My presentation on macropolitics of Ghana@50 conference - Historical Association of ghana transcript, UNEDITED. of
GHANA’S INDEPENDENCE GOLDEN JUBILEE ANNIVERSARY ROUNDTABLE CONFERENCES Theme: Reflections on Fifty Years of Ghana’s Independence: Interrogating the Past, Shaping the Future Sub theme: Rule of Law, Government and The People Date: 23rd-24th October 2006 Venue: La Palm Royal Beach Hotel LAUNCHING CEREMONYChairman: His Lordship Justice George Kingsley Acquah(Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana)Welcome, Opening Remarks and Introductions byProf. Kofi Darkwa:We are about to start the function. We would like to start with a prayer. May I call onRev. Dr. A.A. Akrong. PRAYERSRev. Dr. A.A. Akrong: Please bow down your heads and let us pray.TOPIC: THE ELECTORAL PROCESS AND THEDEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCEDr. Amos Anyimadu:Thank you very much Mr. Chairman, being in this business, I myself have organized afew of this….. I can perfectly understand the situation that I must confess that am in avery difficult situation because I was finishing a paper on human security when I got acall from Auntie Irene I have to come and comment on a presentation by a speaker. I saidwell, comment is not too difficult so I drove straight here and immediately I got here shesaid no, no the agenda has been changed, we are talking on elections and just about 5minutes ago she stuck a piece of paper with topics in my hands, am in a very difficult
situation but I have to say am a political scientist, infact I must confess to you the onlyreason why I came to Ghana for my Ph.D was to learn some history because when I wasdoing my thesis I realized I have to study much more Ghanaian history and that is theprimary reason why I returned to this country and I have been stuck here since.Am very happy to be here and especially having benefited from your session at theOAUTTU conference centre a few days ago, and seeing the sterling performance of theparamount chief from Tumu especially, I think I should do my best and also seeing somany of my important mentors including Nana Kwabena Nketia here. As a matter of factthe last paper I wrote on elections I gave a paper to Nana and he characteristically tore itapart so am going to try remember his comments and to try to speak around that. I willjust read the topics, the points am supposed to speak to:1. Provide a general background to the electoral processes in Ghana before and afterIndependence.2. Which institutions have been responsible for elections, referenda, and plebiscite inGhana.3. Discuss the electoral processes with regards to the election of the president.4. Comment for example on the use of the electoral college in the election of theceremonial President in the Second Republic.5. Compare the electoral processes in Ghana with other places for example the U.S. andthe United Kingdom.6. Do the electoral processes suiting our purposes and enhance the development of the
democratic culture, can there be any improvements.Now as you can see these are very tall menu that Auntie Irene has given me and of courseI do not intend to answer or even respond to all of them, not being a historian myself Iwill not try to talk about the general background to elections at all. Now as a matter offact just this morning, I myself I do not really study macro politics my area of research isvery much on Telemetric and human security so when people asked me to talk about bigpolitics I get a bit frightened. Luckily for me yester night Joy FM rang me that I wasgoing to speak on political parties and democracy this morning so suddenly I had tothink about macro politics and that is where am going to come from.The point that I want to make is that we are facing a very Eurocentric challenge in howwe approach democratization in elections generally. I think the dominant frameworks forthe study of democratization are fundamentally flawed, infact I do not see that flawed, Ithink that within the past five years or so at least on an academic basis a lot of thesetheories on transition to democracy have been quite comprehensively rebuttal at a veryleast but somehow I think there are certain laps between what happens on the academicfront and what happens for lack of better word, what happens at the activist front, whathappens in terms of the dealings of international aids establishment and so on and soforth so that I think for instance as historians you perhaps have much better advantages inadvising us on the meaning of our present conjuncture. From the political scienceperspective the dominance framework that we use in analyzing democratization is really,this is from another view of modernization theory but it is really like a number of planes
trying to take off from an airport.The dominant framework is something called the transition to democracy so that at leastfor in Ghana for instance for the past 15 years or whatever we have been transiting todemocracy. Now I and infact, increasingly many other people I think are beginning tosee that we are actually not in a transition. We are actually in a quite stable situation. Inother words, many people accept that we are not fully democratic today, the expectationvery much is that the situation we have today is a quite temperate situation and we aregoing to move from the situation to something else which people call full democracy orthe consolidation of democracy or whatever. Now what I have to suggest is that asituation in which we are in today is a quite stable structure form so that we have to takeit very, very seriously. We are going to be stuck to the process which is neither fullyauthoritarian nor fully democratic for a very, very long time. So that we should not takeour present situation as a temperate situation and always hoping that the time that theycome back and they were not and then the Executive Secretary of the United NationResearch into Institutional Development says that one of the problems in analyzingAfrica is that we are trying to make Africa what she is not and what she cannot becomeand that systematically built-in a certain Afro-pessimism because Africa is not likely tobe democratic the way in which Norway for instance, is democratic. Ghana is not goingto be democratic the way in which the United State for instance, is democratic so I wantto suggest that as historians you have a very good comparative in trying to specify thestructural differentiation of the Ghanaian social structure. What is specific from ourhistory and other things not necessarily Ghanaian but at least in Ghana type societies.
