First Deputy Speaker: Don’t blame Legislature entirely for delay in constitutional amendment

Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has stated that the Legislature cannot entirely be blamed for the delay in the amendment of the 1992 Constitution as recommended by the Constitution Review Commission.

“The Constitution Review Commission was set up in January 2010 to consult with the citizenry on the operation of the 1992 Constitution, and on any amendment that needs to be made to the Constitution,” he noted.

Mr Osei-Owusu indicated that the Commission was also tasked to present a draft bill for the amendment of the Constitution in the event that any changes were warranted however, the recommendations of the Commission had not been implemented years after the report was presented to the appropriate quarters.

Speaking on the subject on the sidelines of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) Constitution Week Lecture, he explained that there was lack of consensus on the changes needed to be made.

“The real issues are the disagreements on the fine details of implementation because the Constitution Review Commission went around and brought a report but when the report came, one of the political parties, which was then in power, then made changes to reflect its view and the parties outside disagreed with some of the changes they proposed and that is what has actually delayed the processes of implementation, till date,” Mr Osei-Owusu recounted.

For instance, he cited processes to amend Article 243[1] of the Constitution, which gave the president the power to appoint all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) adding that “at the last minute, the Minority in Parliament pulled out of all the agreements reached, and I know the reason they pulled out was the party outside Parliament refused to endorse the proposed amendments”.

Recently, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated that “if required, the 1992 Constitution should be amended to meet the needs of contemporary and future times since the Constitution is a living document and whenever circumstances require, we should be prepared to make necessary amendments to affect the needs of contemporary and future times.

“There are persons who seek to cut short democracy by pronouncing coup d’état and such persons either do not respect the citizenry or fear they will be rejected in an election hence calling for overthrow of an elected government and I appeal to citizens to reject such persons.

Some Ghanaians have said the current Constitution is to blame for rot, suffering and ill-governance being experienced in the country which paves way for retrogression, discrimination and was deliberately drafted, gazetted and adopted just to benefit a few elites.

They have been at the forefront of demand for a new Constitution because the

current one has put them through 30 years of retrogressive governance, constitutional dictatorship, poverty, under development and since every constitution must be foundation upon which freedoms are built, unfortunately missing in the country’s constitution.

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