Feature: First Independent After Independence

Sixty-seven years gone and counting, after this country gain her independence. For a government of the people, the method of choosing the leaders of the nation is by popular voting. Those interested in that task had to belong to political parties, as the vehicle to attain power. The guide is the supreme law of the land called the Constitution.

Political rule was the rule of law. And of course it was, as well demonstrated during the first republic, where obnoxious laws were made that sought to entrench the rule of the party in power which was led by the head of state in the person of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

In 1966, the first government of the people was removed by force of arms, to liberate the people and the country moved from civilian dictatorship and take them to military dictatorship.

The civilians came back in 1969, with a galaxy of political parties led by chosen individuals contesting for power. Some absolute form of rule of law was installed until the military came back in 1972 to redeem the people. Enjoying some power, which could not have been the case in the military barracks, the leaders of the nation showed how supreme they were and demonstrated their intention to rule for life, until they did some musical chairs and later accepted that governance is for the people.

Just before starting the process of restoring the country back to the civilians through popular votes, in 1979, the junior ranks felt they must also be acknowledged. They came from the back to the front, led by a certainlost but found British governor, to revolutionise the process and also be accepted as humans, even if for just three months.

All the same, the process of choosing a civilian leadership took effect with the political parties, again, putting forward their best in a political pageant, to be selected. In 1979, the civilians were back, but for a short time, as the other ranks in the armed forces, returned in 1981 with a bang, promising that their stay was going to be very provisional.

The longest stay in power after independence came to be because if Ghanaians thought that the word provisional meant temporal, then they came to realise that in the military it could mean perpetual. After bastardising politicians and political parties, Ghana’s last British governor would not go but did some strip tease by removing his military garment and wore mufti to contest and win elections to lead the country for a mandatory eight years.

All along the system of selection through the ballot box, some individuals contested for seats for parliament, independently without support from a political party.

In 1956, Rev. Francis Richard Ametowobla was an independent MP. In 1969, Henry Sawyer of Osu Klottey, went to parliament on independent ticket.In 1979, Kwadwo Owusu-Sekyere of Sunyani did the same. In 1992, Gladys Abena Nsowah of Kintampo and Hawa Yakubu of Bawku Central went to parliament as independent MPs.In 2000, Boniface Siddique of Salaga; Joseph Akudibila of Garu/Tempane; Rashid Bawa of Akan and Victor Gbeho of Anlo got into parliament on independent tickets.

2004 saw Joseph Yaani Labik of Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo joining parliament as an independent MP; 2008 came with four independent MPs, namely Joseph Osei-Owusu (Bekwai), Edward Ofori-Kuragu (Bosme Freho), Seth Adjei Baah (Nkawkaw) and SaaniIddi (Wulensi).

In 2012 at least three independent MPs got into Parliament, Alhasan Dahamani (Tamale North), Paul Deriguba (Jirapa) and Joseph Kwadwo Ofori (Akan). 2016 saw no independent MP and then in 2020. The people ofFomenain Ashanti returned their MP, Andrew Asiamah to Parliament, but this time as an independent MP.

One thing that must be noted and I stand to be corrected is that the independent MPs were once active members and even former MPs of one political party or the other. And that was where they pulled their votes from.

For the presidential, a host of politicians attempted coming on board to be elected, but so far this has not been successful. For the 2024 General Elections, two fine gentlemen, Alan Kyeremanten and Nana Kwame Bediako have resolved to make the difference by becoming the first elected independent president after independence.

Alan’s association with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and his great contribution to party, government and nation makes him a very serious contender in the race for the president. And because most or all the independent MPs were once active in some political parties, and Alan had also been a party guru, fortune seems to smile on his efforts. Nana Bediako on the other hand came onboard with no political party base to draw support from.

Many people have given reasons why Alan may not win the elections, but they sound more of academic argument, because the ground is showing a different picture. One point of reference is the recent bye-election at Ejisu. A former MP, Aduomi, who felt disappointed with his NPP, decided to join three others to run independent.

Coming from a more solid base, he caused a scare when he polled 43% of the votes to place second. And this was the first time in Ejisu that an NPP candidate polled less that 70% of the votes. If Alan, also coming from a strong political background, would come second in Ashanti in 2024, with 40% of the votes, then the overall presidential results will be interesting.

This is what the political technocrats and gurus must seriously be looking at before drawing conclusions. At any rate, the ground seems to be turning towards Alan as his popularity base keeps growing. His articulate views on how to make the economy work, which I will look at in my next write-up, are looking more as practical solutions than mere political talk.

What will happen if an independent candidate becomes president? If that should happen, we are going to first and foremost have a union government. Should Alan win the 2024 presidential election, he is mandated to appoint at least 51% of his ministers/deputy ministers from Parliament. He will enter the House and not look at party faithful, because he has no party, to have MPs. He will look at only those who he believes can deliver and pick from either side.

Can we imagine, just for once, a cabinet of ministers made up of Haruna Iddrisu, Sam George, Kwaku Kwarteng, Abena Asare and Okoe Boye among others sitting together at table, this time not arguing about who is right and who is wrong, but collectively bringing their expertise on board to come out with only good things for government and country?

The regional ministers will not be saddled with appointing fellow party members into positions they may not fit in, but for the sake of staying on the job. They will only go for the right ones. One thing here is that, when any minister, which includes the regional ones, is failing, they will not have godparents to plead with the president for them.

A minister or government appointee’s stay in office will depend solely on how well he performs. Once any one fails to produce results, he or she is out. There will be no party guru to convince the president that this one should be considered, especially where the president will need their support to go a second term.

This will fizzle down to all appointments made, as every appointee will know there is no rock to lean on when things do not go well in their performance of duty. What they should do is to make sure they always do the right thing.

One thing also. If any of Alan’s appointees wants to create an impact for himself in his political party, he would have to work so well to gain admiration from all Ghanaians. This will enhance his position in his party so that just in case he also wants to be president one day, the party will elect him at the primaries.

It is early days yet, to see where the pendulum is swinging to, but one can say that for political democracy to be enriched in Ghana, everyone must resolve to work harder and better without compromise. And this can be very possible if Ghana has her first independent president after independence.

Hon. Daniel Dugan


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