Does a hung parliament mean government should be held to ransom with conditions that leave Ghana worse off?
Ghana’s democracy hinges on a constitution that offers independence to all arms of government. Overtime, Ghanaian shave fought tooth and nail to uphold this enviable position and a grave mistake it will be any day the executive is seen to be interfering in the affairs of the judiciary in the latter’s attempt at ensuring justice, fairness and accountability for all. Since 1992, Ghana has opted for democratic governance with elected political parties sought to build the country with their plans. For the sanctity of this vision is the reason even prosecuted legislators are allowed to face the laws without interference. Until recently, Ghana’s simple majority rule meant that elected parties only implemented their plans without consciously building consensus, which is a prerequisite now in our current hung parliament. A hung or balanced or minority in parliament means policy formulation and conduct of government business on the floor of parliament require collaboration and consensus building from all parties since government of the day lacks clear majority to push through its policies without support from the opposition.
Overcoming moral hurdles and intolerances in a hung parliament is a complex journey requiring tact and patience to achieve in our now Ghana
History has it that countries like Germany, Italy, UK, Australia, New Zealand and India at one time in their history had minority in parliament but managed to put country’s interest over and above party and/or individual parochial interest. Evidence shows that navigating a balanced parliament is enormously controversial both politically and ethically as often such art appears unacceptable, counterproductive and risky when not handled well. Truth is that negotiating with the opposition in a hung parliament is like ‘trying not to get to heaven, but only trying to avoid hell’. This is even tricky when parties come to the table with entrenched positions and conditions that may undermine rule of law, tend to disrespect cherished citizens and incentivises politicians to engage in wrongs with ease and impunity.
In these trying times, Ghana must continually use her balanced parliament to its advantage instead of allowing it to derail her resolve to build back better and brighter
Ghana is in extraordinary times and therefore needs the ruling NPP government to remain innovative, bold, and extraordinary in its approach to dealing with the realities of our time. Indeed, times are different, with Government having secured a record time IMF deal to support its Post-Covid-19 programme for economic growth(PC-PEG). Broadly, PC-PEG is meant to address our harsh realities of: macroeconomic instability, eroded fiscal space with budget rigidities, worsened fiscal deficit, rising public debts, tightened financing requirements, rising cost of living, heightened fiscal risks, precarious energy sector, increased vulnerability of the marginalised in society and a relatively slow-down economic growth. Interestingly, our current hung parliament is a reminder to us on the need to have all hands on deck to work in harmony to achieve the objectives of the PC-PEG in our quest to reset our economy on the path of sustainable inclusive growth without compromising on pushing for the greater societal reforms for justice, equality and accountability.
Hung Parliament is less arrogant because it requires compromises to pass legislations
Evidently, in dealing with our current challenges and crisis, the NPP government recognises the need for public participation; cooperation and support of the minority to be able to build back better together. However, these requirements must not be achieved at the expense of compromising on our democratic ideals, of respecting people’s fundamental rights, and ensuring that justice, fairness and accountability are well served at all times. With these in mind, it is hard to come to terms with NDC’s condition that NPP must stop prosecuting its members who currently are facing trials for various acts in exchange for cooperation in our current hung parliament. The truth remains that, both NPP and NDC love Ghana yet will in any day leverage politics to achieve their respective goals. It is clear that in proactively dealing with the current entrenched position of NDC trust, consensus building, extension of incentives; negotiations and drawing of redlines will have to sustain the gains we have made in resetting our economy so far.
Ghana needs an innovative, courageous and stable government with support from engaging minority to prioritize improvement in the welfare of her cherished citizens above party interests in these challenging times.
In as much as NPP government has opted for stakeholder engagements in conducting government business for Ghana’s rebuilding, it is obvious that it will have to make some compromises too in ensuring Ghana ultimately wins. However, what NPP must be seen clearly doing is to not accept conditions that put our democratic principles of probity and accountability in danger. It is in this light that Government believes NDC should allow its members the mileage to face the laws of our land and be vindicated or otherwise; with the end goal being working together with Ghana and for Ghanaians. Government stance is premised on the belief that politicians at all times must strongly signal to the younger generation that crime in whatever form is unacceptable. Yes! Nana Akufo-Addo-led NPP Government must be seen not bending the rules to encourage adverse behaviuors so to not undermine our hard won democratic credentials. The simple truth is, Ghanaians are in support of allowing rule of law to take its course.
Engaging to deal with realities, of our times to the detriment of individuals or a group of persons takes courage and strength, but with open mindedness and political will, we should forge ahead towards creating a more just, inclusive and safer Ghana
Clearly, as we forge to build Ghana through negotiations, we must at all times settle on what is necessary, account for factors that make Ghana the ultimate winner, agree on end-goals that are appropriate and realistic and not impose our own laws by legitimizing illegalities because we believe we have control. Evidently, a hung parliament does not mean we have to kiss goodbye to our quest of building strong and resilient institutions. It means maximising the pluses of less confrontational party politics and minimising the minuses to get Ghana recover from its current volatile state as consolidation of government flagship programmes like 1D1F, Free SHS, PFJ, GhanaCares, YouStart, and others.
Is hung parliament, a license for parliamentarians to do their jobs well or take entrenched positions to serve party interests at the expense of Ghana’s Rebuilding efforts with IMF-backed PC-PEG?
Clearly, NPP government is ready to make sacrifices and compromises in navigating these turbulent times by actively engaging the opposition on all policies aimed at building Ghana back faster, but what it will not do is to sacrifice Ghana’s development for the opposition’s interest. It is in this light that NDC’s call for non-prosecution of its accused members as a prerequisite for supporting government business on the floor of parliament should be carefully weighed to make Ghana, the ultimate winner. The truth is NDC should pause, reflect and reconsider its option of boycotting parliamentary proceedings any time its accused member is due for court in the name of solidarity and allow the wheels of justice to grind slowly to its expected end. Today, it is a hung parliament so Ghanaians are counting on our politicians to deliver the magic of improving their living standards with their well thought through policies and not with their entrenched positions that eventually make us all losers. Ghana first!!!