Growing calls for constitutional review shouldn’t be brushed off – Prof Nkansah
Professor Lydia Nkansah, former Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), reiterated the need for government to heed to calls to amend the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
According to her, after three decades of the usefulness of the fourth Republican Constitution, its review had become imperative to reflect the times, considering the enormous dynamics of geopolitics aided by the advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Political calculations and posturing had prevented a forward march with the constitution review exercise, she said, and noted that, “deep down in our hearts each of us know that our constitution needs amendments, even if the degree to which it should be amended is contested.”
Prof Nkansah made the call at the 9th “Jurists Confab” of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Faculty of Law, on the theme “Consolidating Democracy, the Rule of Law, and Respect for the Ballot in an Era of Good Governance.”
To her, even though many operational aspects of the constitution contained enough reasons to warrant a review, there had not been enough commitments by governments to trigger the amendment process.
The constitution could not set out every conceivable circumstance, hence, it required certain significant reforms that can only be accomplished by resorting to amendment procedures as stated by law.
Outlining some grey areas for review, Prof Nkansah mentioned the winner-takes-all system, reluctance of government to support state institutions to deliver on their mandate, suffocation of Parliament by Executive dominance; constriction of spaces for real participatory citizenship and civic engagement; and political, bureaucratic, and administrative responsiveness.
On calls to overhaul the constitution, she advised that there was no one-size-fits-all democratic governance structure in the world over and charged all to religiously read the constitution to exercise their rights and freedoms.
“We should not underrate the thinking that informed our constitutional structure which has kept us together as one nation without little intervention for 30 years so far,” she advised.
For her part, Prof Rosemond Boohene, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of UCC asked Ghanaians to reflect on the country’s democratic pattern and choose the right type of democratic governance structure that was in tune with the people.
She said the university is ready to offer inter-disciplinary programmes aimed at equipping its graduates with creative abilities for the job market and critical thinking to make its graduates fully suited to adapt to any modern social environment they may find themselves in.