Thank you, JoyFm/Multimedia Group for the opportunity given me, once again, to appear on the Joy Speaker series and once again touch on this subject of the need for a constitutional review which is gradually gaining traction and relevance in our governance and democracy. 

Thank you for acknowledging that this message that my party, the Progressive People’s Party has harped on in the 10 years of its existence, the message of the need for a constitutional amendment, has started to hit home and resound with many of us Ghanaians. 

I would like to mention that my delivery this morning, is a collaborative effort of many members of the Progressive people’s party over the years – their ideals with which I identified and therefore chose to join as Vice Presidential Candidate. Indeed, portions of this delivery have been presented at a recent IEA program. 

It is worth mentioning that no other political party in Ghana has remained so committed, consistent and vocal on the subject matter of Constitutional Review in Ghana as has the PPP. We made many representations to the Constitutional Review Commission, Constitutional Review Implementation Committee, the Presidency, the Parliament and the Council of State on these matters. It would seem successive elected governments have demonstrated a clear and present lack of political will to make the necessary changes to our 1992 Constitution. As someone from one of the major parties said to me, “no one wants to preside over their own demise”.  This, it would seem, is how the two parties think of the possible outcome of a constitutional review. 


The purpose of our 1992 Constitution can be gleaned from its preamble. The preamble states as follows:

“In the exercise of our natural and inalienable right to establish a framework of government which  shall secure for ourselves and posterity the blessing of liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity; In the spirit of friendship and peace with all peoples of the world: and in the solemn declaration and affirmation of our commitment to Freedom, Justice, Probity and Accountability; The principle that all powers of Government spring from the sovereign Will of the people; The Principle of Universal Adult Suffrage; The Rule of Law; The protection and preservation of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, Unity and Stability for our Nation, do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution”

Clearly, the essential elements which also constitute our aspirations from the preamble include the blessings of liberty, equal opportunity, prosperity for the people, freedom & justice, probity & accountability, universal adult suffrage and the stability of our great nation.

It is evident that after three solid decades of operating this document, several of the aspirations have eluded the good people of Ghana.  


Our country is yet to derive the dividends of democratic governance. The conduct of peaceful elections and the successive transfer of power have been used as an indicator of the success of our democracy without evaluating the actual improvement in the lives of the people in the area of education for every citizen, access to basic social amenities such as water, electricity, affordable housing, infrastructural development, decent housing, jobs for the youth, political accountability, reduction in corruption and economic stability.

What we have to show for 30 years of democratic governance is massive levels of youth unemployment, excessive powers of the Executive arm of government, a grossly compromised parliament, abuse of power, unbridled corruption, waste of Ghana’s resources, nepotism, mediocrity, mismanagement of the economy and the constant failure of leadership. In fact, the current constitution in our view has created a situation where the winning political parties have treated the republic as a colony to be conquered and its resources are taken for the welfare of a few privileged members of the party in power; making the subject of the citizenry and depriving most Ghanaians the dividends of a well-constituted democratic state.

The stability of the country is threatened by sheer greed, elite capture and an intensely exclusionary political system where citizenship is no longer enough requirement to have access to state resources and to partake in the sharing of the national cake. A citizen must necessarily require membership of the party in power to benefit from the welfare state.

This winner-takes-all 1992 Constitution cannot sustain our democracy beyond the near future and, therefore, an urgent need to implement the following fundamental constitutional amendments. 


Let me focus on five fundamental changes that need immediate attention to guarantee some modicum of progress if Ghana is to gain or get any dividends in our last democratic experiment. For the PPP, choosing these 5 areas means we are not necessarily for a complete review of the 1000-page document, albeit we agree that there may be other areas that need amendment. We believe these five are critical to start a progressive development trajectory at all levels of our governance. These include:

  1. Returning power to the people for all Ghanaians to directly elect their district, municipal and metropolitan chief executives without any interference from the President and cancelling government appointees into the District Assemblies;
  2. Prohibit Members of Parliament from being appointed as Ministers of State or MPs must resign from parliament when they are appointed as Ministers;
  3. Strengthen the office of Attorney-General by separating it from the Ministry of Justice;
  4. Introduce a Public Declaration of Assets Regime; and
  5. Clarify the eligibility of Ghanaians in the Diaspora to hold Public Office

MMDCEs [Amend Articles 242(d) and Articles 243(1) & 243(3)]

It will be superfluous to recount the benefits of electing directly and by Universal Adult Suffrage all our Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) as well as all the Members of the District Assemblies. We would like to emphasize that the concept of government appointees should also be completely abolished. This matter has been flogged over the years with elected governments demonstrating a lack of political will to empower the districts to elect their Chief Executive Officers who are the true agents of development. The Members of Parliament (MPs) whose job is to pass legislation have arrogated to themselves the role of development agents with no constitutionally allocated resources.

