Pres urges NCCE to protect its credibility

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo(inset) launching the Inter University Quiz Debate. Photo:  Michael Ayeh

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo(inset) launching the Inter University Quiz Debate. Photo: Michael Ayeh

President Nana Addo Dankwa AKufo-Addo, has urged the leadership of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to make efforts to protect the credibility and integrity as well as shed the perception that it works as an appendage of a particular political party.

“It is important for its credibility, in fulfilling its mandate, that the Commission sheds any lingering perception that it works as an appendage of any particular political party. Its loyalties have to be to the Constitution of the Republic and the good people of Ghana, not any party,” he said.

Launching the NCCE Inter-university quiz competition at the University of Ghana yesterday, President AKufo-Addo said although the Commission had done its part in helping Ghanaians to recognise the importance of their freedoms and duties since its establishment 25 years ago, it could still do better.

“Despite concerns raised in some quarters about the effectiveness of the NCCE in the discharge of its duties, with some going as far as advocating for its abolition, I am of a different opinion. I believe the NCCE continues to be relevant, and still has an important role to play in helping to establish a culture of awareness in which citizens are alive to their civic responsibilities”.

“It is for this reason that the budgetary allocation of the NCCE has been increased to an appreciable level in this year’s Asempa Budget. This is an indication that this government is committed to resourcing the Commission to help it in achieving its mandate, and will continue to address the logistical and financial needs of the Commission,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo lauded the Commission for the inter-schools quiz initiative which aims to test the familiarity of the students of the country’s universities with the Constitution, which he said had become the “living document” that had, over the years, guaranteed and protected individual freedoms and human rights, and ensured that the nation was governed according to the principles of democratic accountability and the rule of law.

He stressed the need for the organisers to make the competition more than who emerged first or second to knowing why the Constitution came into force, why it provides guidelines for the functioning of the state, and, why, together, Ghanaians should help ensure that the three arms of government, the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, lived up to their respective charters, and act as checks and balances on each other to prevent abuse of power.

“Nearly six months ago, we celebrated 60 years of our national independence. Ours has been a long, tortuous journey, and has seen us overcome several trials and tribulations: slavery, imperialism, colonialism, tyranny, and dictatorship. Decades of authoritarian rule in the immediate post-independence era not only subverted the promise of the independence movement that freedom would result in good governance, progress and prosperity, but also led to the systematic worsening of the living standards of our people,” he said.

The President said it was against that background that Ghana experienced, at the beginning of the 1990s, a strong revival of the democratic aspirations that lay at the heart of the independence movement.

“The Ghanaian people, just as they had demonstrated in the drive towards independence in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, showed again their determination to live in conditions of freedom and democracy. On April 28 , 1992, they approved, by an overwhelming margin in the referendum of that day, the adoption of the Constitution of the Fourth Republic, which set up the institutions of a liberal democratic state, operating on the basis of the separation of powers, with express guarantees of fundamental human rights protected by an independent Judiciary,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo indicated that Ghana was now recognised as the beacon of democracy and stability on the continent, and as a country governed in accordance with the tenets of the Constitution.

He said the majority of Ghanaians believed that entrenching the principles of democratic accountability, respect for human rights and individual liberties, and the rule of law at the very core of the country’s body politic, was critical to the nation’s chances of meaningful development.

“The study of the Constitution, therefore, should not be left only to students of our various law faculties in universities across the country, nor just to lawyers. As active citizens, we must all be interested in the fundamental law of the land, and be able to speak to issues regarding our human rights and civic responsibilities,” he said.

The Chairperson of the NCCE, Ms Josphine Nkrumah appealed to the government to continue to resource the Commission to enable it to carry out public education on civic rights, responsibilities and the Constitution.

By Yaw Kyei and Benard Benghan

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