regulations to govern and guide such transitions. Consequently, the parties recommended that the election day of December 7, should be brought forward to November 7 to extend the current four-week transition period to eight weeks to accommodate a possible run-off and the resolution of any election related petitions. In that context, judicial reviews of election issues should be completed within 14 days of the close of filing election petitions. The retreat, which was facilitated under the Ghana Political Parties Programme of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a private think-thank group, said the recommendations shall form the basis of an Act of Parliament termed "The Political Transition Act", which shall be in consistence with the provisions of relevant constitutional provisions The parties noted that the first successful handover of power from one political party to another political party, in 2001 lacked, precedents to guide the two different polities forces that were involved in the transition. With a consideration of other experiences of other nations regarding political transitions, the parties observed that mistakes made in the transition left in their wake acrimony, tension, ill-feeling and some bad blood, and the one mechanism, the Joint Transition Team, that could have helped ease the tension and defuse the situation, did not work satisfactorily. Other recommendations made were that the out-going administration including the presidency, heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Municipal and District Assemblies, prepare comprehensive handing over notes according to prescribed format, covering their tenure. "Any major development within the administration between the handing over notes and the inauguration of the President would be reported on as supplementary or an update of the handing over notes. This should be submitted seven days before the election date,” the communiqué suggested. The communiqué also recommended that within seven days of the declaration of results, the Chief Justice shall convene an ice-breaker meeting between the outgoing President and the President-elect to prepare the grounds for the formal transfer of power, and in the event of any election petition arising out of the election, the ice-breaker meeting shall be held within three days after the settlement of the election petition. "In the even of a run-off and a dispute arising out of that run-off, the Judiciary would be required to settle the dispute within seven days and the work of the Joint Transition Team would be rescheduled to go beyond the inaugural date of January 7. The communiqué proposed, among other things, that a system of inventory of assets at the Presidency was strengthened, ministers of state and other political appointees shall leave office with the President, while District Chief Executives would continue in office until replacements would be made. "Where President decided to recall an ambassador, a minimum of 60 days would be allowed the ambassador to wind up," the communiqué, signed by representatives of the four parties said. The signatories were Nana Ohene Ntow, General Secretary of the NPP; Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, National Vice Chairman of the NDC; Baba Jamal, Deputy General Secretary of the NDC; Mr Ladi Nylander, National Chairman of the CPP; Mr Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, General Secretary of the CPP; Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, National Chairman of the PNC; Mr Abraham Kabah (First Deputy General Secretary of the PNC; and Mrs Jean Mensa, Administrator of the IEA. Earlier in a speech, Dr Arthur Kennedy, in Charge of Communications, NPP Campaign Team for Election 2008, noted that the present transition period of Ghana and most other African countries was too short. "In our particular case if there is both a second round and a court dispute in a presidential election, it is likely that our system may be unable to withstand both and have an inauguration on schedule. Such an occurrence can lead to instability and jeopardize our democracy. "The situation where litigation into a President's election is resolved nearly a year after his assumption of office, as happened in Nigeria recently is destabilizing and must be avoided.” Dr Kennedy said transitions involved both policies and process issues, adding that a successful transition required structures as well as the goodwill of both the out-going and the in-coming President.