The Constitution Review Commission (CRC) has called on Ghanaians not to be swayed by parochial considerations and emotions to amend the Constitution.

Rather, the CRC said Ghanaians must work to ensure that an exhaustive process is used to ascertain the real needs and review required to make the Constitution stand the test of time.

At a two-day regional forum and mini consultations in the Volta Region, the CRC also asked past Members of Parliament who had varied experiences by virtue of their work in the legislature to make input so as to enrich the process.

Giving submissions on the various thematic areas under review, one main issue under contention was the election of District Chief Executives while others argued that there was the need to elect them through popular voting, others disagreed and said since they were supposed to represent the President at that level, making that office elective could have dire consequences for development at the decentralised level.

A former Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Very Right Reverend Japhet Ledo, called for an upward adjustment in the number of years of the Presidency from the current four to five years to make space for the President’s settling in after elections so as to give ample time for state business.

He further called for the Constitution to be revered far above partisan manifestos, observing with concern that in all national discourses in recent times, manifestos had taken precedence over the Constitution which was supposed to be the supreme working document of the land.

There was also a popular call for the review of the law that made it possible for MPs to become ministers since they were elected to represent the people, which was already an arduous task that becomes further compounded when ministerial posts were added to it.

When that happened, they said, the MPs lost touch with the people who had sent them to Parliament and that defeated the very purpose of their election to office.

One assembly member from the Ketu North District suggested the nomination of five persons by the president for consideration by the assembly as district chief executive. Out of the number, one
person would be chosen by a simple majority and said that would be the panacea for the deadlock that normally characterised the confirmation of the president’s nominee for the post of a DCE.

Madam Lena Alai, Regional Co-ordinator of the Department of Women and Children, observed that even though legislation had been passed that sought to prohibit certain cultural practices that were inimical to the development of women, a good number of those practices were rooted in religion.

She added that it was imperative for a Commission to be formed to look into the various cultural practices of the country and to streamline them with the view to expunging those that did not promote the cause of development, especially for women and girls.

A former District Chief Executive, Mr Henry Ametefee, said that the 15 permanent members that constituted the Volta Regional House of Chiefs was unfair since there were so many traditional areas and paramountcies stretching from Keta in the South to Krachi in the North and had been left out of the representation.

The Commission sat yesterday to receive submissions from persons on the substantive thematic areas under review.

The Chairman of the CRC, Professor Emeritus Albert K. Fiadjoe, said so far the commission had received 50,000 submissions and expressed gratitude to the people of the Volta Region for coming tops with the highest number of submissions during the community and district consultations earlier in the year.

The Paramount chief of the Avatime Traditional Council who chaired the function suggested to the commission to consider the proposal that national holidays which fall on week days other than a Monday or Friday are shifted to a Monday or a Friday.

The Deputy Volta Regional Minister, Colonel (rtd) Cyril Necku, in an address read for him, urged the people to speak out their minds freely and suggest useful changes to the Constitution to make it more realistic and responsive to the needs of the people of Ghana.

Credit: Daily Graphic

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