More Negatives than Positives by NPP Govt. - CDD
The Center for Democratic Development (CDD) mid-term assessment of the Kufuor administration on Tuesday described the general weakness of Ghana's Parliament vis-à-vis the Executive as one of the major governance deficits in the country.
"Although the Constitution gives Parliament (through its committees) an important oversight role in the administration of the state, a political culture characterized by a hegemonic executive has kept Parliament weak and ineffective in its check on the executive," the CDD findings said.
The report, which was read by H. Kwasi Prempeh, Director for Legal Policy and Governance, CDD-Ghana at a forum held at the conference room of the center in Accra, further described the inability of the Kufuor administration to reverse this longstanding image of Parliament as one of the minus sides of the NPP administration.
Significantly, Prempeh said, the President's selection of too many ministers of state, including nearly all-key ministers from Parliament and his continuation of the practice of appointing non-minister MPs to serve on public boards have effectively neutralized the potential of Parliament to serve as an important oversight institution.
The rubber stamping of the famous $1 billion IFC loan document both through the Finance Committee of Parliament and in the full House, with no credible independent due diligence by Parliament, Prempeh went on, is a classic case of a Parliament that is excessively deferential to the desires and wishes of the executive.
The overall context within which this assessment was undertaken and the point of departure for the discussion was according to Prof. E. Gyimah-Boadi, executive director, CDD-Ghana cumulative and steady, adding that there has been significant improvement in governance in Ghana under the Fourth Republic and under the Kufuor-NPP administration in particular.
However, he emphasized, this assessment is not an exercise in relativity. We do not seek to and are not interested in comparing governance under Kufuor-NPP with governance under Rawlings-NDC. Nor are we assessing governance under Kufuor-NPP administration in terms of tropicalized or some exotic African variety of governance. Prof Gyimah-Boadi said.
The standards of governance being applied here are absolute rather than relative, and global rather than developing nation, he pointed out.
Meanwhile the report went on to describe the Kufuor administration as minimalist when it comes to upholding constitutional principles and values.
Prempeh said while the Kufuor Government has generally respected the constitution, it has not tried to do more than minimally required under the law. Nor has it restrained itself from exploiting for its political benefit the full measure of existing loopholes and opportunities in the Constitution.
Taking advantage of an absence of a constitutional or statutory ceiling in the size of the Supreme Court, the CDD said, the Kufuor administration has appointed a large number of new justices to the Supreme Court.
While the quality of the appointments has been generally high, it has created the perception of court packing.
However, the CDD on the plus side of the Kufuor government said President Kufuor scores high personal marks for refraining from acts, omissions or utterances that would undermine respect for law and the Constitution.
Prempeh further recognized the separation of party and state, the dissolution of the culture of silence as well as enforcement of laws against official malfeasance as some of the positive achievements of the Kufuor Government.
In all the CDD concluded by saying, because this was a qualitative, rather than a quantitative assessment, no attempt has been made here to assign numerical value or weights to the points mentioned.
It said the fact that there may be numerically more points highlighted on the minus side of the balance sheet than on the plus side, does not suggest or imply a negative net verdict against the Kufuor-NPP.