The Minister for National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, has urged the Majority and Minority side in Parliament to prioritize consensus-building as an effective way to overcome the complexities arising from the composition of the 8th Parliament.
In an address to members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association during a workshop held in Ghana on 24th January, 2022, Albert Kan-Dapaah, spoke extensively on the unprecedented nature of the composition of Ghana’s Parliament, stressing that its unique nature could trigger adversarial politics which would be unhealthy for Ghana’s democracy.
The Minister said, “Evidently, the near-hung nature of the 8th parliament of the 4th Republic, where none of the two major political parties in the country can claim an overwhelming majority in the House, introduces a strange phenomenon to Ghana’s democracy. Unsurprisingly, the early days of the journey along this unfamiliar path has been rough and turbulent, occasioning unpleasant politics of rancour and fistfights, and ultimately, threatening to undo the democratic gains made thus far.”
Albert Kan-Dapaah further entreated both Majority and Minority sides of the House to adopt joint-problem solving and consensus building approaches to ensure that Parliament does not become a destructive force against Ghana’s development. He said, “An objective diagnosis of the current legislative situation is the first step toward avoiding the pitfall of a destructive Parliament. This enables the appreciation of the fact that the tools needed for the successful conduct of business in a near-hung Parliament are completely different from that used in Parliaments where there is a palpable numerical difference between the Majority and Minority.
Certainly, an appreciation of this fact would enable deadlocks that arise from a hung or near-hung Parliament to be considered as necessary conflicts which should illicit the application of proactive conflict resolution mechanisms such as consensus building and joint problem-solving approaches rather than confrontational means which more often than not, further fuel disagreements and unnecessarily entrench positions of the two sides of the House.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen”, he continued “when Ghana became a republic in 1960, Nkrumah, the first President of the land, attempted to create a set of unique value propositions that would characterize the conduct of business in the first Parliament of the first Republic and set it apart from the colonial legacies of the British system.
A major focus of this endeavour was the institution of measures to trigger a paradigm shift from adversarial politics to consensus-based parliamentary system. The idea was to reduce the impact of such confrontations that pitched the government against the Opposition on matters of National interest.
Sixty-four years down the line, in the aftermath of the collapse of three Republics, Ghana appears to be at the very spot of adversarial politics which Nkrumah sought to avoid. Only time would tell as to whether the complexities of the current Parliament would lead to the collapse of the 4th Republic or herald the full maturity of our democracy much to the admiration of all within the comity of nations. My rallying call is for the Majority and Minority sides of Parliament to work towards the realization of the latter.”