That is a general point from which I am coming from, now if I try to link this to some ofthe points Auntie Irene has given me, one of the most important point that I find is theissue of which institutions have been responsible for elections in Ghana.There is a certain dichotomy in the way in which Ghanaians see elections. Outside, manypeople including many professional groups see the administration of elections in Ghanaas very, very good. I remember attending a conference at IDA i.e. InternationalDemocratic Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and the executive director was, he literallythought Dr. Afari Gyan was a god because for him he was such a good electionadministrator and trying to flatter I do not have a details here but actual a World Bankreport, I think it was a world development report which they actually had theadministration of elections in Ghana as a boss of good practice but of course theGhanaians here, we turn to see our elections administration much more critically and Ithink there is a historical reason for this. I think the historical specifics that we have tolook at is Nkrumah’s administration, it is a plebiscite to turn Ghana into a Republic in1960. Now if you look at Jeff Obeng’s accounts in…………. is very, very clear one,Nkrumah knew he was going to win anyway because he knew that the issue of turningGhana into a Republic was something that will never have a no return and for that reasonhe was absolutely determined to ensure a very transparent election at least in terms forthe logistics in organizing elections so that from the 1960 election he noticed that theadministration of elections in Ghana turns from being organized by the Ministry of LocalGovernment or equivalent into a sort of a semi-autonomous entity at least. And of coursein the processes after Nkrumah with the various commissions including the Akuffo Addo
Constitutional commission, there was a very clear strategy for making the administrationof elections independence so that if you compare Ghana to the francophone countries, forinstance where even up to today most of these countries’ elections are organized d by theexecutives more or less, mostly the ministry of interior something like that or otherAfrican countries that is the East African countries where the executives are much moreinvolved in elections. You see that in Ghana going to Justice Kingsley Nyinah, the lateJustice Abban and even before the commissioner for 1968 Justice Azu Crabbe I think, wehave always had a quite independence trend and I think that is a structural disequilibrium,that is a big fort in the roll, that is at least, I will say that is important historical conjecturein 1960 makes the process irreversible so that for instance, if suddenly Ghana is to haveelections conducted by Ministry of Local Government or the Ministry of Interior that willseem very, very strange.I must confess I do not really remember specifically about the elections of the presidentin the Second Republic. I remember the interesting thing that was Busia’s pressure on themilitary commission, the three-month commission to hand over to a proper president andthat is a much more controversial issue. What I want to say is that I do not know what ishappening in the archives but before it became whatever it is now public records orwhatever, they had a project called the Records of Ghana Project or something like thatand the papers of the NLC Constitutional Commission were actually available in thearchives. Infact, I remember the record number of NLCCC something like that. I used itlong time ago and when my good friend Garret Austin came back to Ghana and referredhim to it he could trace it in the archives, it must be changed over but there is excellent
documentation of that somewhere in the archives, all the minutes of the ConstitutionalCommission and the political whatever and I remember the Siriboe Committee report arealso fully documented in the archives. So that is something that can easily be cross-checked.Now the issue about whether our electoral processes enhanced the development ofdemocratic culture, I think that is in a very tall order. I mean democracy is way beyondelections, infact our new category that has emerged in political science is somethingcalled Illiberal Democracy. It was put together by a columnist of a News Week who alsowrites a historical account, Frederick Sakari who has an Eastern background andessentially the whole point about illiberal democracy is that elections are not enough.You can have countries which have mastered the electoral process and still failed to bedemocratic. Infact, I was part of the beginning of this whole argument that we are not ina transition anyway, we are in a stable situation which is neither democratic norauthoritarian.Now the final point that I want to make isthat can there be any improvement, definitely. Ithink the most important point in Ghana today is, I said on the radio today that themodern state behaves like an ostrich. I mean we have a certain international amnesia onmany of these things. Last Sunday I was at a most remarkable event at Akropong, NanaAmpem Darko better known as George Darko gave a musical tribute to Nana Dokua tomark her 40th anniversary on the throne as Queenmother of Akwapim. Now, what struck
was the, the term that I want to describe the Historical Associations’ event at OAATUwhether I will use again for the traditional authorities was the co-venire authorizing of thetraditional state. We have to spend a quite a time in the palace and I also saw how themodern state, the District Secretary and company related to the event. Now it is veryobvious that the traditional state has a degree of authority which the modern state doesnot come near. It appears to me that unless we resolve this kind of shadow politics, thiskind of artificial tension between the so-called modern state and the traditional state. Atthe end of the things that happen, within the modern state in their relation will be very,very artificial. I mean, do not want to put him down but actually at the ceremony lastSunday, somehow, let me be careful, the person who made the least impact, if I might putit in such undiplomatic term is the District Secretary because he was there pushing verymuch an official agenda but when George Darko spoke, when the M.P. spoke through avery traditional medium, you could see that the people correlate to that in a very, verypowerful way. So that I think that we have a lot of fundamental re-thinking to do in thisour Jubilee Year. We really serious have to re-construct basic blocks of our politicalstructure. Thank you very much.Mr. Chairman’s ResponseThank you Dr. Anyimadu. We will now take the second presentation and react to the two.Mr. Chairman:Thank you very much Madam Asafo. Ladies and gentlemen, we have listened to Dr.Anyimado and Madam Asafo, as were advised at the beginning, they have been drafted in
at short notice nevertheless they have been actually been able to give us the importantideas around which should focus our discussion. Am reminded by a very important pointthat was made by Kwabena Sakyi decades ago about constitutions being born and notmade in the sense that they have to be located within the historical and cultural milieu. Itappears to me that one of the problems that we are having with our attempt to establishdemocratic systems the way that other cultures have it, have resulted in a situation thatDr. Anyimado has described where we think that we are in a transition but hispresentation that transition must last decades even possibly centuries. So it is about timewe actually got to appreciate that it is going to be……. For sometime so we want to makeit workable rather than kind ourself into thinking that within a couple of years or so wewill graduate to what other peoples and what society calls democratic institutions. I nowlike to invite reactions, questions and submissions with respect to both presentation thisafternoon.Nana Akuoko Sarpong’s Remarks:Mr. Chairman I think maybe because of the way Dr. Anyimado made his presentation, thereal issues did not come out of his presentation. The fundamental issue is democracy isculture, now what we are missing, we missed that in 1957, we missed that in 1960Constitution; and because it is the way Nkrumah started with his championship of theindependence course. The moment he tried to alienate the fundamental institution ofchieftaincy into the system when he saw it as the institution of enemy to what theywanted to do that is the opportunity that we missed in 1960. Later on Nkrumah tried to,that is why he started calling himself Osagyefo and then the panoply of traditionalinstitution to open through parliament and so on and if you remember, he refused toappoint or to get a vice-president and what he intended to do was that he always get apresidential commission constitutive of traditional chiefs. He wanted to come to termswith that but he did not come out clearly. We lost that opportunity also in 1968. Thatfundamental issue we have two major parallel system of government. Unless we come toterms to see that democracy in this country cannot grow will now take on board this hugeinstitution of chieftaincy which is now controlling our lives. Like it or not, of coursewhen a politician gets power he does not, he wants to see power indivisible but unless we
come to terms and make sure that the institution of chieftaincy is brought on board likethe way you were saying it in Akropong with that small event it will show you thedichotomy. I see this more so before because I have been a member of the executive andnow am a retired traditional ruler so take me seriously. So you the fundamentaldifference, you see that the whole system of the new creation is so decent from the peopleand we have not made any attempt to make the two. The 1992 Constitution makes onlyreferences to guarantee the institution of chieftaincy they should be represented on this,they should be doing this and so on but it does not come to terms in actually taking theinstitution on board as part of the institution of governance of this nation. So is thebureaucracy and the political element who are controlling power when the real power liessomewhere, Nana Nketia am sure you will bear me out, you were making that point alongsomething, so we are actually ostriching. Now, unless we accept that these two parallelsystems should be converged as checking part of our system, the whole concept ofdemocracy will be lost to us and the nation has to make a decision. If you do not makethat decision you will just be dancing around the problem and you will be thinking thatyou are practicing democracy, you are really not practising democracy and it will beeluding us for a long, long time for the rest of our lives.Comment/QuestionMr. Chairman, political parties are supposed to be democratic institutions but in Ghanawe have witnessed a lot of weaknesses, infact, they have become rivalry institutions. Iwant to know whether Dr. Anyimadu would want to suggest an institution of participatorydemocracy in our parliament instead of having political parties. The other thing is theexecutive, am wondering whether we need to continue with the percentage instead ofordinary winning votesDr. Anyimadu’s ResponseOn the issue of from the way you presented participatory democracy, I have a suspicionthat, that will be beyond political parties or participatory democracy will be stronger thandemocracy as we have it. Well, my point will be that we are struggling even withdemocracy, logically we are going to perform even worse with strong democracy. I takeyour points political parties are not democratic institutions in Ghana. As a matter of fact
