General News of Monday, 7 January 2019
An associate professor at the University of Ghana, Ransford Gyampo, has backed government’s decision to cancel the celebration of Republic day as a public holiday for the introduction of a constitutional day.
He, however, said to celebrate the 1992 constitution in its current form, will mean Ghanaians are celebrating “mediocrity”.
The Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, on December 13 laid a bill before Parliament to amend the Public Holidays Act to include January 7 and August 4 as statutory public holidays.
January 7 which is to be celebrated as Constitution Day, is to replace the July 1 Republic Day celebration while August 4 will be Founders Day; a replacement of the September 21 Founder’s Day.
Government explained it was making January 7 a Constitution Day because it was the day the 1992 Constitution came into effect under the Fourth Republic in 1993.
It added that the Constitution Day seeks “to acknowledge our collective efforts as a country in ensuring that the tenets of democracy, the rule of law and the principles of constitutionalism are upheld”.
The decision to scrap Ghana’s Republic Day as a public holiday, in particular, has been met with criticisms with some people arguing Republic Day is important in the country’s history than the proposed January 7 as Constitution Day.
Wisdom in Constitution Day
But Prof. Gyampo in his latest piece said there is “wisdom” in government’s decision to abrogate the celebration of 1st July as Republic Day and the institution of 7th January as Constitution Day.
He argued that since Ghana’s constitution that conferred a Republic status on Ghana has was no more inexistent, there was no need celebrating the day as a public holiday.
“If the First Constitution that conferred a Republic Status was toppled and jettisoned just after 6 years, why should we celebrate the past when we have a living Constitution that has survived for 27 years and promises to remain even longer?” he asked.
Though he said the current constitution has been the oldest fundamental document of the land in the history of Ghana since independence, it contains “imponderable setbacks to constitutionalism”.
Prof. Gyampo who in November last year advocated the scrapping of the 1992 Constitution observed it “has provisions that hinder the maturation of our democracy and amount to the serious antithesis to the dogmas of constitutionalism”.
He said his analysis of the constitution has revealed it was formulated to favor just one regime and confers enormous powers on the executive rather than checking or bridling the exercise of same in a manner that corrupts.
While admitting that no Constitution anywhere in the world is perfect and devoid of challenges, he said “ours contain monumental hindrances that cannot be glossed over anywhere in the world, where right-thinking people rule”.
He said Ghana will, therefore, be celebrating mediocrity with the new Constitution Day if efforts are not taken to deal with its challenges that hinders the drive towards democratic maturity and attempts to promote constitutionalism.