Public institutions play a very important role in the democratic development of every country since they represent the interests of the public.
An effective and efficient public service has always been the bedrock of national development.
In the past, Ghana’s public institutions were the pivot of the country’s development agenda.
Performance of public institutions
In recent years, however, there have been many concerns about the performance of public institutions in the country. Indeed, many of them have lost public trust.
It is in this context that one finds worrying the indication by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) that the police, tax authorities and the judiciary were among the least trusted institutions.
According to the IEA, the Ghana Police Service was found to be the least trusted institution, followed by the judiciary and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
On the flip side, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) deserves commendation for being one of the most trusted institutions in the country.
It is very important to encourage public institutions such as the GAF, while demanding reform of institutions that fall below expectation in order to develop an efficient public sector to enhance national development.
Equality before the law
Article 17(1) of the 1992 Constitution provides that: “All persons shall be equal before the law,” but it is obvious that many Ghanaians do not think that is so.
A study by the IEA, which confirms this view, indicates that 55 per cent of Ghanaians thought “people are not treated equally under the law”.
“The rich and well educated are perceived to be given preferential treatment or considerations, while the opposite is the case with the poor and illiterate or less educated,” the IEA emphasised.
“The respondents believe that some people are still privileged in a country where freedom and justice are assumed to exist. The study shows that three out of every four persons (75.1 per cent) were of the opinion that ordinary people who break the law get punished as compared with 22.1 per cent who thought that ordinary people go unpunished when they break the law,” it added.
Unequal treatment of women
Another issue worth addressing as a nation is the unequal treatment of women. The situation is even worse in the traditional setting.
This perception is confirmed by the IEA study, which indicates that opinion on employment is sharply divided, with some people believing women are treated equally by employers while some think otherwise.
Apart from equal treatment of women, it is also important to encourage people to exercise their freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution.
It is important to note that addressing these issues will go a long way to give women a stronger voice in the political discourse and also help to deepen the country’s fledgling democracy.