20 J.L. Pol'y & Globalization 1 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/jawpglob20 and id is 1 raw text is: 



Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization                                                     wVwjiste or
ISSN 2224-3240 (Paper) ISSN 2224-3259 (Online)
Vol.20, 2013                                                                                       11[



     Ghana's Presidential Transition Act and the 2013 Transition

                Ransford Edward Van Gyampol* Michael Ofori-Mensah2 & Isaac Owusu-Mensah3
       1. Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, P.O. Box LG 64, Legon-Accra, Ghana-West
                                                     Africa
                  2. The Institute of Economic Affairs (EA-Ghana), Accra, Ghana-West Africa
       3. Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, P.O. Box LG 64, Legon-Accra, Ghana-West
                                                     Africa
                         * E-mail of the corresponding author: vangyampo@ yahoo.com

Abstract
For the first time in the political history of Ghana since independence, a transfer of political power was regulated
by a legal blueprint. The first test for implementing major aspects of Ghana's Presidential Transition Act, 2012
(Act 845) was the post-2012 election period. This paper undertakes an assessment of how the law was
implemented. The approach taken involves an evaluation of what worked well, a review of what could not work
to perfection and a consideration of policy alternatives. The findings drawn from the assessment provide
encouraging evidence of the law being put into practice. However, several challenges emerged. To address them,
reform proposals are outlined to fine-tune Ghana's future political transition process and enhance the effective
implementation of the law which remains integral to good governance and possess the potential of closing a
chapter in the country's dismal history of democratic transitions.
Keywords: Presidents; Transition; Power; Transfer; Law; Implementation


1. Introduction
Ghana's reputation as a model African democracy owes much to its ability to change governments through the
ballot box (Ofori-Mensah, 2013). It is, then, ironic that the changes in government through the democratic
process have exposed serious short coming in the country's governance institutional framework. In fact, Ghana's
record on political transitions is not a proud one. Due to a history of coup d'etats, the country did not have any
experience in handling democratic transitions until 2001 (Ahwoi, 2009:23; Gyampo, 2013:167) - the first time in
Ghana's history when power was transferred from one democratically elected President to another through the
electoral process. The second was in 2009. The transition related stories of administrative lapses, forced
evictions and ad hoc seizure of cars, among others left Ghanaians polarized after the transfer of power (ibid:25).
Indeed, the political transition from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government to the New Patriotic
Party (NPP) Government represented a political and constitutional first in the country. It was the first time in the
history of post-independence Ghana that political power had been constitutionally transferred from one political
party to a different political party. For that very reason, there was no precedent to guide the two parties that were
involved in the transition, and therefore many mistakes were made (Ahwoi, 2009; Gyampo, 2013). Those
mistakes left in their wake acrimony, tension, ill-feeling and a lot of bad blood which in turn led to intense
interparty hostility (Ahwoi, 2009:27). The lesson from that botched transition of 2001 was that the nation must
prepare for future transitions of that nature by agreeing on a multi-partisan framework and ground rules and
regulations to govern and guide the transitions of the future. Underlying that framework must be an appreciation
of the difference between y'atu aban (we have overthrown the Government) and y'asesa aban (we have
changed the Government). Because the only precedent available in 2001 was one of y'atu aban, that transition
was guided more by features of dealing with an overthrown Government than with a changed Government (ibid).
There are a few studies on transitions in Ghana including the works of Nkansah (2012); Ofori-Mensah (2013);
Ahwoi (2009); Gyimah-Boadi (2001); Ninsin (1998); Segal (1996); and Oquaye (2000). These studies have
discussed how political transitions in Ghana's Fourth Republic' have been conducted and quintessentially,
focused on the transitions prior to that of 2013. They merely discussed how administrative and political power
was transferred from one leader to another with some highlighting the challenges of such transitions including
uncooperative attitude of out-going leaders, scanty information about the previous administration regarding state
assets, resources, funds as well as what had been accomplished and what is in progress. Others described the

1 Fourth Republic simply refers to Ghana's Fourth attempt at constitutional Democracy which began in 1992. The First
Republic spanned 1960-1966; the Second Republic was from 1969-1972; and the Third Republic was from 1991-1981.

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