Mr Kaakyire Frempong (2nd right), Senior Lecturer, Political Science Department of the University of Ghana (UG), responding to questions. Those with him include Dr Bossman Asare (left), Mr Burkhardt Hellemann (3rd left), Resident Representative of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS)
Out of 5,000 voters polled in 250 constituencies across the country in 2017, 3,000, representing 64 per cent, described the creation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor as “a step in the right direction”.
The respondents, however, called on the government to adequately resource the office to enable it to perform its mandate effectively and efficiently.
The research, which involved 25 researchers, was conducted mainly to gauge Ghanaian voters’ assessment of the incumbent government’s performance in terms of its ability to implement its policies and programmes to raise the living standards of Ghanaians.
It also assessed the commitment of the citizens to participate in democratic processes, as well as the extent to which the opposition parties had performed their functions, especially in holding the government accountable.
The department held a forum in Accra on Wednesday to disseminate the results of the research.
The forum, which was on the theme: “Assessing democratic governance in Ghana: what the voters say,” was sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German political foundation.
In a presentation on the findings of the research, the Head of Department of the Political Science Department, Dr Bossman Asare, said: “At the national level, it appears that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) enjoyed 100 per cent backing of the voters for the Office of the Special Prosecutor, while voters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) appear they won’t vote for it.
“But on the ground, the rank and file of both political parties considered that the creation of the office is a step in the right direction, for which reason they will support it.”
He stated that while the voters strongly believed that the office would be able to address corruption in Ghana, they expressed mixed feelings about its character.
“Half of the respondents said the Office of the Special Prosecutor was not established to hunt down enemies of the NPP, 26.4 per cent were indifferent and 21.6 per cent said it would not be used for witch-hunting purposes”, he said.
On whether to pursue corrupt officials of the incumbent government, Dr Asare said 41.1 per cent of the respondents from both the NPP and NDC believed the Office of the Special Prosecutor would scare potential fraudsters from engaging in corruption and the office would not serve the interest of the government but the nation as a whole.
With regard to the government’s intention to create new regions, Dr Asare indicated that majority of Ghanaian voters, representing 54.6 per cent of the respondents, approved the creation of new regions, while 64.6 per cent considered “it necessary”.
“Although the numbers are not overwhelming, we think Ghanaians have given the government the mandate to create additional regions, with 31.6 and 30 per cent believing it would enhance efficiency and foster development respectively,” he said.
Dr Asare noted that response to the government’s popularity showed that there were still issues the government needed to address to meet the aspirations of the people.
He indicated, however, that when voters were asked which political party they would vote for if elections were held this year, he said, “Fifty-two per cent said they vouched for the NPP and 33 per cent said they would vote for the NDC.”
Dr Asare further stated that the respondents were divided in their opinions concerning the improvements in the economy, adding that: “It is not a good omen to the government’s management of the economy.”
Only 44.9 per cent of the respondents said they had observed improvement over the past one year, while 42.6 per cent discounted any claims of economic improvement, he explained.
He indicated that 45 per cent of the respondents said they had not seen changes in their living conditions since last year, while 27 per cent said living standards had become bad.
Additionally, he pointed out that no clear majority was recorded for the government’s efforts to change the unemployment situation in the country.