The former boss of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Prof Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi wants government to be measured in the way it distributes the national cake.
He says if Ghana is to meaningfully sustain inclusive economic and social development, the size of the national cake must be expanded but it does not mean that it should be carelessly handled.
“As we increase the size of the national cake we must stop sharing it like ‘kelewele’ among a few. We must curb the rapid increase in the rise of politicians who may be described as political entrepreneurs or what Malawian vice president calls “tenderpreneurs’.
“They hijack the economic and social dividends that flow from democratic governance,” he added.
Prof Gyimah-Boadi was speaking at the 14th “Kronti ne Akwamu” lecture where he said the experience of China and other Asian countries indicate that the obvious most important task is to increase the national cake and accelerate the rate of economic growth.
This he noted is because economic growth alone does not automatically generate inclusion or reduce inequality, but keeping it meaningfully distributed means certain stringent measures must be taken.
This year’s lecture was held on the theme “Making Democracy Work for the People: Reflections on Ghana’s 25-year journey towards democratic development.
On what can be done to make democracy work, Prof Gyimah-Boadi said Ghana has made considerable progress in fostering representative governance in the context of multi-party democracy but significant gaps in inclusion still remain.
He said the democracy must address certain structural and cultural bottlenecks in order to have a realistic change of bridging the inclusive democracy gap.
He proposes a reform in the Constitution to reduce the concentration of state power in the hands of the president, ministers and the hands of other appointees.
The Constitution, he believes needs reforms to “strengthen the separation of powers and to reduce the dominance of the executive branch over the two other branches of government – Parliament and the judiciary.
“These reforms will also restrain presidents and other executive appointees from acting in arbitrary and capricious manner and causing so much rancor and bitterness by their actions as well as disperse the initiations of policies more broadly within the political society,” he added.
Prof Gyimah-Boadi also wants a better job done in the regulation of the executive branch’s use of its own discretionary powers and develop sensible and inclusion promoting conventions around the of those powers.
“This would help reduce arbitrariness capriciousness and foster inter-branch, inter-party and consensus building.”
In order to build consensus however, he wants presidents to learn and go beyond the minimum requirements of consultations with the Council of State or on the advice of the Council of State in granting pardons to convicted political allies and in appointing heads of independent constitutional bodies – CHRAJ, EC, NCCE, IGP, Governor of the Bank of Ghana and the like.