After 30 years of the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution, four political parties have reiterated the need for it to be amended to improve the governance system of the country.
According to the parties, the review of the 1992 Constitution was long overdue to enhance the country’s democratic process.
Representatives of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), All People’s Congress (APC), and the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) made the suggestion in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic on the significance of the Constitution Day celebration which falls on January 7, 2022.
Constitution Day is observed on January 7 each year to celebrate the effort to maintain and sustain the Fourth Republic over the years and the birthing of the 1992 constitution of Ghana.
The General Secretary of the CPP, Nana Yaa Akyempim Jantuah, said after 30 years of the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution, the time had come for a review of the document.
She argued that the powers vested in the President under the current Constitution must be defused to serve as a check on the executive arm of government.
Additionally, she said the significance of Constitution Day had not been spelled out by those who promulgated the holiday.
She, therefore, advocated a forum to be held on such a day to provide public education on the Constitution as the fundamental law of the country instead of observing it as a mere public holiday.
For his part, the Director of Communication for the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Mr Felix Mantey, said the PPP had advocated a review of aspects of the Constitution which did not enhance or promote the advancement of democracy in the country.
He said until aspects of the Constitution were amended to meet the development goals, celebrating that day would amount to nothing.
He said for instance that Article 243 which dealt with the election of Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) must be reviewed and not necessarily attaching Article 55 to it and making the election of MMDCEs partisan.
He said for proper separation of powers and to prevent abuse of power, the 1992 Constitution must be amended to address the challenge where the President had to appoint majority of ministers from Parliament.
He said the PPP was of the view that no minister must be a Member of Parliament.
That, he explained, would promote a clear separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government and help Parliament perform its oversight responsibility over the executive.
Mr. Mantey also called for an amendment to the 1992 Constitution to separate the Ministry of Justice from the Office of the Attorney-General.
“It is important that the Minister of Justice, who is the government lawyer, is not the same person who is the people’s lawyer, and prosecuting crimes in the country. People in government also commit crimes so we need someone who is outside the government to prosecute all crimes,” he said.
He stressed the need for the public declaration of assets and liabilities to be published before and after one occupied and left public office to facilitate the fight against corruption.
Mr Felix Mantey — PPP Director of Communications and Mr Yaw Asani Tano — National Organiser of the LPG
The Founder and leader of the APC, Mr Hassan Ayariga, said the Constitution vested too much power in the President, which needed to be reviewed.
“When one person has too much power, he or she becomes too corrupt and as a country, we shouldn’t give too much power to one person,” he said
He said it was time to engage stakeholders including civil society organisations, the academia, and other people to discuss issues relating to the Constitution to come up with proposals for its amendment.
The National Organiser of the LPG, Mr. Yaw Asani Tano, described the celebration of the Constitution as irrelevant.
He said it was a politically motivated holiday orchestrated to wipe out the real and authentic history of the country.
He, therefore, called for a restoration of July 1 as a Republic Day to reflect Ghana’s political history.