Ghanaians advised to participate in national referendum

A member of the Constitution Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) and a Legislative Drafting Consultant, Mrs Estelle Appiah, has advised Ghanaians to actively participate in the upcoming national referendum.

The referendum, which will be organised jointly with the district and metropolitan assemblies, follows a recommendation by the CRIC.

Mrs Appiah was speaking at the Central Regional stakeholders briefing of the work done by the CRIC at Elmina.

She said at least 40 per cent of the voting population was expected to vote in the referendum, of which 75 per cent out of the 40 per cent was to vote in favour.

She added that the committee was planning to issue two separate questions to deal specifically with the death penalty and other issues.

Mrs Appiah said the committee had recommended the scrapping of the death penalty to be replaced with life imprisonment.

She said after the 75 per cent of the voters had agreed to the amendment, the bill would be sent to Parliament for it to be passed and then the President would give his assent for it to become a law.

The Constitution Review Commission (CRC) was set up on January 11, 2010 to consult with the people of Ghana on the operation of the 1992 constitution and on any changes that need to be made to the constitution.

In accordance with Article 280 (1) of the constitution, the CRC submitted its report to the government on December 20, 2011.

Mrs Appiah said the decision in the amendment was arrived at after reviewing 83,000 submissions from the general public and also consulting various stakeholders.

She said the committee had already dispatched about 4,000 copies of its recommendations to district assemblies, religious bodies, non-governmental organisations, schools and professional institutions, among others.

She said the recommendations included granting paternity leave to fathers, revision of retiring age, non-renewable tenure of executives of independent constitutional bodies, restricting traditional rulers from taking part in politics and giving the Media Commission more power to effectively manage the media.

Presidential pardon

Mrs Appiah, who talked about the amendments to be done to the entrenched and non-entrenched bills, said the committee had also limited the presidential prerogative of mercy to certain offences.

She added that the President could not pardon offences such as genocide, treason, narcotics, murder and armed robbery.

Swearing in of President

Mrs Appiah said the committee recommended that the President-elect should be sworn in before the constitution of a new Parliament.

She added that the Chief Justice’s sole responsibility of swearing in the president had been widened to include high court judges.

That, she said, would make the swearing in of the President easier even when the Chief Justice is not around.

Mrs Appiah said under the recommendations, when a president was taken ill, the Vice-President would be sworn in as the acting President until the President recovered from his illness.

She added that after the President had been confirmed by a board of medical team that he or she could not recover from his or her illness, the Vice-President would be sworn in as the active President.

District elections

Mrs Appiah said the committee had scrapped the system where the President directly appointed district and metropolitan chief executives and made provisions for the President to appoint five persons to be voted for in elections in the various assemblies.

She said that would bring trust in the work of the chief executives.

Source:Graphic.com.gh

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