Former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, has described as problematic some clauses in the 1992 Constitution and called for its immediate review.
Key among them, he said, were the indemnity clause and transitional provisions.
Section 34 of the transitional provisions of the 1992 Constitution indemnifies all coup makers and their functionaries against any liability for acts and omissions committed during their administration.
According to him, these clauses do not serve the country’s interest but rather works in favour of “big people” in the society and have emboldened certain characters to abuse their offices and profit themselves over the years.
“It is quite evident that a lot of our people are losing confidence in our constitutional mandate. The constitution of the Fourth Republic was created by us, for us and to serve us, and in light of the 25 years, there is an unqualified need to reform or rewrite our current constitution,” he stated.
Mr Rawlings was speaking at this year’s commemoration of the June 4 Uprising in Accra yesterday.
The event, which was the 40th anniversary of the revolution, was on the theme “Developing a national character for sustainable good governance.”
To this end, former President Rawlings called for the establishment of a constituent assembly with the necessary powers to rewrite the country’s constitution.
He said the assembly must embody the character of the Ghanaian towards fashioning out a developmental agenda that was devoid of party allegiances and unscrupulous political promises.
Among other things, he said, the assembly’s mandate should include reviewing all the constitutional clauses especially the transitional provisions and indemnity clause, which were ‘problematic’.
“For far too long, we have let the rot in our country go on unchecked for so long. We have by omissions or additions, allowed the rot to destroy the moral fabric of our society. A review is necessary to ensure that everyone is equal before the law, encouraging transparency, accountability and responsible governance. Our journey towards a developed nation rather ought to be an entrenched provision,” former President Rawlings added.
He said it was about time Ghana’s developmental conversation focuses on sustainable goal aimed at future generations’ access to clean air, water and environment as well as heightened self-discipline in the approach.
“Our current sense of self-discipline is at its lowest ebb. Citizens do not feel responsible enough to keep their homes and communities clean. Many of us who lament about flooding during the rainy season are very guilty of the indiscretions that lead to the deadly floods. We dump refuse indiscriminately and wonder why drains choke.
Some actually see the rains as an opportunity to dump refuse, believing the rainwater will sweep them away. If we continue with this level of lawlessness, we are bound to face more serious flood disasters. Let us all do a thorough introspection and identify where we fall short because we all do fall short one way or the other.
I entreat you all to remember the discipline that emboldened us to execute June 4th and to replicate it on our roads, in our classrooms, and institutions. If we do not develop a national character for sustainable good governance, we would have failed this generation and especially generations yet to come,” Mr Rawlings appealed.
As part of efforts to find lasting solution to the Chereponi conflicts, he called on Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, to adopt the approach of the Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, who bowed and kissed the feet of the leaders of the two feuding factions, to call for an end to the conflicts.
Vice Chairman of the Council of Elders of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alhaji Hudu Yahaya, called on the country’s leaders to value their role in the country’s progress.
He said if they take for granted their role in promoting social and economic change, it would become a catalyst for the people to revolt against the leadership.
Johnson Asiedu Nketsia, General Secretary of the NDC, observed that the June 4 uprising promoted nationalism and urged Ghanaians on to demand from people in power to work in the interest of the country.
Member of Parliament (MP) of Klottey Korle Constituency, Dr Zanetor Rawlings, explained that the commemoration of the revolution was to remind Ghanaians of the values and principles which formed the basis of the country’s liberation and called on all Ghanaians to take up lessons from the past to inform their present actions.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS