The Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA), a non-governmental organization, has commended successive governments for protecting and defending the country’s 1992 Constitution but called for a review of the Constitution to address emerging challenges.
The GDCA said “there are national debates on matters such as excessive powers of the executive, winner-takes-all politics, remuneration for Article 71 office holders amongst others,” which need to be addressed through the review of the Constitution.
This was contained in a statement issued in Tamale on Friday by the GDCA signed by Mr Phillip Gmabi, Technical Advisor on Policy and Governance for Empowerment for Life Programme of GDCA, and copied to the Ghana News Agency to mark this year’s International Day of Democracy.
The International Day of Democracy is celebrated across the world to highlight the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Universal Declaration on Democracy as an international standard to guide governments, parliaments and citizens through the many challenges of democratic governments around the world.
The statement said “fortunately, the Constitutional Review Committee has considered a number of articles of our Constitution, which must be reviewed suggesting that the recommendations of the Committee must be implemented.
It highlighted the critical roles played by the arms of government including the media saying “a day like this should serve as a reflection on major weaknesses of these institutions, and demand urgent actions for enhanced performance.”
The statement said “We observed threats to our democracy when judicial corruption was exposed but got consoled when established systems were used to address it. Similarly, Parliament has been hit with a number of corruption allegations with many citizens expressing dissatisfaction with the handling of such cases.”
It urged the public to get emboldened and become active participants of the democratic growing process of the country saying “disempowered citizens and their groups weaken the basic principle of democracy and must be avoided.”
The statement said “On the occasion of International Day of Democracy, GDCA challenges all citizens to show interest and understanding of the basic tenets of democracy as it will make them active citizens and true owners of our growing but fledgling democracy.”
It said “It is observed with great concern the limited participation of most social groups in the country’s governance processes in both local and national levels and therefore the request for redirection of efforts to mitigate it.”
The statement said “Majority of citizens limit democracy to election of leaders at local and national levels. If this is understood as democracy, then citizens could best be described as kingmakers with lack of capacity to question activities of kings they make.”
It called on the government to reflect on the importance of this day and improve commitment to true decentralization and devolution of powers saying “The decentralization of Ghana with crumbling down of major procurement services and the limited number of town hall meetings supposed to be organized by district assemblies to deepen democratic principles are worrying.”
It said “Sub-district structures are non-existent or exist in limited numbers recommending “The government must act with urgency and empower district assemblies instead of using new policies to weaken them.”
The statement said there is the need for “government to work towards building consensus especially if the 2018 proposed referenda are to be realized to enable a less politicized review and a by-partisan implementation of the processes.”