The result is that MPs resort to all kinds of unorthodox ways and policy violations to attempt to bring some crumbs of development to the people – building bridges (culverts, really) and toilets and holding grand commissioning events for the optics. The office of the Chief Executive has, instead, become a trophy to be won and hijacked by elected political parties to reward party members who could neither become MPs nor Ministers of State.

Interestingly, while the MMDCE elections are supposedly not partisan, we have seen General Secretaries of ruling political parties travelling around the country to conduct a so-called vetting of applicants mostly, party foot soldiers, who have applied to become MMDCEs. The political party has become a substitute for the established Public Services Commission for the vetting and appointment of candidates to occupy public office. This is happening because we have a winner takes all Executive which must ensure that all MMCDEs are party members who “deserve” the position as a reward.

This devolution of power and the election of District Chief Executives remains a democratic deficit and a major impediment in the development of the various smaller units that constitute Ghana. Elected officials will demand their resources allocated by the Constitution through the District Assembly Common Fund without fear or favour and will receive them promptly for local development. Currently, the Centre (Government) solely determines whether the assemblies need machetes or Wellington boots, for example, choose to use part of their allocated budget to procure these items to be sent to the District. More often than not these items are useless to the Assemblies, who cannot complain for fear of removal. The appointed authority has effectively denied them funds the district’s actual needs. 

A DCE can demand and possibly sue the central government to demand full payment of their allocated funds when the DCE is accountable to his electorates and knows he will be voted out if he doesn’t act. Election of MMDCEs will ensure local accountability, elimination of corruption and rapid development.  If citizens can elect the president and members of parliament, they should be credited with the wisdom to decide who governs them at the local government level.

Indeed, a couple of years ago, there was a supposed attempt to get this done; however, it would seem there was no real political will, or else the necessary amendments would have happened without the national drama we witnessed which led to the suspension of the well-publicized referendum. It was suspended, apparently, because there was no consensus, according to an official statement. But how else could we have measured whether there was consensus or not without allowing the people to vote on that question? Whose consensus was sought?

In our view, the question of whether MMDCEs should be elected on a partisan basis which triggered the referendum was not necessary at all. We can elect our Chief Executives tomorrow if Parliament decides that it is making the necessary amendments without going for a referendum today. All that we need to do now is for parliament to amend articles 242(d) which deals with the appointment of one-third of Assembly Members and Articles 243(1) and 243(3) which deal with the appointment (and disappointment) of the Chief Executive. Mr Chairman, these are non-entrenched provisions in the constitution. Both NDC and NPP are very much aware. But both parties stand to benefit from appointing MMDCEs, to the detriment of the people, they chose to go through a referendum to deny Ghanaians their rights. “No one wants to preside over their own demise”, indeed. 

The question of the partisan election arises under Article 55(3). This article does not in any way deal with whether an MMDCE can be elected or appointed. It only prohibits political parties from participating in district-level elections.

It is our respected view that we can start electing MMDCES now and allow the process to run for some time, then we can look at whether political parties should be allowed to participate or not in the future. Water finds its level – the people and the results will begin to show after two successive elections.


The need for strict separation of powers cannot be overemphasized, since the current arrangement where the 1992 Constitution by design bequeathed Parliament to the Executive has hampered Parliament’s ability to exact accountability from the Executive on behalf of the people. Article 78(1) mandates the President to appoint a majority of his ministers from parliament. This means that more than half of all ministers and deputy ministers must be Members of Parliament. Every Member of Parliament in the ruling party, therefore, hopes to make the President’s “honour roll” for a ministerial appointment; checking the government against malfeasance cannot be their priority.  Besides ministerial appointments, some Members of Parliament are also appointed as Board Chairs and Members of the Board of Directors of state-owned enterprises, corporations and other institutions thereby compromising the supervisory role of parliament. This has resulted in a compromised parliament which is obviously ineffective in scrutinizing the activities of the Executive to guarantee the judicious application of the nation’s resources – one of many reasons why the fight against corruption has been very difficult for Ghana.

This phenomenon of appointing ministers from within parliament, invariably, denies parliament of very useful human resources and the role for which the MP himself run for office.   Given the option to choose his ministers from beyond Parliament, the President will have the opportunity to choose from the rich Ghanaian brains and expertise to work with, whilst the elected legislature do their work of scrutinizing the Executive.

According to Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye the immediate past speaker of Parliament, “the power of the executive is so much so that it determines the seating arrangement in Parliament.” How can this be? The separation of powers will take the hands of the Executive from parliament completely.