the point that I was making on radio this morning is that a very fundamental failure in ourpolitical structure right now is that the political parties are simply too big. I was veryhappy when I heard a paramount chief of Tumu in your last conference criticizing theavoidance of discrimination Act because I fully agree with him on that, the avoidance ofdiscrimination Act December 1957 which has actually become consensual mantra inGhanaian political talk. I think that is a little respect is a very deliberating Act becausewhat makes it is that, infact the Act which still is the background for the registration ofpolitical parties is not only strictly enforced as you all know but because it is there andgoing back to my point that when it comes to formal politics we really play the ostrich.We pretend that we parties which have offices in ⅔ of the district and so on and so forthso that what you have is these parties have actually become very, very big politicalmachines and the lines for accountability within the party is almost impossible toexamine so that I will actually will not want to move for if you want stronger democracy,I want to move for a more cyndicalyst kind of idea where people from smaller parties canrelate and so on and so forth.On the next point, Nana knows that I perfectly agree with him in a point of facts I havebeen to his palace in Agogo at least once to learn from his deep experience. Yes, and as Isaid we are not going to go anywhere in this country until we work hard in a certain morestable arrangement between the para-governments that we have. I think the 1992Constitution in almost every respect took several steps backwards I mean this wholepoint of our chiefs not being involved in politics. So on and so forth, it is really abackward step undoubtedly. Having said that, the resolution on that question was not aneasy one, am here and perhaps I have to agree with Nana a bit. Chieftaincy is notdemocratic, it might be legitimate but it is not democratic and in our modern politicalsystem what we are trying to ensure is a certain form of democracy. So there is a certainstructural tension between the modern political system and the traditional politicalsystem. Now I think that that tension can be managed more creative than we are now. Inpoint of fact right now as far as I can see formally we are pretending the tension does notexist, I mean there are all sorts of day to day ways in which the politician and thetraditional authorities try to manage it but even if we get beyond that amnesia we have
appreciated that we have a very, very difficult situation. In South Africa right now therole of traditional authorities in governance is becoming a very, very hot topic. We arepretending that it is not an issue but when we get beyond the pretending, am suggestingthat we still have a very difficult problem to contend with. Thank you.Nana Akuoku Sarpong”s ResponseSorry to disrupt Mr. Chairman, I know that looking at it at a distance, your description ofit as undemocratic man hold but what am saying it we have to find a way of coming toterms with that. Unless we come to terms from it the democracy because we are run twoparallel systems and the most powerful system is on the ground. I mean relative to thatthe institutions of the state, the new ones are mostly artificial and that is the point that Iam making. The point I am making is that we have to find a way of accommodating it inone form or the other but unless we come to terms with that, am afraid the democracy,that w are looking at it from different angles.Nana Asiedu Boafo’s CommentMr. Chairman, I think Dr. Anyimadu made a categorical statement and I do not think itshould be allowed to go. He said categorically that chieftaincy is not democratic, he is atypical representative may be before I got into it I will have been typical tool of what myfather used to call ‘Akrakyefuo’, the western educated elites, they look at western conceptand they try to define local concept in those terms. I do not know how a Japanese forinstance, will call imperial system there which has sustained a dynamic economic growthover the past century which had made the Japanese able to manufacture aeroplanes, madethe Japanese to manufacture the first aircraft that carriers that nearly conquered the fareast from both the British and Americans. I don’t see how a Japanese can stand up oneday and say oh! The imperial system is not democratic. Now in the Ghanaian context, isrudimentarily democratic in the sense that is an Electoral College system. If for instancefrom my village in order to contest to be a chief, you must belong to a certain clan whichis equivalent roughly to being a paid up member of a political party. Like if you are not‘Asona’ where you went Akropong, you can’t contest for Akuapem here so you mustbelong to that clan in the first place and then when the times comes, the members pay
