Former President, John Dramani Mahama has endorsed suggestions for the extension of the term in office of a President in Ghana from the current four to five years.
The idea of the extension was first made by former President John Kufuor after exiting office in 2009.
Delivering a Lecture on Democracy and Elections in Contemporary Africa at the Said Business School in London over the weekend, Mr Mahama said it takes almost two years for the leader to get things running smoothly after elections thereby cutting to only two years the implementation period for projects outlined for transformation.
“I agree with President Kufuor I think a five-year term is better, first year, when you are elected, you are forming your government and before you’ve settled in you are in your second year, third year, fourth year you’re fighting an election. So essentially you have just two years to work and it makes it difficult.”
In 2012, former John Agyekum Kufuor called for an extension of the presidential term arguing, the four-year term is not enough to make a meaningful impact as President.
He has argued that in view of the global race for development, a Ghanaian president needs time to implement his programmes and also plan the economy. He said the first year in government is often used to configure the new administration as the new team tries to appreciate how governance works.
Policies are organized into a body of Bills to be submitted to parliament and programmes are also rolled out in the second year.
In the third year, the programmes and policies would have shown signs of promise or failure and the government may have to decide how to finetune its programmes.
He also observed that, even before the third year ends, the government begins to move into election year. In the fourth year, planned developments could be sidetracked in favour of electioneering campaigns. Governments tend to take short cuts in order to satisfy the electorate.
“If we have a five-year term, the third year would see to the maturing of policies and laws, the fourth year will see the good policies that would serve the nation. By the fifth year when people are canvassing for power, the good works can be judged by all'', he noted.
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