The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) started the celebration of this year’s Constitution Week from April 28 to May 4, 2018 across the country, with a focus on public accountability and the security agencies.
On the key theme: “Our heritage, consolidating Ghana’s democratic gains” and the sub-theme: “Accountability and transparency”, the week-long activities hinge on three pillars, namely education on anti-corruption, enhanced public accountability, Ghana and environmental governance.
Other activities to be undertaken across the country during the 2018 Constitution Week include pre, during and post-media discussions on the Constitution Week across the country, launch of the week, engagement with security agencies at the national and regional levels, as well as engagement with public and civil servants and communities on transparency and accountability.
Others are a national dialogue on transparency and public accountability, clean-up exercises across the country, visits to identifiable groups at the regional and district levels and civic messages to faith-based organisations across the country.
Sharing further insights into the week-long activities, the Chairman of the NCCE, Ms Josephine Nkrumah, said since civic education was a shared responsibility, the commission was collaborating with both public sector institutions or agencies and civil society organisations (CSOs) to execute their key constitutional mandates.
“It is for each one of us, including public institutions, to play our roles in nation building and not to leave that responsibility in the hands of the politician alone to drive the development process’’, Ms Nkrumah said.
Role of NCCE/CSOs
On whether the roles of the NCCE had been taken over by the CSOs, the NCCE chair dismissed the assertion, declaring: “Our role certainly has not been taken over by the civil society organisations; the NCCE has a key constitutional mandate to perform and while these mandates are vast and diverse, the NCCE is rather collaborating with CSOs to educate the citizenry on the tenets and ideals of the Constitution, voting rights, menaces in society, child labour and child marriages among others.
The commission, she added, was also working hand in hand with the Customs and Excise Preventive Service of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to educate the citizenry on taxation.
“In all of these, we as citizens and stakeholders must apply ourselves to diligence and integrity,” she posited.
According to Ms Nkrumah, Ghana’s democracy is 25 years old and it is imperative to celebrate the milestone.
“Twenty-five years of democracy is no mean achievement. We are one of the strong examples of a democracy in Africa but we can not be complacent; but work a lot more harder to entrench it further and ensure that the ideals of democracy thrive,” she stated.
She stated that the NCCE and other governance institutions, including the Electoral Commission (EC), National Media Commission (NMC) and the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) were all celebrating their 25th milestones this year.
She indicated that the NCCE, notwithstanding its financial challenges, was using the occasion to take stock of its roles under the current dispensation and try to harness the roles of the other governance institutions to consolidate Ghana’s democracy.
Ms Nkrumah expressed with regret that in recent times the Ghanaian society was experiencing few instances of lawlessness and a certain level of intolerance.
In her view, those were not good signs but an indication of what could erupt into something untoward in the near future.
“We as a people must continue to defend the Constitution and its inherent ideals to avoid any social menace that does not augur well for the well-being of the society,” she added.
The NCCE has been celebrating the Constitution Week since 2001 with democratic lectures, press briefings and group engagement on social issues.
This year, the commission is engaging the security agencies to remind them of the tenets of democracy.
According to the commission, the security agencies over the past 25 years have played a significant role in getting Ghana’s democracy deepened and entrenched.
The commission is, therefore, engaging them to remind them of their role first as citizens and the need for them to help build the nation.