Constitution Review Committee rejects late submissions; says it can’t suspend process

Chairman of the Constitution Review Implementation Committee, Prof. Emmanuel V.O. Danquah says it is too late for institutions to make inputs into the bill for constitution review.

He was concerned that the process which started about four years ago had travelled beyond a conceivable period.

He told Joy News Monday that if the Committee should open its door again, ‘we will go on forever if we are to receive new ideas all the time.’

‘It is very, very late’ to submit new recommendations, he stated.

Prof. V.O. Danquah was reacting to calls by some civil society groups to slow down the pace of the current state of the constitution review process.

The Institute of Democratic Governance and the Civic Forum Initiative last week made calls for the process to be stalled for further education and consultation before a referendum is considered.

The Institute of Economic Affairs today asked government to make room for provisions that will deal with the winner takes all system.

The IEA has set up an eleven member advisory committee of eminent Ghanaians to coordinate a nationwide consultation on how to address the winner takes all syndrome in the constitution.

A member of the Committee, Justice Emile Short, who addressed a news conference in Accra today said the inputs will among others consider checking the amount of power the president wields.

‘It is contended that as a result of this system, Ghana has escaped a near social and political break down through perceive monopoly of political and economic clout by the winning power and threats of violence and legal challenge to the tenure of the presidency and the electoral system in the last two general elections.’

He said slowing down the pace would enable a nationwide consultation, education, and sensitization on the contents of the government whitepaper to be followed by an extensive public debate on the report by the Constitutional Review Committee before a referendum is held.

But Prof. V.O. Danquah said ‘It is late to receive a recommendation which would be expected to be incorporated into the bill.’

He noted that millions of Ghana’s were involved in the review process and over 83,000 written submissions which was reduced to a 960 report document and a whitepaper was issued on it.

He said civil society groups calling for the process to be stalled made inputs when the bill was been drafted.

He said currently various groups including political parties, and religious bodies have been briefed on the current state of the bill.

The non-entrenched bill has been submitted to the Attorney General who processed it to the Speaker of Parliament. The Speaker of Parliament then forwarded it to the Council of State which is now considering the bill under a 30-day timeframe.

Before a referendum is held on the changes made to the 1992 constitution, the Implementation Committee, he said, would undertake regional briefing starting from Koforidua.

After the bill has been gazetted, the Chairman of the Committee assured that the public would be informed through a publication in the dailies.

Prof. Danquah indirectly advised groups seeking to make inputs to rather put their process on hold.

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