A former Chief of Staff who served in the Kufuor administration, Kwadwo Mpiani, has backed calls for a review or removal of the constitutional age limit for Ghanaians who wish to contest for the presidency.
Speaking to Citi News, Mr. Mpiani said the country could miss out on some competent persons by limiting the pool of potential presidents to persons over 40.
[contextly_sidebar id=”OysZcYXH6Ql6OmEeQr2DkZ85wJvmIbPa”]“Let’s find out why they decided on 40. Are the reasons valid? If in other places, people below 40 are able to offer themselves to be elected as Prime Ministers, Presidents and they do well, why can’t we do this in Ghana? Are we depriving ourselves? Maybe there are exceptional youth in the country who can become Presidents and maybe perform well. I really don’t fancy the idea of putting in this limit.”
The former Chief of Staff was speaking after former President John Dramani Mahama said he is in support of such calls.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Africa Summit in London on Wednesday, Mr. Mahama said young people were still capable of acting as legislators in Parliament but were restricted from contesting for the Presidency.
Mr. Mpiani added that the electorate ought to have the ultimate say as to who should become President regardless of the person’s age.
“…It will be left to Ghanaians to decide whether such a person is qualified to be a President or not… Why don’t we leave this to the electorate or we think the electorate is not fit enough to determine who is capable of being a President? I think we should leave it to the electorate,” he said.
Give voters the power
The IMANI Africa President, Franklin Cudjoe, also believes the electorate will ultimately determine whether a person is qualified to be President regardless of age.
“It is a welcome idea. Globally, we are seeing younger people who are beginning to take the mantle of leadership… Presumably, however young someone is on the campaign trail, if a person is making a lot of sense and giving practical solutions to the problems, I am sure the older voters will make the decision.”
Mr. Cudjoe also noted that, a leader will also be as successful as the people he or she is surrounded by.
“A smart leader is the one who surrounds himself with smarter people to advise him or her so once you make that determination, that someone is eligible to stand and the voters allow that to happen, I’m sure the other aspects of maturity to rule will be secondary.”
Ghana’s president’s under the Fourth Republic
Under the Fourth Republic, the average age of the presidents when they began their terms has been 59.
Jerry John Rawlings was 45 when he was elected President in 1992.
His successor, John Kufuor, was 61 when he became President in 2001 after the first civilian change of power.
He was followed by John Atta Mills, who was 64, John Mahama who was 54, and the current President, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was 72 years of age, the oldest of the lot.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana