Tuesday, September 1, 2009


A Kumasi-based Legal Practitioner, Mr Yaw Boafo, has called for the amendment of the 1992 Republican Constitution to reflect the changing trends of politics and national development.
He contended that 17 years after the promulgation of the Constitution, there was every indication that certain portions of the document had outlived their importance and, therefore, needed polishing to meet the aspirations of Ghanaians.
Mr Boafo, who spoke with the Daily Graphic, said serious view must be taken at Article 78 (1) and 128 (1), because they were inconsistent with the constitutional development of the nation.
He said Article 78 (1), which allows the President to appoint majority of his ministers from Parliament, was not doing the nation any good, and suggested that an amendment was needed to correct the situation so that at least majority of ministers could be appointed from outside the Parliament.
In his view, if this were done, it would allow the Parliament some independence to put the Executive on its toes.
On Article 128 (1), which is on the appointments of Justices of the Supreme Court, Mr Boafo said the present situation where only the minimum number of judges was provided was not in the interest of the nation because it allowed for the court to be packed at any time.
Therefore, he suggested that an upper limit be provided for the number of justices appointed to the Supreme Court.
The Vice-chairman of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Kwabena Opoku Adusei, who also spoke on the need for the amendment of the Constitution, said the President had been given too much power to hire and fire.
He said, for instance, that it was not in the interest of the nation for the President to appoint members of governing councils of state institutions because it paved the way for such positions to be filled with party faithful without looking at competence.
“We have countless of such examples in this country and can only correct them by looking at the Constitution again,” he said.
Dr Opoku Adusei further called for the term of office of the Electoral Commission to be restricted to two terms of four years each.
He explained that the current situation where the Constitution allowed the Electoral Commissioner to stay on until retirement could corrupt the electoral system if “we get a bad electoral commissioner”.
In spite of the need for the amendments, Dr Opoku Adusei noted that nothing positive could be achieved in the country’s political development if “we get a bad government”.
The Omanhene of Tepa Traditional Area, Nana Adusei Atwenewa Ampem, also spoke to this paper on the amendments and suggested that amendment be made to the Constitution to extend the term of office of the President from four years to five years.
Explaining, the Omanhene said four years or by extension eight years was not enough for a President from a third world country like Ghana to complete his or her programme of development.
Nana Ampem also called for the Constitution to be amended to ensure that metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) were elected by the people.
He said the appointment of MMDCEs by the President had brought mediocrity into the system, because the President normally did not look at performance but commitment to the party. 
He said when the MMDCE position became elective, performance would be the key word.
The Omanhene further said the current system where the President appointed some members of the district assemblies should cease, so that the position became elected to prevent the appointment of party members rather than looking at quality.

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