Photo: Kisses Galore At Constitutional Conference


    The national constitution review conference started at the Accra International Conference Centre yesterday but the colourful opening ceremony was marred by an abrupt power outage.

    That might have provided the opportunity to the former first couple, Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings, to show endless love as they shared kisses.

    The Rawlingses were in a romantic mood that could have excited the jealousy of Cupid, the Greek goddess of Love. Professor Albert Fiadjoe, Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC), was mid-way into his speech when the whole room was plunged into total darkness at exactly 10:38 am, generating murmurings.

    Security details of President John Evans Atta Mills quickly cordoned off the dais where the President and the Commissioners sat and it took about eight minutes for power to be restored.

    After more than a year of consultations towards a possible review of the 1992 Republican Constitution, the CRC is concluding its activities with the five-day conference to deliberate on issues in the constitution that have come up for review.

    The conference will serve as platform to table over 80,000 submissions received and processed by the commission; make use of experts to assist the conference to arrive at solutions and options for constitutional redesign, relate national experiences and issues with international best practices as well as build consensus around issues tabled for discussion at the conference.

    The opening ceremony was attended by dignitaries including Vice President John Dramani Mahama, former President J.J Rawlings and his wife, the Speaker of Parliament, Mrs. Joyce Bamford Addo, Chief Justice Georgina Wood, Minsiters of State, parliamentarians, religious leaders, diplomats and a lot more.

    However, Prof. Fiadjoe told the gathering that former President J.A. Kufuor and his Vice, Alhaji Aliu Mahama had informed the commission that they were travelling but they would be present for the closing ceremony.

    Opening it, President Mills said the 1992 Constitution had served the country to its ability but as the country’s democracy grew, “there is the need to give weight to the Constitution.”

    He said there was the need to “re-engineer”, “reshape”, “fill the lacuna” to make the constitution “responsive to the exigencies of our time.” President Mills thanked the commission for “the excellent work”, saying they had been non-partisan and were able to devise strategies that ensured wide and broad consultations.

    He commended Ghanaians for participating massively in the exercise and said it had afforded the opportunity to many to speak up, adding “This should lead us to build consensus.”

    The President also thanked development partners including UNDP, the British High Commission and DANIDA for their contribution towards the success of the exercise. In his opening remarks, Prof. Fiadjoe dispelled rumours that their task was to re-write the constitution and also said the commission had not usurped the work of Parliament, saying the 1992 Constitution was resilient.

    He said there was nothing wrong for the executive arm of government to initiate the move for constitutional reforms. He said the criticisms they faced “sharpened our mind and focus,” and added that the commission was able to assert its independence in its work. Prof. Fiadjoe said there was the need to review the constitution, judging from the overwhelming submissions received by the commission.

    He said the commission was able to live above reproach by working within the confines of its terms of reference.

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