1992 Constitution Is ‘Rawlings Phobic’ – Presby Moderator

Right Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Right Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey has described the 1992 constitution as ‘Rawlings phobic.’

He said the framers of the constitution tailored articles ‘to fit into his persona.’

Rt. Rev. Prof. Martey was speaking at the Institute of Economic Affairs’ (IEA) ‘Winner-Takes-All’ consultation forum on the theme: Rethinking the ‘Winner-Takes-All’ Practice of governance – Proposals from Reforms.

According to him, since ‘every constitution must speak to its particular context,’ the drafters cannot be entirely blamed.

He said the ‘Winner-Takes-All’ practice in Ghana’s politics as a ‘political disorder’ and if not checked, could bring ‘doom to a nation because it is a recipe for chaos and conflict.’

Rt. Rev. Prof. Martey stated that the overwhelming executive dominance in Ghana’s 1992 constitution has made it difficult to check this practice.

According to him, there is ‘excessive concentration of political power in the executive arm and other branches have been relegated to a subordinate position.’

The Presby Moderator noted that the President in Ghana has enormous political and economic resources at his disposal which could be used to secure ‘political support as well as reward cronies whether or not they deserve it.’

He blamed the framers of the 1992 constitution for failing to envisage that the ‘Winner-Takes-All’ practice included in the constitution could be used as a tool for political exclusion.

Rt. Rev. Prof. Martey who was the chairman for the consultative forum heaved a sigh of relief that the situation and context under which the 1992 constitution was framed is different from the present.

He was however quick to add that he is in no way indicting the framers of the constitution for the inclusion of the ‘Winner-Takes-All’.

According to him, the period under the Rawlings regime was a period ‘when people were afraid of Rawlings’ persona and the framers of the 1992 constitution were no exception. In crisis situation, people don’t take normal decisions.’

He stressed that there is the need for Ghana to ‘demythologize the 1992 constitution’ if the ‘Fourth Republican Constitution is to speak pertinently and meaningfully to the contemporary Ghanaian situation.’

‘So far, there hasn’t been any courage to demythologize this Rawlings phobic constitution’ said Prof. Martey, adding that, the government must ‘exercise patients to allow more discussions and input into what the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee is doing now.’

He warned that rushing through the review of the constitution will be detrimental to the nation.

Constitution Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) was set up by government to make proposals and recommendations for the review of the constitution.

The recommendations and proposals will then be subjected to a vote at a referendum.

But various individuals and groups have called on the CRIC to halt their activities for more engagements and clarifications since there are many issues to be clarified with regards to the proposed constitutional amendments by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC).

Credit: Efua Idan Osam/Citifmonline

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