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The concept of constitutionalism is that of a polity governed by or under a constitution that ordains essentially limited government and rule of law as opposed to arbitrary authoritarian or totalitarian rule. Constitutional government, therefore, should necessarily be democratic government. Constitutionalism is a political philosophy in which the functions of government of a state must be in accordance with provisions of the constitution meaning thereby the actions of government must reflect constitutionality.
The current President Nana Akufo-Addo vehemently defended this philosophy prior to the introduction of constitutional rule in Ghana. In the 70s, he demonstrated same commitment. He joined forces with other persons to exert pressure on the Acheampong regime to reverse the country back to constitutional rule.
Between 1983 and 1991, he constantly criticised the PNDC administration of Jerry Rawlings and demanded for its removal by the masses for constitutional rule to operate. Ghana was ushered into constitutional rule in 1992 and the objective of the constitution is to ensure the dignified conditions for the people of Ghana and provide them all rights and liberties within ambit of fundamental spirit of constitutionalism embodied in entire body of the constitution. There has been few breaches of certain constitutional provisions but these breaches were not so damning to undermine the core authority of the constitution. There are some governments in Africa that have features of the classic totalitarian systems.
This Akufo-Addo government has so far proved beyond doubt that it is ready to join this club of governments. Ghana is a very diverse country and authoritarian trap cannot work because of the diversity of the people. The President knows that Ghanaians have been triumphing over an authoritarian government and will continue to. On the African continent, we saw how totalitarian governments were removed the consequences they suffered. Ghanaians are fed up and are mobilizing toward regime replacement. This administration is going through this hell and losing its goodwill because of how the masses saw the President before his inauguration. He was respected because of his political and professional exploits and some Ghanaians voted for him based on these factors. He was seen as the “no nonsense” type of a politician, incorruptible and a well composed politician. Those close to him, including some of his closest friends, expressed contrary opinion and openly warned Ghanaians not to entrust the destiny of this great nation into his hands.
The constitution of Ghana for the first time since its introduction is going through serious challenges. The sanctity of the constitution has been brutally demeaned.
There is no exhaustive list of feature by which the validity or existence of constitutionalism can be tested, -but every feature which limit the government and proves helpful to establish a position of sovereignty under fundamental principles of constitutional jurisprudence may be a considerable point for constitutionalism. The same way, decisions and recommendations that have the potential of raising down the pillars of our democracy must not be allowed to thrive. The preamble is a part of our constitution.
The Preamble explains the objectives of the constitution in two ways, one about the composition of bodies of governance and other about the objectives sought to be achieved in democratic Ghana. All actions of governments must be in line with the provisions captured in the constitution. In written constitution, higher law depicts constitution as supreme. If governments continue to breach aspects of the constitution to serve its political interest then the constitution merely becomes a draft for the code of conduct for government as well as citizens. Gradually, we paving smooth outlets for miscreants to visit on us the hell we went through in the past. The country is becoming more divided because of certain decisions by the President and his government.
Due process and procedure established by law are important features in all democratic dispensation. Rule of constitutional law are the results of the ordinary law of the land means the laws made by legislature and other bodies or agencies must not be contrary to the provisions of constitution, otherwise it will be declared as null and void. We are seeing the opposite under a man described by his admirers as “The law” and human right advocate. Next provision is Seperation of powers among organs of government. The President and his government have hijacked the other two arms of government and has successfully rendered them weak and hopeless. The principle of checks and balance propounded to check the infringements and arbitrariness is dead and buried. These are some of the few breaches recorded under Akufo-Addo
a) Removal of the Governor of Bank of Ghana. The tenure and operations of persons appointed to handle that office are clearly stipulated in the constitution.
b) Removal of the EC and the constitutional breaches
c)Issuing of bonds without adhering to laws and regulations
d)Sacking of some public officers perceived to be sympathisers of the NDC
e) Use of oil funds without adhering to stipulated laws guiding use of such funds
f) Diversion of statutory funds without parliamentary approval.
g) Massive breaches of our procurement laws
The perceived rise of intolerance, sudden quietness and rise of intolerance,threat to free speech and raining of praises on government bogus policies in the country serves to underline the crass hypocrisy, blatant double standard and jaundiced perspective that defines a certain section of our intellectual community ; theirs is a false patois that has corrupted Ghana’s democracy under the current administration and reduced the whole country to a term of abuse. Scrutinized objectively, this ostensibly act of moral activism is a Machiavellian shenanigan, a crafty ploy that hypes unfortunate incidents to assert ideological supremacy and derail a progressive government intent on development.
This warped principles touted by these worthies does not conform to universal ethical standards nor does it incorporate the basic tenet of fair play, equality and justice. It is a partisan ideological inquisition characterised by selective moral indignation, biased criticism of governments they hated and targeted unsubstantiated allegations – in effect an orchestrated witchunt. The removal of the EC boss for instance is a reprehensible act that is anathema to our democracy and warrants outright condemnation; needless to say that the President and other perpetrators must be condemned and made to reverse that dangerous decision. Unfortunately, to date these intellectuals and crusaders of morals have not spoken. Nevertheless, our eminent lawyers and neutrals have rushed to convict the EC boss via media trial and their Facebook posts.
The danger is, the constitution is losing its authority’s subsequent regimes have well packaged precedents to stand on when they decide to take same obnoxious policies. These respected commentators have lost their credibility and respect and will not have same moral courage to criticise governments that travel same road.
Source: Ohenenana Obonti Krow