Henry Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD), has called on government to ensure a review of the 1992 Constitution. According to him, this will help address shortcomings in the constitution.
Mr Pempeh explained that the current Constitution, which governs the activities of the Fourth Republic, is the worst of its kind. He further noted that it promotes the welfare of state officials as against the average citizen.
“Frankly, unlike the Constitution of the First Republic, this Constitution is, from a governance and People-centered perspective, easily the worst Constitution in our political history.
“It is also the most profligate, in the sense that it invites wasteful growth in the size of government and in public expenditure. No wonder it has both attracted and spawned a political class in its own image”.
Additionally, the CDD Executive Director intimated that the 1992 Constitution does not place a limit on the number of constituencies that could be created. This, he revealed also includes the number of representatives in Parliament.
Constitution permits MPs salaries
The CDD boss however indicated that, the 1969 Constitution provides a limit on the number of constituencies. According to him, the 1992 constitution however, allows Members of Parliament to receive salaries, allowances and gratuity.
Mr Prempeh, thus, explained that the actions of these MPs have recently landed the state in several judgement debts owing to bad contracts.
Furthermore, he insisted that the manner in which the Constitution was designed does not provide an effective framework. The framework, is to ensure that financial loss to the state caused by Parliament is checked.
Mr Prempeh noted that this is particularly telling when MPs have the luxury to engage in private initiatives aside from Parliamentary duties with the permission of the Speaker.
“So, how exactly are our MPs working for us full-time as MPs? And what have they done for us lately? How many billions of cedis or dollars have our MPs saved us since 1993? Indeed, is our Parliament, as currently designed and operating, capable of saving us much at all? I doubt it.
“Well, this is the kind of Parliament and MP the 4th Republican (1992) Constitution has provided. And this is only a small slice of it. It does not get better.”
Rectify the constitution
Owing to this, Mr Prempeh advised for the immediate modification of parts of the Constitution in the many places where it is irredeemably broken.
“The 1992 Constitution has lasted longer than all the rest, only because, we the people are tired of and reject coups and the disruption and retrogression they bring and entail. The longevity of this Constitution is not because there is something intrinsically superior or great about the Constitution itself; there isn’t at all.
“But this should not mean we must continue to put up with whatever is served us in the name of the Constitution”.
On May 3, 2021, however, the Agotime-Ziope District Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Christian Ahiawodzi, revealed the need for every citizen to read the Constitution to acquaint him or herself with its tenets.
He said one could not demand his or her rights and freedoms and protect the same if he or she does not know them.
Because those rights and freedoms were enshrined in the Constitution, the surest way of knowing them is to read the Constitution, he said.
He further implored them to ensure whatever they did was in conformity with the Constitution, which was the supreme law of the country.