their nomination fees by going to see paying drinks money to certain power brokers likethe Queenmother, the Abusuapanyin, the Krontihene. Everyone will be taken on boardthen after that when a short list is made a lot of consultation takes place before the finalselection is made and then when you are presented to the general public, the generalassembly of the town. I f the people don’t like you, the electors have to withdraw you.First, second time, third time if you don’t still give the people the choice that they want,they have the power to get into political party concern, the Asona, the Oyoko, Bretuoand carry off their choice to be chief . So I am not saying it is entirely democratic in thewestern sense but it is totally democratic in our culturally milieu and our environmentalmilieu. Just like you have it, you have kings in Malaysia and you are not going to say ifyou are Malasian you are going to condemn it outright because or say it is notdemocratic from a western European point of view because it does not allow for castingfor the ballot papers. So that is my view on the statement.Chairman’s ResponseThank you, Nana. I think the main point is that although it is elective, it is basicallyheritable, you got to belong to the appropriate clan or lineage before you even become acandidate before election.Nana Asiedu’s Response:Right that is why am saying not in a western European sense but in our context and evenall the imperial context of India, Japan, China, Malaysia and even Britain, it isdemocratic.RemarksActually I have also participated in the things all this times and one thing comes likeProf. Anyimado said legitimacy and authority. He made that reference to Nana’s positionabout the chief may be legitimate but democracy is what exists in the United Statessituation. I think what we seem to be battling actually is that we have a situation whichas people we have a situation which we see to belong to us. So in every village tryanything derogatory about the system in the village and you can really be in trouble. Say
that about the nation, state, and everybody will agree with you, toast derogatory about theproblems of the nation state and everybody in the country will agree with you that thenation state is wrong. Those are the things that we need to start confronting as a people.How are we going to make the nation state which was created for us, how are we going tomake ourselves belong to it and make it belong to us. I think that is an issue we need toconfront frontally otherwise all these that we are talking whether one thing is calleddemocracy and another thing is called legitimate or whatever, we could keep talkingabout it on and on again and will not arrive at anything because we keep having the sameproblem. I think that is the point I want to make.Chairman’s CommentThank you very much. I think when you look at the history of Ghana after independence,whatever one thinks about military regimes and all the rest what they share with theelected regimes is that all of them have tried to make a nation out of the people broughttogether into a state. I do not think we have actually reached a state where we can callourselves a nation but am sure we have gone a long way from 1957 even though peopleshow bickery about the position being allocated on ethnic basis and that kind of thing, byand large I thing Ghanaians have come a long way in thinking of themselves as a nationrather than a disparage group of people and I made the point that all our regimes from1957 had contributed to this and I think we stand every good chance of becoming a realnation in the future. As a historian, I think in terms of decades and centuries andmillennia so am quite very hopeful that we will get there. Thank you.My sister here made a very interesting suggestions for example, what are colleagues inthe francophone have been doing that is the proportional representation in which casenobody is frustrated because even if you score only 10% of the total votes you areentitled to only 10% seats in parliament and therefore, everybody feels committed to thesystem. May be it is about time we start thinking seriously in terms of making sure thateverybody is committed to the system because the winner takes all system that we havebeen operating alleviate some people or some section of the society and therefore, theydo not feel committed to the system. If you are thinking in terms of making every body
comes on board, everybody feels committed to Ghana in cooperated then may be theseare some of the issues we would want to think about seriously. So I will like to inviteinterventions or queries on this particular dimension of the discussion.Ali Yaba Yakubu (KNUST) QuestionThank you very much Mr. Chairman. I want to thank the two presenters for theirunprepared but very educative presentations. I have two questions but before I ask them,having followed the presentations from the morning up to this time I have made apersonal observation that it is really a huge challenge and pride to be a historian amongintellectuals because you are embodiments of all the disciplines. You can never say youdo not know this because it is not your field.My first question is to Dr. Anyimadu. He made mention of the fact that Ghana is notwholly democratic or autocratic. I want him to explicitly explain why Ghana is not fullydemocratic. At least, I know from a layman’s point of view why we are not autocratic.My second question is to Nana. Nana, I want to please find out why and how chieftaincycan be practically brought on board to co-exist with modern system of governance toensure, enhance democracy. How should it be brought on board? Thank you.Dr. Anyimadu’s ResponseWell, Ghana is obviously not fully democratic, there is a whole industry by theInternational Aid establishment to grade various countries in terms of how democraticthey are even the world Bank is gotten to that kind of game and they are all sorts ofleague table and as far as we do not get 10% it means we are not fully democratic. Butmore seriously, I was given examples. I made a presentation at Solace’s Institute, i.e.IDEG over a month ago. Just take the issue of local government, there is not localgovernment in this country. Seriously speaking, there is no local government in this
