70th Annual New Year School Held

The 70th Annual New Year School and Conference has been held on the theme, Building Strong Institutions for Democratic Consolidation in Ghana. The New Year School and Conference was organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE), College of Education.

In his introductory remarks at the opening ceremony, Prof. Yaw Twumasi, Chairman of the University Council, noted that the New Year School has over the decades, provided the platform to discuss and suggest solutions for pertinent issues that affect the nation and has also contributed immensely to the growth of democracy in the country. Prof. Twumasi advocated for stronger institutions that will promote peace, a strong civil service and media to ensure accountability of governance and political and civil liberty to ensure participation and inclusivenes.

Prof. Michael Tagoe, Acting Provost, College of Education and Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education, in his remarks, said democratic institutions are critical to the consolidation of democracy and sustainable development. He noted that, despite the fact that Ghana's Fourth Republic has been stable and appears to increase democracy, there is still the threat of many inconspicuous dangers to the nation's democracy.

Prof. Tagoe said the theme for the conference was to help achieve the following five targets of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16:  Peace, justice and strong institutions:
(a) Promote rule of law at the national level and ensuring equal access to justice for all;
(b) Reduce all forms of violence and related death rates;
(c) Reduce corruption and bribery in all its forms;
(d) Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels; and
(e) Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.

He said the prevalence of corruption in the country weakens the sanctity of democratic consolidation and erodes the basis of trust in political leadership and institutions. Prof. Tagoe called on policy makers to prioritize education programs that are aimed at educating adults to become responsible citizens, to help promote inclusiveness and aid in safeguarding of the constitution.

Prof. Kwame Offei, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Students Affairs delivered the welcome address on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu. He stated that the Annual New Year School has over the years been a source of great pride for the University, as it provides an opportunity for individuals to partake in policy making discussions in the country. He said this year’s theme would address basic challenges confronting the country’s democracy.

The Vice-Chancellor noted that weak institutions lead to the erosion of democracy and adversely affect the growth of the country. He acknowledged that building strong institutions would come with challenges, as many people would resist change, especially if it takes away some of their privileges.

The Vice Chancellor advocated for stronger institutions headed by a new crop of brave leaders who would apply rules and regulations without fear or favour.
The keynote speaker, Prof. Atsu Ayee of the Political Science Department, emphasized that strong institutions and democratic consolidation are mutually reinforcing, and that building strong institutions for democratic consolidation entails reconstruction of the Ghanaian state and society to internalize the values of developmental governance capacity. Additionally, he called for attitudinal and behavioural change, and explained that constitutional, legal and institutional reforms alone will not build strong institutions.

Prof. Atsu Ayee delivering the Keynote Address

The School was officially opened by Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament.  Prof. Oquaye called for structural and institutional reforms to help make governance more inclusive and accountable. He indicated that the country has much to do to ensure gender equality, and called for the establishment of quotas to improve the participation of women in the democracy of the nation. 

Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament

The opening ceremony was attended by His Lordship Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey, Justice of the Supreme Court, who represented Her Ladyship the Chief Justice. Also present were members of the University Council, College Advisory Boards, government officials, members of parliament, members of the diplomatic corps, religious and traditional leaders, alumni and friends of the University.
The 70th Annual New Year School and Conference was supported by Graphic Communications Group, Vodafone and Kosmos Energy.

A group picture of officials before the opening ceremony

Please click to access the recording of the opening ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMFko822-rs&feature=youtu.be

Please click here to access the keynote address for the 70th Annual New Year School and Conference: https://drive.google.com/file/d/10TH4wnTEvrUw0-EADs5FJ1XTSViMPnBs/view

Links to access videos from the daily sessions:


  1. Panel Discussion Day 1

Panel Discussion – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (14/01/2019)

Topic: Effective Legislative Oversight for Countervailing Authority

Speakers: Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu (Majority Leader, Parliament of Ghana)

Hon. Haruna Iddrisu (Minority Leader, Parliament of Ghana)

Streaming Linkhttps://youtu.be/D5EBhbMIUIo


  1. Lecture Day 1

Lecture 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm (14/01/2019)

Topic: Beyond Election Machines: Building Stronger Political Parties for Democratic Consolidation

Speaker: Professor Ransford Gyampo, Director - Centre for European Studies, UG.

Discussant: Mr. Peter Mac Manu- Board Chairman, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority

Streaming Linkhttps://youtu.be/rvNUiJ5FAhw


  1. Panel Discussion Day 2

Morning 9:00 am

Topic: The Judiciary and Democratic Consolidation

Speakers: Mr. Kofi Abotsi - Legal Practitioner, Accra

Her Ladyship Justice Sophia O.A. Adinyira - Justice of the Supreme Court Judicial Service

Chairman: Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu: University of Ghana Law School

Streaming Linkhttps://youtu.be/iV4GxC4Bq1g


3. Lecture Day 2

Morning 11:15 am

Topic: Strengthening Anti-Corruption State Institutions in Ghana

Speaker: Mr. Joseph Akanjolenur Whittal - Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ)

Discussant: Mr. Vitus Azeem - Former Executive Director, Ghana Integrity Initiative.

Streaming Linkhttps://youtu.be/wRRwRa8KwrQ


  1. Lecture Day 2

Afternoon 2:00 pm

Topic: Investigative Journalism, Corruption and Sustainable Development.

Speaker: Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo - Dean, School of Information & Communication Studies, UG

Discussant: Mr. Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh - Chairman, National Media Commission

Streaming Linkhttps://youtu.be/4hsC6hwRb1M


5. Panel Discussion Day 3

Morning 9:10 am (16/1/2019)

Topic: Political Vigilantism and Ghana's Democracy


Dr. Emmanuel Kwesi Aning - Director: Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research (FAAR) Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC)

Mr. Ivor Greenstreet - Lawyer, Former CPP General Secretary, 2016 Flag-bearer CPP


Mr. Sidney Casely-Hayford - The New Ghanaian, McCarthy Hill

Streaming Linkhttps://youtu.be/_n2SPiYfGrk


6.  Panel Discussion Day 3

Afternoon 2:30 pm (16/1/2019)

Topic: Building a Stronger Civil Society for Effective Accountability 


Mr. Ace Anan Ankomah - Managing Partner, Bentsil-Enchil, Lesta and Ankomah

Ms. Josephine Nkrumah - Chairperson, National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE)

Chairman:  Prof. Michael Tagoe, Acting Provost, College of Education

Streaming Link : https://youtu.be/Aag9aB_AVQ4


7.  Lecture Day 4 

Morning 9:00 am (17/1/2019)

Topic: Improving the Electoral Process for Democratic Consolidation

Speaker: Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan - Former Chairman, Electoral Commission

Discussant: Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey - Executive Director, Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG)

Streaming Linkhttps://youtu.be/LXjrY8-AoLU


8.   Panel Discussion Day 4

Morning 11:30am (17/1/2019)

Topic:  30 years of Decentralisation: Challenges and Prospects


Ing. Dr. Nana Ato Arthur - Head, Local Government Service

Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye - Consultant and former Director, Institute of Local Government Studies

Dr. Eric Oduro Osae  - Dean of Studies and Research, Institute of Local Government Studies

Chairperson: Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama - Minister, Local Government & Rural Development

Streaming Linkhttps://youtu.be/UnU_GPI8sj0


9.   Open Forum Day 4 Afternoon

Open Forum - Moderator:

Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama - Minister, Local Government & Rural Development

Closing Ceremony

Chairperson: Prof. Samuel Kwame Offei - Pro-Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs (ASA), UG

Streaming Linkhttps://youtu.be/f9lJ6SFinTI