BY ANIN AGYEI-
NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS, Accra, Ghana- A CROSS-SECTION of Ghanaians have called on the government to implement the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC).
They say it is quite unfortunate that eight years after the CRC submitted its report to the President of Ghana on the need to make some amendments to portions of the 1992 constitution, the government has failed to fully implement the road map.
This development, according to many Ghanaians who expressed their views in separate interview, is becoming a waste of the taxpayer’s money, resources and time by these experts appointed by President John Evans Atta Mills to sample views on the need for the review.
While a cross-session of Ghanaians believe that the work of the CRC was to enhance the peaceful democracy the country has been enjoying since 1993 and promote more participation on various platforms, others think failure on the part of the government to implement the CRC recommendations means it is less important on the government’s agenda.
According to the Commission, even though the 1992 Constitution is a resilient foundation for good governance in Ghana, there are many areas of the Constitution that need to be changed for the better.
CRC recommended among many things that there should a conceptual distinction between security and intelligence, with resulting operational implications. The recommendations on human rights reinforce the current constitutional provisions and seek to expand them.
The Commission also advocated the reduction in the maximum time a person may be detained before being brought to court from 48 hours to 24 hours and formally abolish the death penalty. Ghana is a de facto abolitionist country and this recommendation seeks to substitute the death penalty for life imprisonment without parole, a stiffer penalty for capital crimes than it is currently the case in practice.
Commission calls for the recognition of economic, social and cultural rights as fully-fledged rights; and provide for the passage of an Affirmative Action Act that, in part, ensures that there is at least 30% representation of each gender in all public offices. Other recommendations on human rights include clarifying and expanding the right to citizenship of categories of Ghanaians and expanding the rights of children, persons with disability (PWDs) and the aged.
It also made recommendations for the retention of the indemnity provisions; hence the creation of a National Commission on Culture by the Constitution in order to ensure that Ghana’s development is based on a sound understanding of our culture; and for the preamble to the Constitution to be reviewed to reflect the cultural legacy and values of the Ghanaian society.
The question many Ghanaians are asking the current authority is whether they subscribe to the work of CRC; how important the work of the CRC is to the authority, what happens to white paper after it has been issued and when the authority are going to commit to the implementation of the recommendations.
These important questions been asked by some Ghanaians are prelude to whatever the authority would wish to do because the New Patriotic Party government is engaging in selective cherry of some of the recommendations instead of committing to the full implementation of the Commission’s work.
One of the recommendations that society is looking forward to seeing its implementation is the abolishment of the death penalty whose continued existence in the laws of Ghana is described as unconstitutional by some civil society groups who say this deducts something from the country’s status as the bacon of democracy, rule of law and human rights.
A number of Ghanaians, in separate interviews, called on the government not to ignore or subvert the will of the good people of Ghana by selectively implementing some of the recommendations and rather ensure to have the constitution amended holistically in accordance with the people’s aspirations expressed through the work of the CRC.
It is high time the government made an official declaration of its position on the work of the CRC and the implementation of its recommendations.
BY ANIN AGYEI, NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS, AFRICA CORRESPONDENT