Legal Experts Push For Constitutional Amendments

Prof. Prempeh and Mr. Kopsieker speaking at the event

THE DEBATE on the review of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana is being reignited, with some legal experts calling for key amendments to be effected to pave way for national development.

The lawyers, Dr. Raymond Akongboro Atuguba, Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana School of Law and Prof. Henry Kwasi Prempeh, Governance, Constitutional and Legal Policy Expert, made the call at the opening ceremony of a two-day national constitution conference organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Ghana Country Bureau and the Institute of Law and Public Affairs (ILPA).

The conference was held at Dodowa from 24th to 25th November under the theme, “Strengthening Stakeholder Collaborations to Galvanise Support for a Review/Amendment of the 1992 Constitution to Reflect a More Developmental Constitution.”

The objective of the conference was to create a platform for stakeholders to reignite and set the agenda for continuous interaction and sharing of knowledge and ideas for review/amendment of the constitution towards enhanced democratization and national development.

In 2010, the Constitution Review Commission of Inquiry was formed and tasked to among other things, ascertain from the people of Ghana their views on the operation of the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution and, in particular, the strengths and weaknesses of the Constitution.

According to the experts, the constitution in its current form, is partly responsible for the developmental and governance challenges facing the country.

“Twenty-five years ago, our Constitution was fine but today it has problems, ” Dr. Atuguba noted.

He explained that the country could not make any progress in terms of good governance and development unless amendments were made to the constitution, saying, “We are currently at a governance standstill.”

He complained for instance, that the judiciary has for many years remained unaccountable and that parliament too has been weak in forming laws and passing them on its own and that all the Ghanaian parliament is good at doing is passing bills brought before it by the executive organ of government.

According to Prof. Prempeh, the quality of governance since 1992 has been slipping and democracy has not delivered the development dividends the masses desire.

Ghana Country Director of FES, Fritz Kopsieker, observed that laws contained in the 1992 Constitution continue to be selectively applied to different persons based on their social and economic status, saying in the minds of many ordinary Ghanaians, the country is not ruled by laws.

He explained that laws are easily broken in Ghana and that members of parliament who are “the makers of the laws, are the prime breakers of the laws.”

According to Mr Fritz Kopsieker, Ghanaian parliamentarians do not have a good image on the masses.


BY Melvin Tarlue