Host of Abranaa So on TV XYZ, Okatakyie Afrifa-Mensah, has reminded President Nana Akufo-Addo of his promise in 2008 to review the constitution when voted to power.
At an IEA debate in Tamale, Candidate Akufo-Addo who was leading the NPP into the elections 2008 promised to set up a commission to seek the people’s views on reviewing the constitution after it had been used for 16 years.
His main contender, the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, did not promise to set up a commission to review the constitution during the debate, however, he set up the commission after he won the polls.
Mills issued a white paper after the commission report was handed to him, but almost 9 years after the report was received, no president has implemented the recommendations of the report.
On the maiden edition of ‘Abranaa So’ Saturday, Afrifa, who expressed disappointment in Akufo-Addo, indicated that the president seemed to be power-drunk.
“Mills who did not even promise to set up a commission to review the constitution did so but you, President Akufo-Addo, who promised that has failed to implement it, ” Afrifa asserted.
To him, the constitution gives too much power to the Executive and Akufo-Addo seems to be enjoying it knowing the recommendations from the commission was to somehow reduce it.
“Most of the solutions to our problems, I mean about 80% of the solutions to our challenges are in the report but our leaders are selfish so they don’t want to implement it,” Okatakyie argued.
Calls By Clergy
Last year, Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Christian Advocacy Africa, entreated President Akufo-Addo to implement the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) Report.
According to him, some of the suggestions in the report included scrapping the winner-takes-all system as currently being practised in Ghana’s democratic dispensation.
Rev. Dr Opuni-Frimpong opined that the political violence witnessed in the country every election year was being fanned by the winner-takes-all concept provided for under the Constitution.
“As a result, when you lose an election in Ghana, it is very humiliating. Losing elections means that you have lost everything, and that is why people fight hard for power,” he said in an interview with Daily Graphic.
He added that under the Constitution, the power to appoint was also vested in the President.
“The person who can take us out of this situation of political violence and hooliganism is a sitting President who will say that ‘even though this winner-takes-all practice favours me constitutionally, I will review this aspect of the Constitution’,” he added.
“For now, it works well for him [Akufo-Addo], but we must be legacy-minded. It is not like ‘something works for me and so long as it works for me, praise God’,” he said.
“We must always think about the future,” he advised.
By Daily Graphic
President John Evans Atta Mills, on January 11, 2010, acting in accordance with Article 278 (1) of the Constitution, which confers on the President powers to appoint a Commission of Enquiry into matters of public interest, inaugurated the CRC to review the 1992 Constitution with the Constitution Review Commission of Enquiry Instrument 2010 (C.I. 64).
The CRC was tasked to collate the views of Ghanaians on which provisions of the 1992 Constitution required amendment.
Work of the CRC
In executing its mandate, the CRC travelled all over the country to hold consultative fora with Ghanaians of all walks of life. It also received numerous memoranda on what provisions of the Constitution needed to be amended and even on how the CRC should conduct its affairs.
In addition, it also engaged the services of experts to review the Constitution and make recommendations for reforms.
Presentation of report
The CRC worked for two years, and after analysing all the submissions, as well as receiving expert opinions from both local and international consultants, it completed and presented its report to the Government on December 20, 2011.
After receipt of the report, as per Article 280 (3) of the Constitution, the Government, on June 15, 2012, gazetted a White Paper stating its positions on the recommendations made by the commission.
Subsequent to the issuance of the White Paper, the Government set up the Constitution Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) on October 2, 2012 to study further and engage with citizens and then implement the recommendations approved in the White Paper.
But while the work of the CRIC was ongoing, the CRC was slapped with a lawsuit which consequently stalled the work of the CRIC.
A US-based Ghanaian, Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare, in July 2014, instituted a lawsuit at the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the CRC.
However, on October 14, 2015, in a majority five-two decision by a seven-member panel presided over by the then Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, the Supreme Court affirmed the legality and constitutionality of both the CRC and the CRIC and dismissed the case.
Since the Supreme Court ruling, there have been calls for the CRIC and the CRC to complete their mandates and thereby complete the constitutional review process as soon as possible.
However, very little has been done since.