On Tuesday, July 26, 2022 edition of Ghana Tonight on TV3, Dr. Eric Oduro Osae, the Director General of the Institute of Audit Agency said “there is something fundamentally wrong with our democracy.”
Rather than projecting the interest of constituents in Parliament, legislators are whipped to tow their political party lines, with the masses being oblivious of what is expected of their representatives in the legislature.
This, according to Dr. Oduro Osae, has created a big disconnect between the people and governance and expectations.
“…A situation where you have people go to Parliament and they are whipped topping in line to vote according to the expectation of a political party, not expectation of the constituents. Which means there’s something fundamentally wrong with our democracy. There is a big disconnect between expectations, situation on the ground and what is required in the law so far as our democracy is concerned,” he told host, Alfred Ocansey.
His comments come on the back of a survey conducted by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) on the system of governance Ghanaians prefer and their level of trust for it.
The survey does indicate that a lot of the respondents endorsed democracy as a way of governance but the confidence in democracy to meet the expectations is reducing.
Meanwhile, the directive principle of state policy in the 1992 Constitution states that the most secure democracy is that which is able to meet the basic needs of its people.
In his response to how secure Ghana’s democracy is, regarding how it’s not meeting the basic needs, which has informed the dwindling trust as seen in the survey, the Local Governance analyst indicated “it will depend on the connection or the relationship between needs of the people and governance.”
“Governance is expected to promote the welfare and wellbeing of the people. But again, if the governed fails to hold the duty bearers accountable by way of delivering on their mandate, then you can possibly agree with me that democracy will not work to achieve the expected development,” he stated.
He notes there is a big disconnect between the average citizen and government regarding how the latter is supposed to rule or lead. What is expected of parliamentarians and the president for instance is unknown to the average person, the reason a call for sensitisation and education is paramount.
“That is why I was saying that look, we need to do further education as sensitisation especially if you put the question to the average I mean, “what do Parliament’s do?”, whereas many people think that MPs are development agents, a few minority in society, enlightened ones, think that Parliament is supposed to make laws.
“But what Parliament is supposed to do under the Constitution is slightly and/or materially different from what parliamentarians do on the ground and expectations of parliamentarians.
If you ask somebody what the President does, the person thinks that the president is expected to rule the country, and so there is a big disconnect between society’s expectation of their political leaders in the democratic system as against what the democracy we are practicing presents to the people.
So that big disconnect would have to be closed to the extent that people vote without even being mindful of the manifesto. People vote and some people think that they need to be rewarded before they go to vote so they don’t expect anything,” he elucidated.
By Felix Anim-Appau|Onuaonline.com