The President John A. Kufuor has proposed to Parliament to ponder over the idea of extending the presidentâ€™s term in office to five years.
Under the 1992 Constitution, a president has a four-year term which is renewable once. But this, President Kufuor said, puts time constraints on a new government which may use nearly a year to familiarize with the state of the nation.
In his last State of the Nation Address to the outgoing Fourth Parliament of the Forth Republic on Monday, he noted that the issue is a drawback on the presidency.
â€œPerhaps â€¦ a five-year term renewable once would create the needed space for making a better impact,â€ he stated.
â€œMr Speaker, on the present circumstances, transforming the nation cannot be effected on the one presidency. Therefore, necessarily, there should a succession of presidents working towards the same goal over a term to achieve strategic transformation of any kind.â€
Having ruled for eight years, President Kufuor said: â€œWhat my experience tells me is that a tenure of four years for the president of a struggling developing nation with weak institutions may be too short.
â€œThis is especially so for an incumbent who, though popular, may lack the requisite experience at the point of assuming office. Reasonable room should be allowed for the newly elect to settle into the job.â€
He suggested that the country could copy the example of Malaysia and Singapore whose successes did not base on quality leadership alone but also of the long tenure of office.
Even though the Kufuor-led administration undertook a number of projects with some still in the pipeline, he made a passionate appeal to the incoming administration to prioritize three strategic programmes that would help propel Ghana into a middle-income nation by 2015. They are the emerging petrol-chemical sector; stability in micro economy especially success in the offshore banking; and the integrated bauxite aluminium industry.
He also noted that the numerous travels he made outside the country had actually paid off for Ghana, citing the free maternal healthcare delivery among other initiatives as a clear example.
He showed appreciation to the good people of Ghana for electing him to rule the nation for two terms.
â€œI am very grateful indeed to all my compatriots for bestowing on me so well an honour that I want to thank all the people and citizens of Ghana.â€
Story by Isaac Essel