Group calls for clarification of parts of 1992 Constitution

The Justice Must Prevail Foundation, a human rights advocate group for men, has called for clarity on Article 18 and 22 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana to clearly define what comprised spousal rights during divorce settlement.

The group who claimed there were ambiguities with some portions of the said Articles, said such a clarification would help input more information into the Property Rights of Spouses.

The Executive Director of the group, Frederick Newton Mensah, made the call at a media briefing in Accra yesterday.

The briefing was to throw more light on issues affecting men in the country which had been swept under the carpet.

According to him, Article 18, Clause 1 stipulated that “Every person has the right to own property either alone or on association with others while Article 22; Clause 1 stated that, a spouse shall not be deprived of a reasonable provision out of estate of a spouse whether or not the spouse died having made a will”.

He said, the same Article 22 in Clause 3a stipulated that” spouses shall have equal access to property jointly acquired during marriage while the 3b stated that “assets which are jointly acquired during marriage shall be distributed equitably between the spouses upon dissolution of the marriage”.

Mr Mensah said the bone of contention in their appeal lied in the fact that the Article 18, Clause 1 did not state what constituted a personal property in marriage and always required further interpretation leading to litigation.

He said, similarly, Article 22, Clause 3a and 3b did not state what constituted joint property between spouses in marriage creating confusion between spouses upon divorce.

Mr Mensah said the ambiguities were giving rise to manipulations, varied interpretations, cheating and injustice by spouses in marriage, adding that some women have resorted to the loophole to amass wealth through divorce they initiated.

He said the last Supreme Court’s interpretation of the said clauses in the matter between Mensah versus Mensah which had become precedent for courts was a disadvantage and unfair to men since performance of domestic chores could be the basis to share property equitably upon dissolution of marriage. 

Mr Mensah said in current times both men and women were performing house chores, hence house chores could not be a contribution for any spouse towards acquisition of a marital property.

“A joint property in marriage should be a property which is jointly acquired with financial and non- financial contributions from spouses, “he said.

He emphasized that a non-monetary contribution alone by a spouse towards acquisition of property in the course of marriage could not make it a joint property, adding that a joint property could come under the umbrella of both spouses making financial contributions and non-monetary contribution towards the acquisition of the property

BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI

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