Dean of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) Ernest Kofi Abotsi, has stated that the 1992 constitution of Ghana has not outlived its usefulness, as some may suggest.
According to him, indeed some aspects of the constitution may have outlived their usefulness and need to be reviewed, but there are key aspects of the constitution that are still very relevant in these times and should be upheld.
Speaking on JoyNews‘ PM Express, when the team visited his office, the private legal practitioner said, “We can’t say it has outlived its usefulness; constitutions are designed by nature to be forever so we can’t get tired of the constitution. But we should be tired of aspects of the constitution that have perennially failed to live up to its usefulness, and that is where the challenge is.”
His comments follow the ongoing banter between the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Electoral Commission (EC) and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the validity of the national birth certificate as an identification document for the voters’ registration exercise.
He stated that though he does not have a problem with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter, their ruling however questions the validity of official documents issued by the state.
“I do not have a problem with their judgement. Overall I’ve mentioned that their judgement is pragmatic, it can be justified on grounds of pragmatism.
“It is the principle aspect and the principle aspect has to do with the issue of identity and what constitutes identity and for me again from the principle stand point it has to do with official documents issued by the state and the extent of validity and strength that one should place on those.
“So it’s a question of principle. But in terms of the overall outcome of the judgement itself, I have not deviated from that,” he stated.
He explained that the ongoing banter only indicates the need for aspects of the constitution to be carefully looked at and reviewed.
He however expressed disappointment at the failure of the two major political parties to address these concerns head-on when in office and instead only make a raucous about these problems when the tables turn.
“Both the NDC and the NPP when in opposition have expressed their desire to correct aspects of the 1992 constitution through amendment when they come into power. But they both say it when they’re in opposition. When they’re in power, they normally don’t say it.
“So what I have seen is this when they are in opposition, they see the problems inherent in the constitution and the manipulative opportunities that are available to government. So in opposition they have a problem, it makes sense. And when they get into government they enjoy the opportunities, the same opportunities that they complained about when in opposition,” he explained, July 24.
He, however, stated that what could have prevented the ongoing banter was a broad-based, nationally oriented constitution review project which would have prompted the government to take the bull by the horn and correct aspects of the 1992 constitution.