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Constitution must meet aspirations — Panellists

BY: Samuel Duodu & Justice Agbenorsi
Dr Seidu Alidu (left), Senior Lecturer, Political Science Department, UG;  Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee (middle), Lecturer, School of Law, UG, and Prof. Henry Kwesi Prempeh (right), Executive Director, CDD-Ghana, in a panel discussion at the lecture.   Picture: ERNEST KODZI
Dr Seidu Alidu (left), Senior Lecturer, Political Science Department, UG; Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee (middle), Lecturer, School of Law, UG, and Prof. Henry Kwesi Prempeh (right), Executive Director, CDD-Ghana, in a panel discussion at the lecture. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

Panellists at a public lecture to commemorate 30 years of Ghana's constitutional democracy have called on the citizenry and those in leadership to make the 1992 Republican Constitution deliver the kind of development that "we expect as a nation".

They observed that until the citizenry begun to demand for accountability from their leaders there would not be any meaningful development.

They noted that although the Constitution was seen as a living document that guided how the nation should be run it would not come to fruition until those in leadership begun to implement the Constitution to the letter.

Panelists

The panellists were the Executive Director, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Prof. Henry Kwesi Prempeh, Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee, Lecturer, School of Law, University of Ghana, Legon and Dr Alidu Seidu, a Senior Lecturer, Political Science Department, University of Ghana, Legon.

It was moderated by Samson Lardy Anyenini, a broadcast journalist and a private legal practitioner.

The lecture, on the theme " Three Decades of Uninterrupted Constitutional Rule: Revisiting the Agenda for Reforms," was organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to commemorate the 30 years of the adoption of the 1992 Republican Constitution.

Views

Prof. Prempeh in his submission said the 1992 Constitution had served the country well in the area of Ghanaians choosing their own leaders into political office but when it came to serving the people after being elected into office, it had become a different ball game.

"I think our Constitution has been great, excellent on the rules of entering and exit but not so great when it comes to the rules of play", he stated.

He explained that what the 1992 Constitution sought to do at the time it was adopted was to do away with the exclusion of citizens from the participation of the selection of their government.

"We wanted to do away with the military rule and monopoly of power and the Constitution has served us very well in that area", he said

Prof. Prempeh said the framework of the checks and balances in the 1992 Constitution were extremely weak, and that gave more powers to those elected into office.

He noted that one of the major deficits of the Constitution was in the area of local government where the President still had to appoint District Chief Executives (DCEs).

Mrs Kasser-Tee, for her part, said the Constitution had enhanced political participation but much had not been achieved when it came to the use of the natural resources of the country by those Ghanaians had elected into office to preside over the state of affairs.

“It is high time the citizenry begun to demand for accountability as to how the country's resources were being expended", she stated.

She said the 1992 Republic Constitution had been the longest serving and "We as Ghanaians must pat ourselves on the back for sustaining the Fourth Republican Constitution", she said.

Dr Seidu, for his part, said there was the need for the 1992 Constitution to be reviewed to meet the exigencies of the times the nation found itself in to meet the socio-economic aspirations and development of the country.