A former head of the political science department of the University of Ghana, Emeritus Prof Kwame A. Ninsin has said Ghana’s “monarchical executive” has become the “ultimate prize” which political parties struggle to win.
Ninsin said the Consultative Assembly that drafted Ghana’s 1992 Constitution bequeathed the monarchical presidency to Ghanaians because “It appeared that the mood of the nation favoured a strong executive president,” at the time the constitution was drafted, while Ghana was emerging from military rule and transiting to constitutional rule.
“In response to this latent national preference, the Consultative Assembly created what has been described as a Monarchical Executive vested with a plenitude of powers,” Prof Ninsin said when he delivered a paper on “The 1992 Constitution: The Urgency of Reform” organised by Gyandoh Asmah & Co and IDEG on: “The role of constitutional reforms in consolidation peace, stability and national cohesion” on Thursday December 18, 2014.
The Constitution provides that the President would be Head of State, Head of Government and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana, according to Article 44.1.
“The President would take precedence over all and be subject only to the Constitution, which he has constitutional mandate to execute and maintain (Article 45.1 and 2)”.
The IDEG Scholar-in-Residence noted that: “To ensure that the President is in effective control over all potential centres of dissent and division, the Constitution vests in the President power to appoint a number of public office holders, ranging from members of his cabinet to [Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives] MMDEs and also determine their salaries and retirement benefits.”
“The President does not just exercise omnipotent political power,” Prof Ninsin observed. “He controls equally massive economic resources of the country.”
“This is what Kwabena Anaman (of ISSER) had to say in 2013 about the economic power of the elected president and his group. An election “confers on the winning party or group the management of government policies costing about 100 billion Ghana cedis over the four-year period (based on an average budget of 25 billion Ghana cedis of national government spending per year using actual government spending for 2012 of the current government as a guide and adjusting for inflation).
“With government spending averaging between 25 to 35 per cent of the gross domestic product of the country, the elected government has considerable amount of power and resources to manage (or mismanage) the affairs of the country.””
“This Monarchical Executive, with command over the wealth of the nation, has become the ultimate prize that Ghana’s political class fight for through the electoral system,” Prof Ninsin observed.