Chairman of the Economic Development Committee of National Interest Movement says the 1992 constitution in its current state has not aided the development of the country as it has created an authoritarian president among its many flaws.

Dr Charles Abugre said the view of the Movement on calls for a review is because the constitution is one of the reasons the country is deteriorating.

Speaking on PM Express on Monday, Dr Abugare told Evans Mensah that the teeming youth in the country are those bearing the brunt of the failed constitution that has only passed authoritative leadership from one president to another.

“The Commission has put forward a number of modest reforms. We have actually walked backwards in many respects. The country is deteriorating as a result in many ways and what the National Interest Movement is saying is let’s take a pause and get back to a serious conversation about the changes that need to happen to put our constitution aspiration for a republic that creates opportunities for all and creates an economy that is competitive in the world.

“With inequalities rising, unemployment growing, with an economy that is basically now relying on a very hard, let me use a hard word, that the constitution has basically created an authoritarian presidency. That then decides to share whatever comes on the table to a teeming youth and exacerbating this duopoly. So this authoritarian president is succeeded by another authoritarian president because the constitution creates authoritarian Presidents,” he said.

His comments come in response to calls for a review of the constitution after many years since the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) set up in 2010 as a Commission of Inquiry to conduct a consultative review of the operation of the 1992 Constitution submitted its report.

After about ten years, the recommendations have not been implemented by the erstwhile John Mahama government and the incumbent administration.

Also speaking to the matter on the show, legal private practitioner, Martin Kpebu shared similar views to Dr Charles Abugre stating that “the biggest problem with our constitution is the over-concentration of power in the hands of the President.”

Following calls for the review, President Akufo-Addo advised that the country needs to be cautious in its quest to review the 1992 Constitution.

“To change the constitutional arrangement that has assisted its durability, we should be very careful of how we go about it. I feel very strongly on that point, and that is why I have not leant my support to the idea of this wholesale review in the constitution,” he said.

But Mr Kpebu noted that any form of resistance to hinder a review of the constitution would not hold.

“They cannot resist it for long. Their days are numbered. You see our society has changed so it doesn’t matter, it is not going to be on partisan lines. People can feel it. If you talk to people, the hardship they are feeling, they all say that it is possible we can have a better society if we can share this power,” he said.

He added that “very soon, the President will have to listen.”

Review of the 1992 constitution

The Constitution Review Commission, chaired by Professor Albert Kodzo Fiadjoe in its report in 2011, recommended that the practice of combining the offices of Minister of Justice and Attorney-General may be continued at the discretion of the President.

In a white paper, the government accepted the recommendation adding that it does not require a constitutional amendment.

The CRC also recommended that the President be made to have a free hand to appoint ministers from within or without Parliament. This and related recommendation that a person appointed a Minister from Parliament
may retain his seat in Parliament was also accepted by Government.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister and Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu during his vetting by the Appointments Committee this year told the panel that the 1992 Constitution needs to undergo scrutiny to address some shortcomings in it.

“I believe there should be a holistic review of the constitution. We are in Parliament, we have applied the constitution and indeed we apply it on daily basis and we know the weaknesses that confronted us in many areas including the process of amending the constitution especially the entrenched ones which seek to relegate the Parliament to the backyard,” he said.

He advised that a national discussion that scrutinizes some critical issues in the 1992 constitution will be the way forward for Ghana.

Aside from him, University of Professional Studies (UPSA), Kofi Abotsi, Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD), Henry Kwasi Prempeh have also pushed for such agenda.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM on Monday, August 30, Professor Abotsi mentioned that both the two major parties – National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party have both agreed the constitution is problematic, therefore the need for a review.

But that has not been the case he said.

“Both parties promised that whoever won the [2008] election would kick start the process for the review of the Constitution. But clearly, that didn’t happen.” 

Currently, the National Interest Movement is calling for the amendment of Articles 86, 87, 178, 179, 180 among others.



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