Efo Kodjo Mawugbe of blessed memory wrote, “In the chest of a woman is not only the extension of breast and a feeble heart but a flaming desire to possess and use power”.
In a similar vein, in the chest of the average politician is not only the extension of greed and selfishness but a flaming desire to possess power and wield it forever.
Hunted by the desire to see change in my country like every well-meaning Ghanaian, I have constantly been in thought and observed overtime a probable panacea to our political tragedy and “brouhaha”.
Distinguished individuals with unquestionable pedigrees when given power get drunk by it and most often lose their sense of judgement all in the name of politics. They lampoon and lambast one another on various media in a rather cacophonous manner for individual, tribal and party gains to the detriment of national interest. This definitely will not auger well for our democracy and national development if it persists.
If power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then we should be looking at reinventing our democracy from the traditional “majority carries the vote” and “winner-takes-all” systems to what I call “the Collagovernance system”. By Collagovernance, ie Collaborative Governance, I seek to postulate that governance should be an all-inclusive affair leaving no one behind. Governmental power, specifically that of the executive arm should be on a shared basis.
Our political space over the years has been bedevilled with the obscene epithet of unprecedented corruption and injustices which undoubtedly had retrogressed our pace of growth and development and has also tainted the credibility of some public institutions.
Our multi-party democracy in the heart of our laws directly promotes a winner-takes-all structure, consequently making stakes very high in every election and a “must-win” for contesting political factions. Political violence and mayhem ubiquitously degenerate as candidates may want to win election at all cost-fair or foul.
One may ask, should we be preparing for another election-related massacre come December 7th? Well, let me not be a prophet of doom by saying the desire to win elections hook or crook that leads to the hiring of services of “macho boys” may pervasively be obvious.
Even though our democracy upholds the principles of checks and balances whereby one organ of government acts as a watchdog on the other, I still maintain that there should be a government mechanism to ensure internal checks specifically with the executive arm of government to ensure that the principles of transparency and accountability becomes the norm. Executive powers should not only lie in the bossom of the majority but an agglomeration of both majority and minority.
Hence, I opine that executive powers of government should be on a percentage basis say, 70 percent for majority and 30 percent for minority. This governance framework is possible if we have our national development plan passed into law which makes it binding and enforceable regardless, even if the devil is voted into power.
The national development plan which many believe is kept on the shelf to gather the proverbial dust can only materialize if we come together and harness efforts from political actors, civil society, and the citizenry.
One cannot really tell if we have progressed or retrogressed since the inception of our winner-takes-all kind of democracy as presidents are compelled to present us with a short term vision and projects which are most often discontinued by subsequent governments. With “collagovernance”, progress could be measured as it is the bedrock on a national development plan and harnesses collaborative efforts to implement and enforce the plan.
In an interview with a wise man, I asked a question “Would you say a man’s weakness is woman?” He answered, “A woman is like a knife in the hand of every man, he can either decide to build or destroy with it.” In a similar vein, democracy which is a powerful tool for societal growth and development is like a knife in the hand of every nation; we may choose to either build or destroy with it.
For a developing country like Ghana, I would recommend that it considers adopting the Collagovernance – Collaborative Governance framework in its quest to have a free, just and prosperous society by 2057 hence should reinvent her democracy with all urgency.
God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.
By Richmond Anane-Simon, a Change Activist