General News of Thursday, 1 November 2018
Director of the Center for European Studies at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampoh has questioned the usefulness of the 1992 constitution in its current state insisting there is the need to develop a new constitution.
He argued that there are so many loopholes within the constitution that renders several institutions and agencies ineffective in delivering their mandate for which reason they were set up.
The lecturer at the University of Ghana also suggested that the framers of the constitution applied outdated concepts and principles that do not match up to modern democratic developments.
Professor Ransford Gyampoh observed that the 1992 constitution though has been helpful in getting Ghana to where it is now, wasn’t formulated to enhance the democratic development of the country but to concentrate power in the hands of the regime at the time.
“My view is that the 1992 constitution was not actually created to promote democratic governance and rule of law. Please think about it. It may not have been crafted to promote rule of law and democratic governance otherwise you were talking about how a Metropolitan Police Chief is appointed in London. When they were framing the constitution didn’t they have these experiences or best practices” he noted.
“Sit down and do a sober reflection or introspection of the constitution, you will see that even though it has served us well, it contains provisions that hinder the maturation of the democratisation process. And you cannot tell me you have powers to do X, Y, Z, you have powers to fight vigilantism when we know the constitutional provisions that allow you to work are saddled with weaknesses and that is why I am saying that looking at what is going on, the constitution of Ghana was not crafted to promote democracy and rule of law but it may have been crafted or fashioned out to consolidate the hold of power of the regime that supervised its preparation” Professor Gyampoh detailed.
Buttressing his point, he cited flaws in our constitution which in his view did not match up to best practices in other countries.
Institutions like Ghana Police Service, Parliament, Supreme Courts and Ghana’s decentralisation processes he asserted are a few areas among many the constitution in the form it has been crafted cripples and hinders from delivering as it should.
“Look at how our Supreme Court operates. If you go to America, I think they have 9 Supreme Court Justices and they sit on every case and bring finality to the cases. In Ghana, we don’t have a ceiling on the number of Judges that can be appointed to the Supreme Court so the Executive can always pack and pack. Look at our Parliament, how we have weakened our parliament to be a rubber stamp. Look at how we talk about decentralisation and yet there is always recentralising tendencies” the Director of European Studies at the University of Ghana enumerated.
On that score, the Director of European Studies at University of Ghana was firm in calling for the crafting of a new constituion throwing away the idea of a constitutional review.
In his opinion, “the solution is not with the tinkering of the constitution under the ages of constitutional review. No! The solution in my view is a new constitution. Put aside the 1992 constitution because I think the idea, the rationale for drawing it is so outdated, it was just meant to bring a hold and consolidation of power by a certain regime. That regime is no longer there. Let us rethink a new constitution that will reflect our collective ethos and experiences for the past 25 years or so. So I am calling for a new constitution.”
Professor Ransford Gyampoh made these remarks whiles speaking at a roundtable discussion organised by the Institute for Democratic Governance on the topic “Breaking the cycle of vigilantism in Ghanaian Politics”
The event brought together stakeholders to discuss the prospect of disbanding vigilante groups and equipping the security services to carry out their duties to ensure the non-existence of vigilantes.