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APRM CALL FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW UNDERWAY PDF Print E-mail
Written by Written by Cornelia Amoah (PR)   
Thursday, 04 February 2010 12:33
President J. E. Mills and members of the Constitutional Review CommissionIn Ghana’s APRM Country Report, recommendations were made that to enhance the Separation of Powers, ensure the effectiveness of Parliament and foster the rationalization of national administration, there was the need to review the Constitution.

This call has been heeded to by the administration of President John Evans Atta Mills who made a promise before assuming office.

In response to this, President John Evans Atta Mills has sworn-in an eight-member Constitutional Review Commission to review the country’s 1992 Constitution.

In addition to the African Peer Review Mechanism, other governance institutions including civil society think tanks, academics and constitutional experts, social commentators and public advocates have called for a review of aspects of the 1992 constitution of Ghana.

The Commission is mandated to carry out its enquiry in accordance with the Constitutional Instrument and will among other things solicit from the Ghanaian public the weaknesses and strengths of the current constitution. It will also articulate the concerns of the public on amendments that may be required for a comprehensive review and provide a draft bill for possible amendments.

The Commission is chaired by Prof. Albert K. Fiadjoe, Professor of Public Law. In recognition of the critical role of the APRM to the constitutional review, the members include Rev. Prof. S.K. Adjepong, Chairman of the National African Peer Review Mechanism Governing Council. Others are Osabarima Kwesi Atta, Paramount Chief of Cape Coast traditional area, Mr. Akenten Appiah- Menka, a lawyer and industrialist, Mrs. Sabina Ofori Boateng, Consultant to the Legislative Unit of the Office of Parliament, Dr. Nicholas Amponsah, Snr. Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Mr. Gabriel Pwamang, legal practitioner and Mrs. Jean Mensa, Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs. They are expected to work within twelve months.

Inauguration of CommissionInaugurating the Commission, President Mills said that the multi-party and representative nature of the membership demonstrates the national nature of the review which he noted will enable the nation to operate its democratic values in an efficient and progressive manner. He pledged the government’s co-operation and urged the Commission to be sensitive to the wishes of the people of Ghana to ensure a total acceptance and approval at the end of the Review.

On behalf of the members, the Chairman, Prof. Albert Fiadjoe thanked the President for the opportunity to serve the nation and assured the nation of the commitment of members to their assignment as critical success factors to the destiny and future of the nation.

The issues raised for the consideration of the Constitutional Review have many schools of thought which are for and against. It is therefore expected that there will be a vigorous public debate and national consensus found to settle matters.

Before the inauguration of the Constitutional Review Commission, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu presented a document on some of the aspects of the Constitution that may require review to the Cabinet. She noted that Ghana’s 1992 Constitution embodies many features that seek to foster accountable, open transparent and participatory democratic governance. She added that inspite of Ghana’s shining example in democratization and good governance in Africa, there are still some flaws in our constitutional design and practice. These have worked to undermine the systems of checks and balances, promoted Executive dominance that impedes the effectiveness of oversight institutions such as Parliament and independent constitutional bodies. These the Attorney General observed have led to the identification of almost forty changes that need to be made to review the constitution.

They include

  • A review of the provisions of Chapter Eight of the Constitution to determine whether excessive powers of the Executive President should be curtailed
  • The decoupling of the position of Attorney General  from the Minister of Justice
  • A review of article 78 (2) which does not place a ceiling on the number of ministers a president should appoint
  • The absence of a ceiling on the number of judges that may be appointed by the Supreme Court
  • A clarification of the public character or otherwise of the chieftaincy institution and whether or not a chief may hold public office
  • A change of the timing of holding presidential and parliamentary elections
  • A review to allow for the election of District Chief Executives
  • Proposal to empanel all members of the Supreme Court to sit on all or key cases in order to ensure finality to litigation and consistency of procedure.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu acknowledged the pioneering role of the APRM and is therefore not surprising that the NAPRM-GC Chairman is appointed to serve on the Constitutional Review Commission.

It is instructive that many of the proposals outlined had been recommended by the country’s APRM Report.

With a call of the APRM for a Constitutional review underway, the APRM has once again demonstrated it serves the national interest by bringing to the fore the collective concerns and voices of the people for good governance. It may be added that unlike elsewhere, the call for a review is not based on self-aggrandizement or parochial interest but rather the supreme interest of the State and people of Ghana to foster their well being, growth and development.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 March 2010 07:32