What I call ‘Probational Democracy’ – AK Mensah

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We do not hold leaders accountable here and they continuously take our silence to their advantage and in the nutshell, take us for granted. Four years end, and they come back to us begging for our votes, when they had not achieved anything quite substantial in the period given them. We pretend thinking we had changed them for the better through new elections, but we end up recycling same old folks. They in turn become powerful than us all in the name of democracy. Unfortunately, the bad followership too is a major contributing factor. As the CEO of ILAPI-Ghana, Mr. Peter Bismark Kwofie, rightly puts it, “In Ghana people do not vote for leaders, they vote for political parties!” Now, that’s extremely sad! The questions I ask are:

Why wait for years before changing people who have not achieved what they were supposed to? If you gain admission to the university and you do not perform, will you move from one level to the another? The whole of university education admission in Ghana, for instance, is probational. One can be sacked at any point at any level, if he or she is not performing. In University of Cape Coast, for instance, one can be given E (below 50 % mark and it is a fail). One obtains three E’s in the first year, then off you go, one is sacked! Should one obtain three E’s in the subsequent years, from level 200 to 400, you are repeated in same level. Why wait for four years to elapse before we can change people who represent us and are not performing to alleviate the problems confronting the people? If one is on scholarship and not performing and delivering according to schedules and timelines, as well as producing quality grades, will the scholarship be renewed? Why don’t we also put the people who represent us and came to serve us also on probation and change or sack them when they are not delivering?

Four years are even more than enough time for people at helm to deliver for the people and touch lives of many. Just reduce the time to two years and if they are not delivering, sack them! That is why I say we don’t need government. We will have to decentralize the system at the local levels and deliver on projects, very sustainable! And touch on the very lives of the people positively! More reason I had always proposed my “probational democracy” kind of system here. We will have to cause people and leaders to deliver for us with specific timelines and submit progress reports on achievements say quarterly. If they are not delivering results, terminate their appointments, sack them! We need not wait for four years before. Who gets promoted from one level to another at say University of Cape Coast, when they get E’s (fails) at a level? This is the type of democracy I propose we practice in Ghana (what I call and refer to as probational democracy”).

“A type of democracy, where a member of parliament or any minister holding an office will be put on probation throughout the entire period and will be based on the performance of the leader in question. Where, leaders in positions’ performance will be evaluated on monthly bases or within specified periods to execute particular roles and responsibilities and how lives of the very down people they represent are being changed positively within the period. Failure of the minister, MP, DCE, MCE, et al to meet and achieve these at the end of that period, he is sacked and replaced. A minister’s position should be like being on scholarship, where they renew their contracts for say yearly basis, with progress reports prepared on what had been accomplished over the said period. They revoke your contract if you’re not delivering! And we need not wait for four years before”.

In probational democracy (which I call it), we have proportional representation of parties in parliament based on which percentage they received in elections. So, parliament forms a coalition made up of representatives from different parties. Politics and opposing ideas meant for the betterment of the general populace are not done (politicking of national issues ends at the end of elections). We all come together to execute projects for the good of the people. A form we can also call “commucracy“. So that’s government made up of president at the top. We have a president but his role is more supervisory overseeing and making sure the rule of law is working and applying to anyone irrespective of political colours. And elections are done at the local levels to choose people representatives at the local level and delivering projects at the local level, very sustainable ones with timelines and submitting progress reports periodically on achievements. These achievements are compared against benchmarks and are then discussed with the local people and evaluated to see if they delivered. The very people then decide whether the representative/leader deserves to continue for them. In this case, the president at the top has no influence on the people. His role becomes only supervisory and the local people tell which people they want for their communities.

Talking about appraising the president, the people do that periodically too and decide if the president is delivering according to plans too. The very people also appraise the president’s performance based on benchmarks. This is done periodically not at the end of four years. The benchmark could be scores or matrices or checklists in education, water resources, environment, agriculture, land, natural resources, gender, energy, social protection, etc. The total percentage is 100%. A scale is provided for assessment. If the appointees and representatives fail this, they are sacked and replaced! A working methodology could be adopted for this. The fates of parliamentarians are all decided by the local people they represent. For the question on representation democracy and how the coalition will be decided, we could set some mark criteria that qualifies a party for proportional representation in government. For instance, a say 20% mark could be decided and any party who gets 20% pass mark will have their representation being part of the coalition government. In this system, everything is done and decided by the people. Here, we would want to make democracy reflects her true meaning of government by the people and for the people! Everything by the people who gave the people up the mandate and power.

AK Mensah


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