CDD: Overhaul of 1992 Constitution will mitigate defects

The Center for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana), has advocated a complete overhaul of the1992 Constitution instead of amending it to mitigate some defects in its clauses.

“In addition, taking on too many problematic clauses, some of which are entrenched clauses, for amendment delays the processes because of the need to build bi-partisan consensus around such amendments.

“It will be useful to build nationwide bi-partisan consensus towards enactment of a new Constitution and any attempt at amending it will be prolonged by the need for building bi-partisan consensus and some of the entrenched clauses make it highly impossible for an amendment,” CDD stressed.

According to the Center, which made the call in its July 2021 Briefing Paper, it stated that as it was contained in the 2011 report of the Constitutional Review Commission, an overhaul of the Constitution would mitigate some pressing defects such as excessive appointing powers of the president, requirement for the president to appoint a number of his ministers from Parliament without a cap and absence of a cap on the number of Supreme Court Justices.

It affirmed that despite seemingly apparent gaps, the 1992 Constitution had proved useful in sustaining democratic governance in the 4th Republic and should be maintained with some amendments but handpicking a few clauses in the Constitution for amendment would hardly address key gaps identified as mitigating against good governance.

The Paper said the Constitution was flawed to extent excessive appointment power of the president enabled by provisions of the Constitution but not limited to Article 70, had been identified as challenge to good governance including outsized role of the president in overall constitutional scheme, control over appointments throughout all levels of public services, state structure and other prerogatives.

“This has retarded progress, growth and development of independent institutions and credible, free, fair and firm checks, balances, sustained patronage politics in a winner-takes-all culture, exclusive presidential power to fill vacancies in key constitutionally designated non-political offices feeds perceptions of improper executive control of such constitutionally independent offices.

“It creates friction with and undermines effectiveness and efficiency of such institutions, particularly when there is party turnover in the presidency resolve after critical examination of extent of gaps identified in constitutional provisions as major mitigating factors against good governance and constitutionalism, and cumbersome amendment procedures for entrenched provisions, it is perhaps time for a new Constitution,” the Paper stated.

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