Former President, John Agyekum Kufour, wants the Council of State scrapped.
He believes, the Council has lost its relevance over the years and must be abolished. Instead, he wants it to be turned into a second chamber.
The former President said this at a forum organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra.
“Perhaps the time has come for us to move to a second house. It might cost a bit more, but we want quality to serve the ends of good governance and the people at large more, then I would say, the days of Council of State are over.”
The forum formed part of a series of engagements the Institute undertook to solicit input towards a possible review of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.
The former President proposed that, instead of the Council of State, the country should set up a second chamber to play the advisory role to the government.
“I have had a chance to express my views on the Council of State, a very honourable distinguished institution, well-meaning. But, I can say I don’t think it is fit for purpose given the state of development of our country and given the fact that the nation is committed to practising democratic governance.”
In recent times, the relevance of the Council of State, has been questioned with some political commentators, academia and civil society organisations suggesting that the body had outlived its usefulness and should be abolished.
Former President Kufuor explained that though the framers of the Constitution thought it wise to set up such a body to advise the President, the Council was no longer useful.
He said: “…We limit the uses of Council of State to advising just the President,” and that often, the President decided whether or not to take the advice.
“So, I have gone through all these periods and I have come to a conclusion, perhaps, what our Constitution should have to temper the extremes of democracy is not a Council of State but a second chamber, a second chamber well composed not on the basis of democracy so much. Democracy should always be implied in there though but not entirely democratically but more on proof and experience, prove in public spiritedness, prudence, maturity, care for the nation, inclusive.”
“If we do that, and allow this second chamber to operate openly, in the full glare of publicity, then the wisdom that would be issued from their deliberations would impact not only the President,” he added
The former President added that the term of the second chamber must not be tied to the tenure of any government to ensure that there was continuity in the provision of development for the people.
On limiting the appointing powers of the President, the former President said the country must practice the checks and balances in its pure form, especially among the lead organs of State.
He called for the amendment of sections of the Constitution that empowered presidents to appoint about 50 percent of Ministers from Parliament.
“The legislature should be apart, people being elected there should be encouraged to professionalize themselves as legislators, so they will play the guard dogs or watchdogs on the executive,” he said.
The former President also urged that political parties were allowed to participate in elections at the local level.