A former presidential staffer under the Mahama administration, Dr. Michael Kpessah Whyte is advocating for the tenure of presidents to be extended to seven (7) years instead of four years.
“Seven years is long enough to give you a development plan within the first year that you want to pursue for the entire seven years,” he said on the on Radio XYZ.
As a researcher who has done lots of work on politics and governance, Dr Kpessah Whyte noted that when such a system is accepted in the country, it will help boost development that is led by the elected officials.
The suggestion of the former executive director of the National Service Scheme (NSS) corroborates calls by former president John Agyekum Kuffour for the presidential tenure in the country to be increased to five or six years.
Former president Kuffour argued that the four years tenure does not guarantee “any mark of development and transformation.”
Mr Kpessah Whyte, who is also a lecturer believes when the tenure is extended, it will help get politicians to be realistic with their promises and live up to expectation in terms of policy implementation.
He also noted it will “minimise acrimony” because presidential candidates “will not deal with manifestoes but developmental plans” that will show to Ghanaians the sector they intend to work on when voted into power.
A change in the tenure will require a constitutional amendment.
Dr Kpessah Whyte believes his suggestion “only needs a constitutional amendment” that will go through the right processes to become a law.
“It doesn’t need to favour the sitting president,” he said while arguing that when an amendment is made, the country can take time and prepare towards its implementation.
“In U.S, it took a long time before they changed the two year term limit. It used to be the case where one president can run for as many times as possible,” he added and contended that Ghana can also head for such system.
He mentioned that a similar system also exists in South Africa where elected presidents can be voted out in a congress when the party that produced them have tangible reasons to do so.
But speaking to Oheneba Boamah on Power FM, a former deputy Local Government Minister under the Kuffour administration, Captain Rtd. Nkrabea Effah-Darteh rubbished the call to amend the constitution to get presidents serve for more than four years.
To him, a serious president can work within the four years to effect positive change in the country.
“Whiles going round campaigning, you must have at the back of your mind those who’ll be your ministers. You don’t have to come and give excuses that appointing your ministers delayed your progress,” he advised presidential candidates.
“When you appoint your minister’s and you trust them, what’s your problem,” the private legal practitioner said while he advised that presidents give ministers defined targets to make good use of the four year mandate given them.
The former MP for Berekum disclosed that ministers waste time attending funerals, weddings and receiving visitors which doesn’t help them perform, making it seem they don’t have enough time to perform.
Mr Effah-Darteh maintained when targets are given presidential appointees to meet and are checked well, there should not be the need for changing the four year tenure.