– LYDIA A. NKANSAH (PHD, LLM, LLB, Barrister at Law)
THEME: DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION UNDER GHANA FOURTH REPUBLIC:
OVER VIEW OF PAPER
Since independence in 1957, Ghana experienced presidential succession through the ballot box for the first time in 2001. This occurred when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) emerged a winner in the 2000 general elections and took the political baton from the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The wheels of power turned when the NDC won the 2008 elections and took over the political baton from the NPP in January 2009. However, the experiences of these two transitions smacked of a military takeover, leaving in their trails ‘acrimony, tension and ill-feeling’.
Ghana has also witnessed the emergence of accidental default president when President Attah Mills died and Vice President Mahama emerged as president who subsequently metamorphosed into an elected president. Mahama’s legitimacy contested in the Supreme Court has been confirmed easing tensions and uncertainties in the political system. Difficulties with presidential succession is creating instability and impeding the development of a fully functioning democracy in Ghana. Stronger legal foundations for more orderly transfer of power are being put in place, though these need to be supported by impartial police enforcement and expeditious judicial redress. The underlying requirement is greater respect for political opponents and their rights within a safe and vibrant democratic system.
LYDIA A. NKANSAH (PHD, LLM, LLB, Barrister at Law)
Dr. Lydia A. Nkansah is the Dean Faculty of Law, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Lydia has experience in human rights enforcement, in both peacetime and post-conflict situations. She was a senior legal officer at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana, the head of the Research Unit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Sierra Leone and leader of evidence for the commission’s hearings. She was also the international expert advisor to the Transitional Legislative Assembly of Liberia on a Truth and Reconciliation Bill. Dr Nkansah has facilitated courses at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in human rights, transitional justice and the law of armed conflict. Previously, she held a lectureship at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. Her current research looks at transitional democracies from a legal perspective; juridical models that administers restorative and or retributive justice. She has published in the areas of constitutional law, transitional justice, legal theory, democratization, international criminal justice in Africa and consumer protection among others.