WFD Ghana completed the implementation of the Ghana Integrated Programme (Nov. 2015 – Nov. 2018) which was aimed at utilising integrated, “Parties in Parliament” approach to make the policy making and oversight process of the Parliament of Ghana and its political parties more transparent, evidence-based and rigorous. The programme resulted in the establishment and operationalisation of the Inter-Departmental Research and Information Group (IDRIG) to deliver efficient and coordinated services through the continuum of parliamentary research and information management phases in Ghana.
The Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D) programme for Ghana dubbed ‘Strengthening Capacity of Young Parliamentarians as Catalyst of Youth Political Empowerment was implemented from July 2018 to March 2020. This programme was aimed at promoting the political engagement and aspirations of youth persons through the resource base of Members of Parliament (especially Young Parliamentarians) and experts of parliamentary practice to build the capacity of students leaders in university students’ parliaments across the country and create an enabling environment for such young political actors to succeed. WFD Ghana collaborated directly with the Public Affairs Directorate of Parliament on this programme.
WFD is currently implementing the Ghana Inclusive and Accountable Politics (IAP) Programme (November 2018- March 2021) which has the goal of promoting greater access and inclusion of women, youth and persons with disabilities(PWD’s) in the political process and encourage more open and transparent democratic institutions (particularly Parliament) with increased engagement with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and citizens. The Programme will engage the Parliament of Ghana (Open Parliament Steering Committee and Task Team), parliamentary monitoring organizations (PMOs) and CSOs.
Ghana, since independence in 1957 has progressed towards democratic development from a transition through alternating regimes of military rule and elected government till 1992 when the current uninterrupted multi-party democracy was ushered. The country practices a hybrid parliamentary and presidential system of government with political governance shared among the executive, legislature, and judiciary. A major unique characteristic of this hybrid system is the constitutional provision that enjoins the President to appoint majority of his ministers from Parliament.
The legislature is made up of a single (unicameral) chamber called Parliament with 275 Members of Parliament elected by citizens of Ghana every four years to perform legislative, financial, oversight of the executive, representational and deliberative roles. The Speaker presides over Parliament, but the President may veto bills or resolutions passed by Parliament. However, Parliament requires a two-thirds majority in the chamber to override his veto. Membership of the non-partisan local government system called District Assemblies is partly by election and partly by appointment by the President.
The gaps identified in recent times in the Ghana’s democratic development include:
- An increasing erosion of trust of public officials including MPs by citizens.
- Deteriorating confidence in the legislature’s control over the Executive
- Lack of understanding of the concept of separation of powers existing between the three arms of government by citizens. Thus, Parliament is regarded as a direct appendage of the Executive by many citizens.
- Citizens request MPs to focus their time and resources on resolving local level developmental challenges instead of spending enough time emphasising and showcasing to the public the importance of national law making and oversight.
Total absence of gender mainstreaming and social inclusion in most public institutions including Parliament.
Ghana next presidential and parliamentary elections is scheduled for December 2020.
The existence of economic, social and physical barriers to the political participation of marginalised groups such as women, youth and persons with disability.
Political parties can improve the way they conduct policy analysis and increase engagement with citizens to improve the representation of their interests in the Parliament of Ghana. The programme uses the existing good relations between UK and Ghanaian political parties. to implement activities including policy and strategy development support, roundtable meetings, research studies, training of trainers’ sessions, capacity building, field monitoring, study visits, knowledge fairs and research products development.
- Promoting Greater Access and Inclusion of Women, Youth and Persons with Disability (PWDs) in formal and informal political participation
- Improving Open Government Partnership in Ghana through more Open, Responsive Democratic Institutions with increased engagement with Civil Society
- Enhancing Parliamentary Practice through capacity building on research and information management, and improved caucus management