A retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, Professor Justice A. K. P. Kludze, has noted that the concept of “winner takes all” is the bane of Ghana’s politics.
He said under it, the winner in a general election takes over all government departments and agencies and may replace the existing staff and employees with party loyalists of his own; adding that “this has been carried to such a ridiculous extent as to distort the whole machinery of government”.
Prof Kludze made the remark at a roundtable discussion in Accra organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs on the theme: ‘Post-electoral dispute resolution: Fostering peace, national cohesion and reconciliation after the Supreme Court ruling’.
“Even lowly employees with no responsibility for policy formulation are removed or replaced, we have heard of even lorry parks and public toilets being taken over upon a change of government”, he said.
According to him, the rationale for the concept was to ensure loyalty and confidence in the top hierarchy of government and declared that in the past the head of the civil service was designated a Permanent Secretary, the reason being that he was considered to be a non-political and faceless public servant who would serve loyally under the government of the day.
Prof Kludze noted that even though the country may not return to those days, it had also not been helpful that attempts had been made to politicize the whole of the public and civil services.
He said the nation must agree to a formal and practical designation of serving officers whose tenure would depend on the administration under which they served and this should be backed by law.
The retired Supreme Court Judge suggested that one way to mitigate the effect of the “winner takes all” concept was to decentralize governance through a strong local government system.