The current constitutional review process risks political sabotage – IMANI has better alternatives.
Ghana’s political and economic evolution has gone through many phases. After colonialism, the geopolitical structure of the country evolved through military and intermediate democratic regimes until the fourth republic which has been characterized by relatively stable political and economic environment. During this journey to constitutional rule, we have been presented with opportunities to make drastic changes for which posterity will eternally hold us accountable.
One such rare opportunity is burgeoning; the amendment of entrenched provisions bill, to make amendments to the 1992 constitution. The proposed Bill is the outcome of a process of constitutional review which began in January 2010 with the appointment by then President John Atta Mills of a nine-member Constitution Review Commission (CRC), pursuant to the Constitution Review Commission of Inquiry Instrument, 2010, C.I. 64. The CRC submitted its report to the Government on December 20, 2011, following which the Government issued a White Paper in June 2012 accepting most, and rejecting a few, of the CRC’s recommendations for constitutional amendment. In October 2012, President John Mahama appointed a five-member Constitution Review Implementation Committee (the “Implementation Committee”) to undertake the preparatory steps, including drafting the appropriate bills, necessary to implement the recommendations of the CRC. In March 2014, it was reported that the Implementation Committee had submitted a draft bill for amendment of the Constitution to the Attorney-General. President Mahama later announced that his Cabinet was set to approve the draft Bill at its March 27, 2014 meeting.
However, there is problem. Many constitutional analysts are not convinced that the amendment process in its current form will be beneficial to our democracy. They argue, since the Bill proposes changes to thirty-four (34) entrenched provisions of the Constitution and inserts seven (7) new entrenched provisions, which covers ten (10) different chapters of the 1992 Constitution, it is not right to leave out Parliament, the law making body out of the entire exercise. It is defeatist in principle and practice and an affront to the cause of good governance.
Constitutional experts further suggest that the constitutional amendment process risks political control since the process of constitutional review has been driven, from the beginning, solely by the executive. The decision to initiate a review of the constitution was a decision of the President; the appointment of the nine-member constitutional review committee was the President’s decision; the decision to accept or reject portions of the recommendations of the CRC was a decision solely of the Government; the Implementation Committee was appointed singlehandedly by the President; and the draft Bill that is now ready for consideration is submitted in the name of the Government by its Attorney-General. Following the control of government by just one political party in our dispensation, a constitutional review process that is initiated and driven entirely by the president and appointees of the president risks being perceived or characterized as a non-inclusive, partisan or single-party project, and ultimately be counterproductive.
On this background, IMANI and #SimpleStep with support from OSIWA, the Hans Seidel Foundation and STAR Ghana cordially invites you to a high-level forum on our Constitutional reforms to discuss Ghana’s future under the proposed amendment and seek clarity on how well established and contemporary constitutional democracies undertake crucial amendments.
We surely can learn how to handle issues relating to grey areas of our democratic practices.
Speakers: Nana Yaa Ofori-Atta( CEO, The Legacy Project), Samson Lardy Anyenini( Lawyer and Broadcast Journalist) Prof. Kwasi Prempeh (Professor of Law), Kwame Boafo Akuffo (Private Legal Practitioner) and Hon. Majority Leader, Hon. Alban Bagbin (tbc)
Venue: Alisa Hotel North Ridge, Bostsio Auditorium.
Date: 19, November 2014.
Moderator: Ms Golda Naa Addo, CEO of #SimpleStep
Founding President and CEO,
IMANI Center for Policy and Education.