As a nation, we have not done too well in adhering to some values and principles of the 1992 Constitution.
We have had some needless constitutional breaches, many have blamed on sheer partisanship, fanaticism, show of power, misguided enthusiasm, among other things.
The recent show of force and alleged brutalities meted out to two reporters from Citi FM/Citi TV by some personnel from the National Security outfit comes to mind readily.
Even though reactions have built up over the alleged arrest and assault, majority of them critical of the treatment meted out to the two reporters, the avoidable development remains a blot on the conscience of the nation. This drama should not have happened at all and it is hoped that any ongoing investigations will unravel the circumstances leading to this unfortunate incident and how to avoid future occurrences.
Values and principles
Admittedly, it will be in every citizen’s interest to support and work for effective democratic participation to enhance quality citizenship among the people.
As a people with a common destiny, it will be in our own interest to uphold and deepen democratic values such as respect for the rule of law and human rights, as well as encourage the demand for accountability in all public endeavours.
There is no denying the fact that making the Constitution an everyday reference document to help Ghanaians know their rights, responsibilities and privileges, and to demand accountability from the government and duty bearers will go a long way to influence nation-building and development efforts.
Promoting civic awareness
It’s time to continue to vigorously promote, in a sustained manner, civic education and awareness in the country for the people to know their rights and privileges as well as to demystify the 1992 Constitution for every Ghanaian citizen.
In view of some constitutional breaches by a section of society, the need to enhance respect for the rule of law, create equal opportunities for all and guarantee peaceful coexistence as captured in the preamble of the constitution has become so important and crucial.
In furtherance of this, we must all, notwithstanding where we come from and what we do, be it from the government, security service, media, legislature and civil and public services, work to avoid acts which threaten the foundation of the nation's well-being and unity.
In so doing, it will also be in the national interest to do away with the all-year-round partisan politics and live in harmony, unity and peace with one another to guarantee rapid growth and development in the country.
In all of this, we the citizenry must always ensure that the national interest remains supreme to all other interests, including political, ethnic and religious.
Recently, the country marked this year’s Constitution Week on the theme: “We are One, Ghana first”. As the flagship programme instituted in 2001 by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Constitution Week, from April 28 to May 4, was used to sensitise the general public to the essence of national unity with an overall objective of achieving oneness and patriotism critical for the public good.
Though the celebration is over, the NCCE is still mopping up its activities with stakeholder engagements, with the sole aim of educating many more Ghanaians on the need to uphold right democratic values to enhance quality citizenship.
It will be a step in the right direction to support the NCCE to discharge its constitutional mandate as it works to deepen democracy in the country.
Many more Ghanaians need to understand the importance of civic education to the national development agenda and the first critical step is for all of us to understand and uphold the tenets of the constitution.
Understanding the Constitution will not only help people to know their civic rights and responsibilities, empower the citizens to defend it, but also embolden them to demand accountability from the government and all duty bearers.
Every citizen has a civic responsibility to play in the protection of the country’s constitution. It is our collective will that has helped to sustain and maintain the country’s democracy so far and it will require all of us to continue to make the constitution an everyday working document. It is through such action that we can all appreciate the fact that the national interest supersedes all other considerations, be they ethnic, religious, political or personal.