It is our position that if a Member of Parliament is appointed as a Minister or accepts any other appointment by the President, then he/she must resign his seat before taking up the appointment. People seeking to become public officers must choose to either become part of the Legislature or the Executive, to avoid conflict of interest.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL [Amend Article 88]

Article 88 of the Constitution should be amended to separate the Attorney-General from the Minister of Justice or more specifically, the Attorney-General must not be a Minister of State nor a member of the government. We believe that making the Attorney-General a Minister of State compromises his or her ability to fight and prosecute political corruption. The failure of the Special Prosecutor’s Office and its lack of independence is clear to all of us now. What we need to fight political corruption effectively is the immediate establishment of the Independent Public Prosecutor’s Office, separate from the Minister of Justice. This is the only way, to realistically fight corruption. We are calling for a truly independent Attorney General (i.e., the Independent Public Prosecutor) whose budget will be sanctioned by Parliament without any ministerial interference.

It is evident from our past experience that, it will be fruitless to leave the fight against corruption in the hands of an elected government and its appointees. For this reason, we propose that the Independent Public Prosecutor (IPP) should be elected directly by the people to check the government against political corruption. The people’s prosecutor will be elected on a different electoral cycle, preferably during the mid-term of an elected government. The Independent Public Prosecutor (IPP) will be given all the vast prosecutorial powers with guaranteed tenure of office, independence, and adequate funding directly from parliament to go after corrupt government officials. The government’s own lawyer will be the Minister of Justice under this proposal. Can we imagine if someone like Martin Amidu got elected and had direct funding from parliament to do his work without any ministerial interference.

PUBLIC DECLARATION OF ASSETS [Amend Article 286(1) & 286(3)]

Another tool in the fight against corruption is an effective Assets Declaration regime. The current process where the Assets Declaration forms and its contents are concealed is laughable and ironic. How do you declare and hide something at the same time? It is in this regard that we agree with the recommendation of the Constitution Review Commission for a new Assets Declaration regime where the completed forms by all public officials are published and can be accessed by any interested citizen for the purpose of verification.

The Constitution Review Commission also recommended criminal prosecution for false declaration, a duty the proposed Independent Public Prosecutor (IPP) should take on board. We need to confront political corruption head-on if we want to safeguard this last attempt at constitutional democracy. Public declaration of assets should be the minimum threshold for any aspiring public office holder to meet as a condition to holding in trust the massive public assets and resources of the republic. If you cannot declare your relatively “small” assets to the citizens, then you have no right to take charge of huge public assets.

GHANAIANS IN THE DIASPORA [Amend Article 94(2)(a) for clarity]

We hold the view that Ghanaian citizens are Ghanaian citizens whether they hold dual nationality or not. In fact, their citizenship of Ghana cannot be lessened by virtue of their dual nationality. Dual nationality is secondary to citizenship.

An amendment to the Constitution must be introduced to clarify and allow Ghanaians living in the Diaspora to be fully eligible to participate in our democratic process. This will ensure full citizenship rights to Ghanaians living abroad so that they can vote and serve in public sector positions. There is no justification whatsoever to deny our kith and kin such rights when they pour into our economy huge sums of foreign exchange by way of remittances to family and friends.

We should also be reminded that on many occasions we have sought and continue to seek the expertise and skills of Ghanaians in the diaspora in the area of sports, medicine, engineering, finance, academia, international relations, economic development and other wide range of consultancy services in different areas of our national life. We must restore full citizenship rights to our brothers and sister in the diaspora and clarify provisions on their qualification to become Members of Parliament and to hold other public offices.


The amendments will each require referenda except for voting for our own DCEs which can be done immediately.  This should not be difficult if the political will is there to do right by the people of Ghana and to ensure true democratic governance.

The PPP declared, December 7th in 2021 as the #FixTheConsitution Day. These amendments can be implemented with the interest and in collaboration with civil society organizations and other democratic institutions. We also invite the media, such as JOY, as an enlightened group of organized citizens, to dedicate December 7th as a Constitutional Reform Day for an in-depth discussion on constitutional amendments and demand reforms on behalf of the people of Ghana. If we have time to debate trivia, why not issues of more importance like our governance and democracy?

The massive amount of money invested in the Constitutional Review exercise must not be allowed to go to waste. It shall remain a scar on the conscience of right-thinking Ghanaians if these fundamental changes and many other brilliant recommendations contained in the CRC’s report continue to gather dust. We owe it to ourselves and the next generation to secure and safeguard our democracy and that can only be achieved through these amendments.

We remain Awake until these amendments are brought to fruition.

Thank you once again for the opportunity.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.