country. You can talk about local government with the bid L and the big G but that doesnot necessarily mean you have the real thing. I have been doing a lot of research inMoree village in the Abora Asedunkwa Mankesim district and if you look at thegovernance of Moree for instance, the local state is very, very weak. What we have as alocal government in the first place there is not enough government in it. I was notsurprised in this whole cocaine business because if you have been doing some research inthe fishing communities in the Central Region and all these fishing villages have becomeinternational sea port because there is a business called SYCO and in SYCO, infact if yougo to some of the villages now, they do not really fish at all.In few of these villages around Cape Coast now, their full time occupation is simply tostream their canoes to these Korean boats normally fishing trawlers and just buy from andif you are in the village you see that is not only fish that get into the village. All sorts ofthings get in and the government has actually no control. When they had the NationalFarmers Day up in the North at Tamale a year ago, both in Elmina and in Moree therewas civil war because the second best National Fisherman was actually chosen fromMoree and the best fisherman who was chosen in Elmina. In both cases the fishingcommunities in the ground absolutely disown the selected men because the state simplydid not have the capacity to reach down…………….that point in time the regionalfisheries office in Cape Coast was actually squatting under a tree because over a yearthere has been a legal case and the regional office of Agriculture has been locked up. Sothat is what I mean there is not enough governance, if you have enough governance theissue of whether the government is democratic or not does not come in.
Nana Akuoko Sarpong’s ResponseI did mention that if you look at the 1992 Constitution, a large room was created for thechieftaincy institution, but apart from just being expressed in the constitution as partnersin governance, it does not really mean anything in terms of practical, it is not part of thepractical processes of governance in the nation. The 1992 Constitution for instance saysthe institution of chieftaincy is guaranteed but that is all that it means. The NationalHouse of Chiefs should have representations on the Council of State, the Council of Stateis an amorphous body, it really cannot exercise any power. It is just an advisory, theiradvice is not open to the public so that in itself is a weightless so nobody knowsits…………. It is not possible to know exactly what kind of advice that they providedboth to the executive and parliament. So that is also a big between. The argument forinstance that raises this afternoon about the powers of parliament that parliament cannotinitiate legislation simply because it has no authority to initiate any policy that will be acharge on the consolidate fund so the executives that dictates the pace. That is notdifferent from, for instance having the National House of Chiefs. When you hear thename National House of Chiefs, I have been a member for twenty years, it does not reallymake any sense at all. If you cannot provide any advice to anybody you cannot even calla minister to come to speak to the National House of Chiefs. So it is just there, when youhear the name the President of the National House of Chiefs which runs almost parallelsystems of government but one is just an expression of intent, it does not really make theNational House of Chiefs, it has no power in any form to influence a government policyand the regional House of Chiefs is just about the same from which we select about five
from each of the Regional House of Chiefs to serve on the National House of Chiefs. Soall these institutions which have been created but it is the executive that calls the teameven if you go to the extent of relating it to what parliament can do and cannot do, thatshows that it is the executive that runs it but as a practical issue if you happens to befallen into that area of category called the traditional rulers, there was the district chief,for instance, relates to either a paramount chief or any other person, you will see that youare only there as a glorify institution. So there is no power, if it has to take any form thanit might be recognized as a true partner and a true partnership must be true partnershipthat you must provide the wealth with all, you must provide the resources. After all thetraditional councils have a registrar but beyond paying the registrar. They do not evenprovide ordinary paper for them to run the affairs of the traditional councils. So thetraditional council is supposed to be a government institution but they do not provideanything other than paying the registrar. How that traditional council should be run, thedistrict secretary has no interest whatsoever so the district secretaries who are running theshow on behalf of the executive. So the point that I am making is which ever form ittakes it may even go to the extent of going to the Tanzania way and say that we areabolishing the institution, that we know but that is the point I am making that unless wemake accommodation for this in one form of the other, the democracy that we are seekingto choose, becomes the most powerful institution is on the ground which has no part toplay in the governance of the nation, that is the reality. So I am only throwing out achallenge that the nation has to come to terms with that, unless we come to terms withthat and again the other weakness you made reference to, Norway and the others. Theresource base of a nation determines the real practice of democracy because the rising
