Professor, Stephen Kwaku Asare and Professor Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwah
A United States-based law professor, Stephen Kwaku Asare, is challenging the legality of the Constitution Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) which is leading efforts to amend certain aspects of the 1992 Constitution.
The committee, chaired by Professor Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwah, is currently embarking on an initiative to solicit views of the public on how to go about the review exercise.
Reacting to a forum purportedly organized by CRIC and addressed by Prof. Dankwah in Kumasi recently, the US-based professor said the committee has no power to embark on the initiative.
‘I wish to bring it to the attention of the general public that Professor Dankwah and his so-called Constitution Review Implementation Committee have no power under the laws of Ghana to schedule a referendum and/or to amend the Constitution of Ghana.’
Explaining why the committee is illegal, he said ‘It is common knowledge that the Constitution can only be amended by its terms. It is also well known that Parliament is the sole body that can initiate, consider and propose amendments to the Constitution.’
He argued, ‘Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution is not only plenary and exclusive, but also cannot be delegated to or usurped by the President, the so-called Constitution Reform Commission or the Constitution Review Implementation Committee.’
Prof. Asare said further that ‘It is trite knowledge that the President’s role in constitutional amendment is limited to the ministerial task of giving assent to bills properly passed by Parliament.’
‘We maintain, as we have from 2010, that the President has no power to set up a commission to initiate amendments or draft amendment bills to the Constitution,’ he pointed out.
According to the law Professor, ‘To the extent that the President has usurped Parliamentary powers and misappropriated Article 278(1) to traverse the amendment architecture emplaced by Chapter 25 of the Constitution, C.I. 64 setting up the Constitution Review Commission, all actions taken by the Commission, the establishment of the Constitution Review and Implementation Committee and all its actions remain unlawful, unconstitutional, impermissible, null, void and of no effect.’
He posited, ‘As Professor Dankwah and his Committee should be aware, the Supreme Court of Ghana has been asked to issue an order directing the President, the Chairman and Members of the Constitution Review Commission, the Chairman and Members of the Constitution Review Implementation Committee, the Attorney General, their deputies, agents, or employees or any other servant or agent of the Republic, to permanently cease and desist from taking any actions that seek to amend or otherwise disturb the Constitution in so far as such actions are inconsistent with Chapter 25 of the Constitution.’
Prof. Asare said since the litigation before the Supreme Court was pending, the President, the Chairman and Members of the Constitution Review Commission, the Chairman and Members of the Constitution Review Implementation Committee, the Attorney General and their assigns were required ‘to cease and desist from taking any actions that seek to amend or otherwise disturb the Constitution, in so far as such actions are inconsistent with chapter 25 of the Constitution.’
He assured, ‘We plan to litigate this matter to its logical conclusion and call on the Chairman of the so-called Constitution Review Implementation Committee to terminate with immediate effect all activities related to altering and amending the Constitution.’
By William Yaw Owusu
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