In Ghana-US military agreement
It is universally accepted theory and practice that political parties are constituted to secure the people’s mandate to form a government and to exercise the mandate for the actualisation of the will of the people, in the interest of the people.
Ghana is no exception; and the 1992 Constitution insists on it! As regards attainment of political power and who gets to govern, it has become established at least for now, that only political parties produce heads of state in Ghana. Until an independent candidate emerges to win the Presidency, it remains so.
Even the chances of independent parliamentary candidates winning have dwindled over the years almost into extinction. Until something new happens, we must live with it, even when the democratic dividend is hard to find after 25 years.
Other vital variables in our democracy, such as quality and integrity of the electoral process need to be re-examined. Do those who get to exercise their franchise do so with the requisite understanding of their “choices”? – Choices that would have far-reaching implications for our individual and collective destinies as a nation?
Elections alone, even those that lead to peaceful transfer of power for the first time in decades as Ghana experienced in the year 2000, do not constitute the entrenchment of democracy with the expected dividends. It is only when good governance prevails and economic independence is attained, that we will be right in saying democracy has arrived.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) constitute the majority parties in Ghana. They have had the privilege of governing Ghana to no avail. From all indications they would do everything possible to establish a de facto two-party state and alternate the leadership of Ghana, even if the desired dividend never comes. Somehow, they believe it is their right.
After all, they have managed to create and nurture the largest followings in two regional strongholds based on ethnicity and mastered the art of winning elections by hook or crook at least every eight years to return to power.
Both the NDC and the NPP have accused each other of gross incompetence and lack of capacity to deliver development for which they are voted into power. Civil society organisations (CSOs) in the governance and development arena have confirmed the absence of corresponding dividends in the NDC/NPP dominance of our governance space.
According to Dr Kwesi Jonah of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), “the record of ruling parties in sustaining high levels of growth and development, consistent macro-economic stability, steady job creation and infrastructural development has in general terms been shaky and faltering. Public financial management is in deep distress.”
Ghana-US military agreement:
The incompetence that the NDC and NPP so often accuse each other of; has reflected in all the agreements signed with America in the area of military cooperation and many other international agreements to our detriment as a nation. The 2018 agreement, which the executive rushed to Parliament for urgent approval is a typical example of the crass incompetence.
Not only that, I also believe the executive might have been blackmailed or induced by some juicy personal rewards to push the agreement through with such unholy sense of urgency.
It is obvious that the minister of defence who piloted the agreement through Parliament for ratification knows little or nothing about the implications of such an agreement on the future of our country. Worst still, is his political activist posture, which is unbecoming of the head of a sensitive institution such as the ministry of defence.
The inability of the minister to differentiate between “rectify” and “ratify” is cause for worry. Again, the conflicting positions of the ministers of defence and information as regards, expiration and or extinction of the 2015 agreement for which, the information minister insists the defence minister erred, calls for concern.
The ability of the Ghanaian legislature to receive bills and agreements from the Executive and deal with them effectively and efficiently has been questioned over and over again. From the perception of bribe taking and rubber-stamping, to praise singing and patronage to catch the eye of the Executive for ministerial appointments have remain a sour point.
Obviously, these tendencies, perceived or real continue to damage the reputation of the legislature and render it the weakest link in the government machine. While the current agreement under contention may not necessarily inure to the benefit of the Ghanaian people for which we must rightfully protest, the opposition NDC’s posture both in and out of Parliament points to something rather sinister in their motives.
What did the NDC trade for in the 2015 version of the agreement? And what is the NPP trading for in the 2018 agreement. Did the NDC understand the full implications and does the NPP understand the full implications of their actions on the country?
The solution to this problem is to kick the executive out of Parliament. I have observed the trend of NDC and NPP taking the high moral ground when they are in opposition, only to repeat or do worse than what they had criticised while in opposition. The posture annoys many people a great deal, as they have become increasingly aware of the sinister motives of the NDC and NPP in and out of government.
This is because Parliament, as an institution is so weak that it needs the executive to cover to survive. We must now see the need to review the 1992 Constitution to prevent the executive from appointing members of Parliament to double as ministers of state.
When MPs remain in their natural roles as legislators only, our laws and agreements would be properly scrutinised and made in the interest of the nation with the qualities they deserve.
Parliament would cease to play second fiddle to the executive and above all, opposition MPs would begin to work sincerely in the interest of the nation. For now I doubt opposition MPs sincerity and maintain my stand that the value is the same when it comes to NDC and NPP politics. NDC, NPP—Duka Daya!