expectation which the nation is not able to satisfy undermines the authority ofgovernment and the nation because we are raising the hope of the people which are notforth coming and then it creates cynicism among the people and then am telling you thatthe majority of the people in this nation are disenchanted about the political process thatwe are using to run the country, am telling you this, that is a fact on the ground. So wemust not be assuming that simply because we have institutions of democracy, we arepracticing democracy as you said.Nana Kobina Nketia’s InterventionIt seems that chiefs are becoming an advocacy group and when each person speaks theyspeak for themselves but I was reacting to some of the things the gentleman said andlooking at what Prof. is also saying, Ghana has often been said to be often in transition,one of the questions I personally ask is transition from what to what? When you aretransiting you should know that you are moving from A to B. If am going to Geneva andam transiting in London, I know that this is where I am and am going and I hear thisstatements made more than enough I mean quite often but the destination here is nottalked about. When the young man here was speaking and he was talking about themodern state, what does he mean by the modern state, he did not define it, he just said itbut I can see that in a way we are interrogating power, how does it come, the idea ofconvening. Yesterday for example, I was called and told that after the Moslems havegone to the park, they were moved to where I lived. Now, I was making fun: if I werethere I have to use my Cape Coast farmers’ money, i.e. Cape Coast University pay to lookafter this people because they come and customary is convention and this is part of the
thing. Now, when Nana was speaking we were also interrogating the basis of chieftaincy.Yesterday at another meeting that I was, I said the chief is non-person, now what is thatmeant? And this is things that we have left and we have not interrogated and withoutinterrogating our own basis of existence our own culture, we might not be able to arriveat the usefulness or how we are going to use it in our daily governance. The Akan forexample, call the past Yεn Nananom, they call the future Yεn Nananom so that theancestors are the future and if do not go into the philosophical basis of something likethat how can the ancestors also be the future? You will also be there in the presence andnot know also have a crisis of vision about what to do and where to go. Most of yousitting here are lawyers. You have to talk law for your living but what has the law got todo me, it is not mat, it is not harmony. Your law is British Jurisprudence, Britishcustomary law base on how Roman law which enshrined slavery and it has beensomething that desecrates my existence. Something that desecrates my existence is whatI hake now from what he is saying how is a modern say. So these are all questions part ofthe asking questions and the most important that I could see from this morning and thisevening is the fact that we are now dialoguing with the constitution and who we are andbasically, hopefully we will arrive at a fruitful thing that will make us a nation as we wantto be. Thank you, professor.Chairman’s ResponseThank you Nana. I think Nana has summed up what we have been doing both now andyesterday. We have been interrogating Ghana’s part at least from 1957. One thing I tellmy students is that you should ask the correct questions. Whether or not you get the
proper answer does not really matter. What is more important was conceiving thepossible questions to pose we have been interrogating the past, trying to find out how farwe have gone from 1957 how successfully we have charted our course fromindependence.There is not a consensus of how far we have gone in terms of achieving the aspirations ofthe founding fathers. I do not have any hesitations at all in stating that we are on the rightpath. May be some of us rather impatient and I want to remind people like that that itwas Nkrumah’s impatience that led to most of his problems. You got to be prepared toseek things in our stride, we are dealing with human institutions, some of which havedeveloped overtime. Even if we find reasons to be dissatisfy with them, we cannot throwthem overboard overnight. We have to accommodate ourselves to the institutions just asmuch as we want to accommodate institutions to our convenience and I think what wehave been doing over the past couple of days have indicated that even if we did notsucceed completely, we have come a long way and I think we should all feel encouragedthat we are on the right path and that we will get there. I do not believe that the period oftransition that my young brother talked about will span decades. I think very soon wewould decide what exactly you want to create in Ghana. Whether we want to have aconstitution and structures that actually speak back to your heritage or whether we wantto bring on board other peoples heritage graft it on to our structure which of course willnot lead us anywhere. So being the same people that we are in Ghana, am sure we willknow what to do to ensure that whatever structures that we bring on board have roots anda very deep root at that in our history, in our heritage in our culture.
