I take this opportunity to wish all Ghanaians, far and near, a prosperous New Year. No challenge is insurmountable and so, I have positive intuition that the challenges that ravaged 2021, would be surmounted in 2022.

January 7 every year is Constitution Day on the national calendar of our country. The purpose of the day is to celebrate the constitutional milestone of the 4th Republic. Considering that our history is replete with many disruptions of the constitutional order, we have every reason to celebrate the sustenance of the 4th Republic for almost three decades on this day.

Many governance experts believe that but for the incessant disruptions of the constitutional order, Ghana could have witnessed an accelerated development. For the proponents of this theory, stable democracy is a bedrock for national development. If we test this theory against the 4th Republic, can we say Ghana has developed? The obvious answer is no. However, it’s refreshing to note that we’ve made enormous progress though there’s more room for improvement.

In this vein, I subscribe to the theory that a stable democracy is a bedrock for national development. But, we need to begin to examine, after three decades of constitutional practice, what factors led to the disruptions in our journey to development. Are those factors present today? Have we consolidated our democracy hermetically to prevent another disruption? These questions are critical especially when West Africa is seeing a surge in military strongmen who are vacating the constitutions of their respective country.

In most, if not all, military juntas, the leaders ride on the collective outrage of citizens to overthrow the constitution. A reading of our own history will support this point. When there’s a state of despondency and frustrations in a country, perceived or real, military strongmen latch onto that to carry out their agenda, mostly to the admiration of civilians. Indeed, it should not be lost on us, flipping through our history pages, that, misgovernance and misrule, in summary, have been the reasons adduced by coup leaders in Ghana to justify their actions.

A case in point that buttresses the point supra is the 1979 coupled by the late Jerry John Rawlings. To date, some people think the circumstances of that coup is justified. This goes to underscore the possibility of coup leaders galvanise the support of ordinary citizens to sustain their agenda. I daresay, without the support of citizens, the barrel of the gun can’t succeed at overthrowing the constitution. A recent example is what happened in Turkey when the people poured on the streets to foil a coup attempt by the military.

My reflections on our journey as a people so far and looking at scenarios in other jurisdictions point to an irresistible conclusion that to sustain our 4th republican democracy, we need the unflinching support of the ordinary citizens of our country. We can attain this by serving the people in truth. The needs of the people including; employment, access to healthcare, education, etc should be addressed. All attempts must be made to secure the trust of the people in the political class. This can be achieved by bridging the gap between the political class and the ordinary people.

Interestingly, military juntas, in my view, have mostly failed to deliver any good to the people. Military juntas largely come with extrajudicial killings, looting of state resources, oppression of the people, and disregard for the rule of law. And that’s why it’s important to preserve our democracy through citizens’ involvement in the governance process in order to kill any possibility of a coup d’etat. On this day, let every one reflect on our journey thus far, and identify what more we can do to improve our lots.

A happy constitutional day. God bless our homeland Ghana!

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