On April 28, 1992, the citizenry took a decisive decision to adopt the 1992 Constitution to guide the governance of the country.
Prior to that, the country had witnessed intermittent military disruptions of various constitutions since independence. Indeed, the 1992 Constitution has served the country quite well since the era of the Provisional National Defence Council, the last military regime in the country.
As we commemorated 30 years of the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution last Thursday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in a national broadcast, rallied the citizenry to renew their trust in the country’s democratic process and vigilantly protect the 1992 Constitution against the threats of saboteurs.
For us at the Daily Graphic, the call came at the right time considering the disruptions of some governments in the sub-region by military personnel in recent times. For those who might not have been alive to experience some of the gruesome dark era of military rule with its attendant suppression of freedoms, authoritarian rule and disregard for human rights, they will not appreciate the value of constitutionalism.
No matter the challenges under constitutionalism, the citizenry have benefited from the fruits of democracy such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and deciding who or which party should govern them.
Since independence, the 1992 Constitution has travelled the longest in the country’s governance as the rest were often cut short through military interventions. It is only under this Constitution that the country had experienced the longest, uninterrupted period of stable, constitutional governance.
We have also witnessed peaceful transfers of power from a governing to an opposition party on three separate occasions. Where election results were disputed, the parties resorted to the Supreme Court to settle the differences. This can never happen under military rule.
It is in this vein that the Daily Graphic urges the citizenry to remain united and resolve to protect the Constitution. We must not entertain any ideas of supporting military takeovers to draw back the clock of progress.
Already, there have been some proposals for a review of some portions of the Constitution to help serve the citizenry better. These are the thoughts we should be harbouring and making suggestions to improve it and not disrupt our progress march.
Our collective efforts to protect the Constitution has helped the country to be touted as a beacon of democracy on the continent. As the President stated, “Let us strengthen our resolve to resist such persons for our own common good.”
We must say no to the era of military dictatorship as the benefits, under democratic governance, far exceeds military rule.
He said under the current democratic rule, the country had also enjoyed equality of opportunity and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
The Daily Graphic urges all stakeholders to begin to consider and make suggestions to review areas of the Constitution to improve the lives of the people and our governance process.
At least, there are proposals for amendments that will make the President select ministers outside of Parliament, making the National Development Planning Commission neutral and making the position of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) elective.
The Daily Graphic believes that any amendments should help us protect the democratic gains we have enjoyed and also address any challenges, especially addressing issues such as the hung Parliament.
We believe that we can succeed if we adopt a bipartisan approach in dealing with any proposals to amend the Constitution. We will recommend that civil society organisations should lead the process to insulate the process from any political influences and also prevent the snag that the country hit in 2019 when attempts were made to amend portions of the Constitution to make the position of MMDCEs elective.
We congratulate all stakeholders on protecting the 1992 Constitution thus far and we urge the citizenry to continue to safeguard it as the benefits of democratic governance far outweigh military rule.