Government to review the 1992 Constitution

Vice President John MahamaThe Government on Tuesday renewed its commitment to review portions of the 17-year old Fourth Republican Constitution to ensure that its spirit and tenets conform to new democratic developments.

“The NDC government re-commits itself to the fundamental principles of the Constitution and in particular, re-dedicates itself to promoting an agenda of good governance by reforming critical aspects of the our governance systems,” Vice President John Dramani Mahama said in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Hannah Tetteh at the opening ceremony of the 9th Annual Constitution Week celebration.

The Constitution Week organized by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) is on the general theme: “Beyond Elections: Citizens’ Participation and Government Accountability.”

It seeks to focus on the Right to Information Bill, Election as an Essential Element of a Democratic Society, and the Challenges of Building a Culture of Effective Citizens’ Participation in the Contemporary Democratic Dispensation.

Mr Mahama said the government was committed at strengthening constitutional democracy through provision of resource for governance institutions including the NCCE to ensure that they played their active and respective roles in governance.

He said corruption thrived in a system that is not transparent or accountable and is unresponsive to the needs and concerns of citizens.

“In Ghana, corruption has become so pervasive that it is affecting every fabric of our public life and rendering poor people poorer…as a government committed to social democracy, the government will seek partnership with citizens to eradicate corruption by deepening political accountability and transparency in public,” he said.

He said constitutional democracy was a legacy “we must cherish and protect and commended the NCCE for its role in promoting civic awareness”.

Mr Laary Bimi, NCCE Chairman, expressed concern about the attitude of the electorate after elections stressing that it was dangerous for the growth of constitutional democracy.

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on Friday started national activities aimed at educating citizens on the principles of social auditing as a means for poverty reduction.

Speaking on the essence of the Constitution week, Mr Bimi said the week was dedicated to widening the scope of constitutional democracy, attitude of electorate after elections and to pave the way for citizens’ participation in the tenets of democracy.

The NCCE Chairman explained that the essence of citizens’ participation in local governance was to overcome challenges of poverty, enhance democratic governance and create public awareness.

Mr Bimi said citizens’ participation in governance was crucial to reduce corruption and build social values for development.

He said for the country to attain its development objectives, citizens must monitor and hold accountable those entrusted with power and responsibility to man the country and ensure that they performed their task.

Mr Bimi said the country’s governance paradigm had the people and the district assemblies at its base and they must be responsible for their own governance and be fully engaged in the development process.

The NCCE Chairman said: “Apathy is an enemy of good governance in towns and villages. Our attempt to raise grassroots activism will make even the most apathetic village or community to wake up and exercise its constitutional rights and responsibilities.”

Mr Bimi explained that national effort at poverty reduction depended on a governance paradigm that would make government accessible, responsive and accountable at the local level.

Mr Bimi said the NCCE would also encourage, the youth, chiefs and other opinion leaders to develop the character and courage to act as watchdog of government.

Wulugunba, Naa Professor J. S. Nabila, President of the National House of Chief and a Member of the Council of State, chaired the session which was attended by security personnel, school children, media practitioners and cross-section of the public.

Source: GNA