On this note I will like to bring this two-day functions to an end, we are very gratifiedthat there are more historians here; I mean there are more non-historians than historiansbecause we believe that we want to tap into your wealth of knowledge for us topreviously document what has happened and what has been happening. As you know theidea is that the proceedings of the workshops are going to be written up and we actuallyfind your inputs and your contributions invaluable. Thank you very much.Prof. Odotei’s Comment:Thank you very much and I hope you have enjoyed yourselves as much as I have and thehistorians here. For us this is a feast as we said when we launched it yesterday,information is hidden in the head of a whole lots of people, there are libraries andarchives walking and when we get the right people they just give us history, it means theresearch method we are using now is to find out people who have participated in thehistory of this country. Those who have observed the history of the country so that wewill be able to preserve and map out for the future……….young lawyers and they haveconvinced me that I would not be able to get lawyers to come and sit down with me fortwo days. They told me it was impossible so I was impressed when they traveled all theway from Tamale, Kumasi, Sunyani, Takoradi, they came early the day before and whenthey saw even that the accommodation, the hotel was not ready for them, they went out,booked accommodation paid for accommodation and came here and they have been withus for two whole days. That is speak of the future of this country. We have hope that allthe questions that we have asked and the discussions we will like to received a paper
from you with a bias on your region generally from you but if you have a little bias forexample, we will like to know how lawyers have been performing in Volta Region orwhat contribution have been made and what you think became……..in Takoradi, in Hoand all that. Is there a division between the rural and the urban or between the regionsand the capital? These are issues and if so how have they been over the years, thecontinuity and discontinuities. Elections for example, how have they been in yourregions in particular? For example they tell us that chiefs should not be involved inpartisan politics, we are in Accra and we know chieftaincy in Accra but we know that inthe other areas, chieftaincy is quite a strong institution. Are they really living byconstitution on the ground or are they not and if they are not how come they can get awaywith it. What percentages are not, we want to hear these things and you can citeexamples to tell us that and then we have to find the chiefs and find the secrets, how theyare able to flout the constitution and still retain the stools. So they will tell us the secretshow they have been because you know chieftaincy is going through quite a bit and theyare agents of development, the chiefs are re-writing their own terms of referenceeveryday. If you have somebody like Nana Akuoko Sarpong, a seasoned lawyer who isalso a chief, he knows how to obey the constitution without obeying the constitutionbecause he will tell a l the lays of this country and you…… so we want to know moredeep, we want to go deeper so please send us a little write-up that will enrich the book weare going to write. We hope to be able to launch it next year. We started with the rule oflaw and if comes to Ghana’s Independence we can show a book that the rule of law inGhana since Independence that will be a good birthday present that we can give to thisnation. So we are all working together, if you have some bio-data of judges who have
been in your regions, those who have made an impacts, landmarks cases in your regionwhich we do not know about, landmark cases which have walked through to the supremecourt and the outcome, how they impacted and the rule of laws in this country, we will bemost grateful. So the Historical Society will be expecting something from you and thosewho could not come from the other regions, your colleagues, please tell them that theyhave missed the great feast that we have had here and ask them to bring something.On this note we will like to also thank our Nanas who have been with us. They havereally demonstrated that they are good fighters, we are proud of you. We will meet youagain, two weeks exactly from today. We will meet again, this time we are going todiscuss culture, the Arts and National Identity and we will invite other people who haveparticipated, who also have voice in that. So you will hear from us, if you cannot comebut you join on the internet, we have given you the internet address so you will join usand make your contributions and ask questions on the internet. So on this note we saythank you for Aye Botcher, Prof. Amenumey and what can I say without thanking ourpolitical scientist, they cannot run away from us, they have done a wonderful job, Amosand Solace at very short notice, indeed they are worthy ambassadors. Political Science ishistory turn up side down but today I have charged my definition and opinion on thembecause if they had not come to rescue us I do not know what we would have done soapology for teasing you all the time. And now Per who has come all the way fromNorway, I hope you have enjoyed your self as much. That is our Norwegian Coordinatorof the NUFU Project. Infact they have been given us breast milk because it is the NUFUthat was used to revive the Historical Society to it has a good name NUFU – Breast. The
NUFU Project and we will like to thank our media for coming and our teachers from farcoming. I hope you have learnt enough so you make history more vibrant to our studentsso we attract the bright students and to our chairman Professor Amenumey and I want tosay a big thank you and may God bless us all.