National Constitution Week begins
The celebration, which includes national, regional and district activities, would focus on making Ghanaians accept that their individual actions were requisite to making Ghana a better place.
Mr. Samuel Asare Akuamoah, a Deputy Chairman of the NCCE, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that the celebration was to rekindle the tenets of the 1992 Constitution in Ghanaians, with emphasis on the ‘acceptance of personal responsibility’ and ‘personal ownership of Ghana’.
He said the NCCE sought to use the celebration as a platform to ensure that the Constitution became ‘a living document embossed on the minds and hearts of the people for the attainment of democracy and good governance in Ghana.’
In 2001, the tradition of dedicating a period to draw general attention to the Constitution started with April 28 to May 4, having been slated.
The aims of the celebration are to emphasise that the Constitution is the basis for Ghana’s great heritage and the foundation for the way of life; citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution; preserving it for posterity; and encouraging the study of the Constitution.
Mr Akuamoah said: “Ghanaians need to develop the culture of democracy, the courage to resist violation of their human rights and the tenacity to resist dictatorship of all forms and, more particularly, and fundamentally any overthrow or attempted overthrow of government”.
He stated that the Constitution stood as a testament to the tenacity of Ghanaians throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedom, and to ensure those inalienable rights to every citizen.
The NCCE Deputy Chairman stated, “As the country goes into the general elections, Ghanaians need to uphold the spirit of tolerance, national unity, peace, cohesion, and patriotism as guiding values for national development.
“It is important that we tolerate one another, and uphold peace. We urge the youth to eschew violence before, during, and after the upcoming elections.
“The Commission reminds Ghanaians that the 1992 Constitution, Article 35(6a) urges us to “foster a spirit of loyalty to Ghana that overrides sectional, ethnic and other loyalties”.
Mr Akuamoah said the NCCE had always maintained that civic education was a shared responsibility, accordingly, the Commission was urging all stakeholders – the religious leaders, traditional authorities, Political Parties, Professional Associations, Civil Society Organisations, the Media, Youth groups and Women Associations – to use their platforms to preach and discuss peace, national unity, and tolerance among the people.
“As Ghanaians, we should know that the consequences of political and religious intolerance are dire,” he said.
“Conflicts bring untold hardships, violence, displacement of citizens and wanton destruction of lives and property to the people.
“The NCCE, therefore, entreats all Ghanaians to act peacefully and guard against the occurrence of violence of any form and shape so as to avoid the sort of untold hardships”.
Mrs Joyce Afutu, the NCCE’s Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs, explained to the GNA that since the return to constitutional rule in 1992, Ghana had made significant strides toward the enjoyment of uninterrupted democratic governance.
“As we commemorate this year’s Constitution Week, let us reflect on how far we have come in our democratic journey, assess our challenges and live up to our rights and responsibilities as citizens of Ghana; and strengthen our resolve to protect our national stability, peace, unity and cohesion,” she said.
“Even though Ghana is touted as an oasis for peace and the beacon of African democracy, there have been some reported cases of intolerance within sections of the Ghanaian society,” she noted.
Mrs Afutu noted that latent conflicts existed among pockets of communities, and sometimes along religious and ethnic lines.
She said the recent interception of ammunitions by the security agencies, coupled with some disturbances on our political landscape called for a deeper reflection on the need for a concerted effort to address the situation, especially in an election year.
She said the Commission was concerned about the politicisation of every national issue, saying the situation was unhealthy in an election year.
Some manifestations of intolerance on the political, religious, and ethnic cases include the use of intemperate language by politicians and individuals both in the print and on the electronic media, mob justice, abuse of individual rights, chieftaincy disputes, among others.
In recent times, there have been spots of violent clashes along ethnic, religious, and political lines among some sections of the country’s populace, which pose a threat to the growth and consolidation of our democracy.