Be brutally frank with political leaders – Former President J.A. Kufuor pleads with Ghanaians

Former President J.A. Kufuor, has challenged Ghanaians to speak their minds to leaders to enable the leaders to get their bearings right.

“It is high time, I believe, people talked brutally frank to political leaders, so they will get their bearings right.

“We need our technocrats to dare to speak. Speak up and let the politicians who will not appreciate do what they should,” he told a gathering at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana.

The former President, who was speaking at the 10th Anniversary Lecture of the late Oyeeman Wereko Ampem II, Gyasehene of Akuapem and Amanokromhene, said it did not mean that once someone was a President or a minister that person knew everything.

Memorial lecture

The lecture was attended by a cross-section of the public, including members of the Diplomatic Corps, politicians, as well as a large representation from Accra Academy, the alma mater of the late chief, known in private life as Mr E.N. Omaboe.

It was jointly organised by the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation, the Atta Mills Memorial Foundation and the University of Ghana.

Visionary leader

President Kufuor described the late Wereko Ampem as a visionary and great leader, a great man, adding, “I think our society needs more Omaboes, people who understand the forces of change around us, both locally and internationally.”

He expressed gratitude to the family of the late Omaboe for approaching him and his foundation to partner the lecture, alongside the Atta Mills Memorial Foundation, adding, “I’m proud to be associated with this lecture”.

Legacy of Ghana

Delivering the inaugural lecture on the theme, “Politics, Economics and the future of Ghana,” the President of the African Centre for Economic Transformation, Dr K. Y. Amoako, said the legacy of Ghana was built on a foundation of peace and stability, democratic governance, commitment to the rule of law, respect for civil society and impressive economic growth.

“We must make our democracy sounder. We must give our citizens reason to believe in what we’ve built and to trust our institutions. We must strive to become what the rest of the world is so keen to see. We must eliminate the Ghana paradox,” he said.

Constitutional reforms recommendations

Dr Amoako expressed concern that the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission that made far-reaching proposals were yet to be acted upon due to political disagreements in Parliament and procedural disputes in the courts.

“And yet, our second generation governance problems are not going away. Our population’s doubts about democratic stability are not going away. Our prospects for economic transformation will not last forever,” he added.

“We may not always be in agreement on the specifics of those reforms, but we will fail our future generations if we let politics get in the way and we do nothing,” he said.

Proposals

He proposed that the relationship between the Legislature and the Executive should be reformed in such a way that the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances would become more distinct and firm, adding, “This will strengthen the ability of Members of Parliament to perform oversight functions and improve accountability across all areas of government.”

Dr Amoako also proposed that a “radical reform” at the local level would decentralise decision making and allow chief executives and assembly members to be chosen in open, multi-party elections, explaining that it had the potential to deepen the political system at the local level, promote more inclusive governance and heighten political engagement among the population.

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