The Overlord of Dagbon Traditional Area, Ya-Naa Abubakari Mahama ll, has proposed the establishment of an upper chamber to replace the Council of State.
He stated that the chamber should be made up of eminent chiefs and distinguished Ghanaians with the power to consider certain bills before they are sent to Parliament.
“It is high time Ghana amended its constitution to replace the present Council of State with Senate or Upper House…composed of prominent chiefs, distinguished Ghanaian men and women with the power to consider certain bills before Parliament,” he suggested.
Ya-Naa Abubakari Mahama was speaking at the grand durbar of chiefs and people of Okyeman on in the Eastern Region on Saturday, to climax the 20th-anniversary celebrations of the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin.
The Council of State is a small body of prominent citizens, analogous to the Council of Elders in the traditional political system, which advises the President on national issues. The Council of State was established by Articles 89 to 92 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
The members include a former Chief Justice of Ghana, a former Chief of the Defence Staff and a former Inspector-General of Police and the President of the National House of Chiefs. Each region of Ghana also has an elected representative. The President of Ghana also appoints eleven members. Members stay in office until the term of office of the President ends.
But the Dagbon Overlord who was the Special Guest of Honour for the occasion said, the proposed chamber will also see to the appointments of key positions such as Auditor-General, Inspector-General of Police, Chairperson and Members of Electoral Commission, Vice Chancellors of State Universities and Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission.
He noted further that the appointment of the heads of these five vital institutions by the President, “has been a source of great disagreements between every ruling government and the opposition.”
“If we transfer the power to appoint the heads of these institutions to the [proposed] Senate, it will be good for our democracy. It is time for Ghana to bring to an end, the prevailing politics of the winner-takes-all,” he advised.
Meanwhile, the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin in his address stressed on the importance of Chiefs in local governance and development and called for effective collaboration between the two institutions.
He also advised appointees of the government to work hard to ensure the vision of the President is achieved, or risk facing the sack, the reporter added.