Ghana is a unitary constitutional democracy with a president who serves as both president and prime minister.
It has had one of the freest and most stable administrations on the continent since 1993, and it performs well in terms of healthcare, economic growth, and human development.
As a result of its membership in the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Group of 24 (G24), and the Commonwealth of Nations, Ghana has great influence in West Africa and is deeply involved in international politics.
Is Ghana a Democracy?
Ghana’s government was established as a parliamentary democracy, although military and civilian governments alternated.
After presidential and legislative elections in late 1992, the military government was replaced by the Fourth Republic in January 1993.
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The president, parliament, cabinet, the council of state, and an independent judiciary are all given equal power under the 1992 constitution. Universal suffrage is used to elect the government.
After a ten-year absence, political parties were made lawful again in mid-1992. Under the Fourth Republic, there are more than 20 registered political parties. The National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party are the two major political parties in the country.
Ghana’s democracy is modelled after western majoritarian democracies, in which the majority side is “always right.” It offers governments more leeway in enacting the policies that they run on.
However, detractors claim that it affects outcomes by favouring powerful parties while under-representing weaker ones.
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Voting is not always utilized to determine an issue, settle conflicts, or achieve an agreement in consensus-based democracies. The formation of the government is still determined by by-elections.
However, factions work together to create an agreement that is acceptable to both parties. The minority accepts the agreement not because it agrees with it, but because it is necessary to retain and establish relationships. The Dutch system serves as an excellent example.
The Provisional National Defence Council, which was in power from 1981 to 1992, was succeeded by the National Democratic Congress.
The New Patriotic Party, founded in 1992, is the successor to the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the People’s National Convention, and the Convention People’s Party, successor to Kwame Nkrumah’s original party of the same name, which was the incumbent government of Ghana for ten years from 1957 to 1966, winning elections in 1956, 1960, and 1965.
In 1992, 1996, 2008, and 2012, the National Democratic Congress won presidential and legislative elections.
Ghana has been committed to nonalignment ideas since independence and is a founding member of the non-aligned movement.
Ghana is a member of the United Nations and the African Union and supports international and regional political and economic cooperation.
What are the key features of a democracy?
Democracy based on consensus in Ghana
Consensus-based democracy is not synonymous with western-majoritarian democracy. It simply means increasing minority viewpoints’ knowledge, tolerance, acceptance, and assimilation into policies and decisions. It entails making concessions and resolving contentious problems until an agreement is reached.
For example, the 2020 Ghanaian election exhibited a glaring lack of commitment to achieving consensus. Instead, it adhered to strict and formal democratic norms.
The failure of the Electoral Commission to use consensus was mirrored in its tense relationship with key members of its Inter-Party Advisory Committee.
For more than 20 years, this group, made up of representatives from all political parties, has directed the election process.
However, tensions between the commission and the largest opposition party arose in the run-up to the 2020 election. As a result of the fallout, election results were met with hostility, leading to a fight in parliament.
Democracy in the style of the West
Democracy, particularly Western-style democracy, has come under fire around the world. Democracies throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa are grappling with the rise of far-right organizations, democratic dictatorship, oppression, and disrespect for democratic institutions. Violence against minorities, opposition individuals, and the media is also on the rise.
The growth of Donald Trump and far-right groups in the United States; Hungary’s Viktor Orban’s behavior and the rise of the far right in Europe; and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and his far-right ideas are all examples.
In sections of Africa (Senegal, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, and Uganda), we’ve also seen the development of democratic tyrants who are changing presidential term restrictions. All of these cases appear to show a Western majority democracy in peril.
Many democracies, whether conservative or liberal, are exhibiting signs of rising intolerance and a decrease in the use of consensus to establish agreements or resolve disagreements.
Even though logical reasoning mandates the employment of a human face and consensus to deal with particular circumstances, people tend to utilize so-called democratic precepts to excuse their conduct.