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At his 40 years June 4 rally, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Leader of the Military Junta PNDC that supervised the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution, has called for its review after twenty-seven years into the fourth republic.
For the purposes of those who were not born twenty-seven years ago, it will be important to state the obvious, that Ghana’s 1992 Constitution was drawn under military dictatorship and therefore was boycotted by all civil society groups including the Ghana Bar Association (GBA). The logic for the total boycott was for the Military (PNDC) to hand over the administration of the Country to an interim Civil supervisory body first before a broad democratic constituent assembly can be well represented for the purposes of drafting an acceptable National constitution.
That demand was ignored, by the Military leadership. The result was the dictatorial constitution that was finally promulgated and signed by Jerry John Rawlings. Whether we like it or not, that was the dictatorial constitution that was forced onto us twenty-seven years ago, with indemnity clauses, privileges and overwhelming executive powers.
Wisdom comes with age. Therefore, if Rawlings at over 70 years, now thinks his indemnity clause has outlived its usefulness in contemporary Ghana, we thank him. The big question now is, how do we remove it out of his constitution which has become a burdensome document on the people of Ghana?
It would be recalled, that, Former President John Evans Atta Mills, constituted a review commission with a colossal sum of 10 million US dollars for the purpose of reviewing the constitution before his demise. (May his gentle soul rest in peace.) The commission completed its work and handed it over to the then President John Dramani Mahama. The executive massaged it and sent it to Parliament from where it would ultimately have gone through a National referendum. As all these processes were going on, a US base Ghanaian Lawyer, Professor Kwaku Asare, contested the propriety or impropriety of the constitutional review process at the Supreme Court. The highest Court whose duty it is to interpret the Constitution of the land. The Supreme Court finally ruled in favor of the Plaintiff, Professor Kwaku Asare. A whole one-year strenuous review process under Professor Raymond Atuguba as the executive secretary was stalled and became a useless waste of time and resources.
One would ask that, if the Supreme Court Justices knew that the process initiated by President JEA Mills was unconstitutional, why didn’t they prompt the executive? Other than waiting for the red flag.
The writer in a recent article titled “The 1992 Constitution, The Dilemma of the people of Ghana” queried, if a sitting President cannot authorize a review of the 1992 Constitution, WHO CAN?
Well, I am not sure if the suggestion coming from former President Rawlings, the man who oversaw the drafting, Promulgation and signed the 1992 Constitution is a welcoming news. I personally do not see why the call from Rawlings can change the position of the Supreme Court Justices, Upholding the previous writ that challenged the previous review process.
The writer in his previous article on the (Dilemma of the People of Ghana) cited a Supreme Court case by JSC Sowah in the celebrated case of Tuffour verses the Attorney General, that, a constitution is a dynamic living organism capable of growth and development. (1980 GLR.637-667).
Therefore, the circumstances that led to the drafting of the 1992 constitution has drastically changed and needs to be reviewed to reflect current circumstances. However, the big question remains unanswered. WHO CAN CAUSE THE 1992 CONSTITUTION TO BE REVIEWED? The Supreme Court must come clear on the interpretation on this to open the minds of the people of Ghana.
By Samuel Ofori Ampofo
The writer, Samuel Ofori Ampofo, is the President of the National Crusaders Alliance (NCA) and the Local President of the Ghana Leadership Union (GLU).
He will soon launch an Independent Presidential Document for Change. A gift for Ghana to decide.
Join the National Crusade Alliance.
Call the Secretary Jeorge Wilson Kingson on 0244822034