The 1992 Constitution Was Rushed And Politically Biased – Presidential hopeful.
The 2024 Presidential hopeful, Dr. Sam Ankrah has joined the conversations on the need for Ghana to amend portions of its constitution.
“Today, I join proponents of a Constitutional Review to repeat my long-held belief that 30 years of our 4th Republican Constitution has failed Ghana’s people and must be reviewed”
He is of the view that Ghana’s current 1992 constitution is no longer fit for purpose adding that, the constitution is to blame for Ghana’s ineffective state institutions stifling socio-economic progress.
“The Constitution must require governmental agency mergers, closures, and staff reassignments to minimize costs. “Jobs for the Boys” agencies waste state resources by duplicating roles. Thus, institutions are often confused or at odds over who does what” he said.
Addressing the nation on 1st July to observe Ghana’s Republic Day, Dr. Sam Ankrah maintained that, the President’s powers guaranteed under the 1992 constitution contribute to the woes of the country.
According to him “the struggle for independence to the present, we thank all our former leaders. I also want to urge on young Ghanaians to board the train to change the trajectory and bring paradigm shift” he stressed.
“We celebrate sixty-three years as a republic from a crown kilometres away today. We’re still debating if “the black man is capable of managing his own affairs” was a good idea for us and our children”
He mentioned that, after Ghanaians gambled with three more republics to turn fortunes around while repeating the same mistakes that sink people’s decade after decade, Ghanaians still suffer from Fourth Republic disparities and inefficiency and are still economically and politically dependent on colonial masters”
Emphasizing that “although many well-meaning Ghanaians have urged for a revision of this constitution in the best interest of Ghanaians, both political leaders who have taken turns remained resolute. The Fourth Republican Constitution was rushed to get us out of military control and into a multi-party democracy dominated by two major political parties” he noted.
Dr. Sam Ankrah said, “In general elections, the constitution requires a 50%+1 majority, indicating that when no party hits that mark, the contest becomes a party contest. This restricts the people to the two-party state of the Fourth Republic, with its complacency and entitlement in governance. This law must be changed to eliminate the run-off and require alliances with fringe parties. This would first and foremost help resolve the people’s anger against the two dominant parties and allow for new and revolutionary government ideas”
Dr. Ankrah maintained that a revised Constitution must rethink the President’s disproportionate appointing powers. Constitutional nominations transcend political regimes and must be bipartisan. Although such appointments have been mostly independent, history shows that they tend to support the President’s political views.
Thus, he has propose a committee with equal membership and authority, drawn from the two leading parties in Parliament and supported by the National House of Chiefs, to jointly nominate someone they’re confident in for the President’s appointment.
To build political and public trust in non-constitutional bodies like the Attorney-General (de-coupled from Minister of Justice), the National Development Planning Commission, and the Inspector-General of Police, appointments and others must be bipartisan.
Again, the constitution must limit Ministers of State. Productivity and efficiency depend on maximizing outputs with minimal resources. If the highest office cannot do this and ensure that it is reproduced in all public sectors, our search for fiscal prudence is doomed.
Dr. Sam Ankrah said, the constitution must provide power separation stressing that Parliamentarians appointed by the nation’s Chief Executive, which institutionalize cronyism between the Legislature and the Executive they supervise. Under this setup, the Legislature serves the Executive rather than its constituents.
According to the Presidential hopeful, some proponents doubt the function of a Vice President.
He believes “the Office of the Veep is essential to national peace and stability adding that, “we must sustain this investment. After President Mills’ untimely death, President Mahama took over by dark. In addition to the peace, the caretaker President has no need to change his predecessor’s programs and projects” he said.
Reward System Equity
Additionally, “a constitution that solely addresses the method of determining compensation for Article 71 office holders and purposefully ignores all other public officials’ salaries cannot be the people’s Constitution”
“That bias of the 4th Republican Constitution has actively operationalized two classes of pay: a juicy one for Article 71 office holders (including the President and Vice, Ministers, Parliamentarians, Council of State, etc.) and another for workers on the pitiful Single Spine Salary Structure, which is limited to whatever Government says it can afford to pay, under the guise of the “ability-to-pay” principle, which does not apply to the top brass”
“Some receive unjustified ex-gratia or retire on their wages. All public officials should retire on their salaries for the same reason as the top brass. Can the masters of such a system ever feel the agony of the poor, let alone commit to swiftly alleviating it?” Dr. Sam Ankrah questioned.
Dr. Sam Ankrah noted that a revised constitution must exclude the Council of State. An Upper Chamber of Representatives can advise. This body he said should include Traditional Paramountcies and Professional Bodies. There is the need to review several other Fourth Republican Constitution provisions:
A Constitution that prohibits a former president from being punished for nearly a decade mocks the laws he swore to uphold.
Source: Kaakyire Kwasi Afari.