Ghana to set up committee to review country’s constitution
A constitutional review committee to collate views on possible amendments of some provisions in the 1992 Constitution, identified as hindrances to accountable and good governance is to be established before the end of the year, Vice President John Mahama has announced.
Interacting with a delegation of the African Peer Review Mechanism and the ECOWAS Commission at the Castle, Osu, in Accra, Vice President Mahama, said the committee’s work will serve as basis for an all embracing inter-party and stakeholder conference to deliberate on the issues.
He said the proposed committee was being tasked to gather views on some grey areas of the constitution.
The Vice President mentioned the fusion between the executive and legislative arms of government, as well as decoupling the Attorney-General’s office from the Ministry of Justice to reduce involvement of the executive in prosecutorial matters.
Mr. Mahama said while the government, in responding to recommendations made by the APRM as part of its peer review report has discontinued the practice of appointing the Majority Leader in Parliament as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, there were other issues that required wider public consultation and acceptance.
Mr. Mahama said one of the issues to be deliberated on is the proposal to set a limit on the number of people that could be appointed to the Supreme Court, an observation which the APRM also made in its report.
He said another issue of concern was the fusion between the Executive and Legislature arms of the government such as appointing majority of ministers of state and their deputies from among members of Parliament, as the possibility existed that a strong executive might use the arrangement to weaken the legislature.
The Vice President said the proposed committee’s work shall allow for the convening of inter-party cum stakeholder constitutional review conference to further brainstorm on the issues and reach a national consensus before a referendum will be organized to amend the entrenched provisions that will require alterations.
Mr. Mahama said President John Evans Atta Mills was committed to the promotion of accountable and responsible governance, assuring that there would be “no turning back” on that pledge.
Colonel Mahamane Toure, the Commissioner in charge of Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the ECOWAS Commission, commended President Mills for his continued commitment to transparency and participatory decision making, and called for Ghana’s assistance in replicating these ideas in sister West African countries.
He said the meeting of the ECOWAS member countries in Ghana on the APRM process was to dilate on issues that might help deepen democratic culture in the West African sub-region.
Among the issues being deliberated included the need to domesticate the APRM at the community level, ensuring civil participation in the process and integrating the framework within the overall national development strategy of member countries.
The Reverend Professor S.K, Adjepong, Chairman of the National APRM Governing Council, said the process should be seen as a catalyst in deepening democratic culture in Africa.