Story: Kwadwo OWUSU ADUOMI & Rueben SACKEY
The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) says calls for the amendment of certain portions of the 1992 Constitution are long overdue hence its declaration of December 7, as #FixTheConstitution Day.
The PPP at its press conference yesterday in Accra at the party’s Avenor headquarters underscored the need for the constitutional amendment before the next presidential and parliamentary elections in 2024.
Addressing the media , the Executive Secretary of the party, Richard Nii Armah recounted that no political party in Ghana had remained so committed, consistent and vocal on the subject matter of constitutional review in Ghana as the PPP had been.
“We have made many representations to the Constitutional Review Commission, Constitutional Review Implementation Committee, the Presidency, the Parliament and the Council of State on these matters. All these calls have fallen on deaf ears because various elected governments have demonstrated a clear and present lack of political will to make the necessary changes to our 1992 Constitution”, the PPP’s Executive Secretary disclosed.
The party noted that after three solid decades of operating this document, a number of the aspirations had eluded the good people of Ghana.
“Our country is yet to derive the dividends of democratic governance. Unfortunately, the conduct of elections and the successive transfer of power have been used as an indicator of success. This approach is misleading in terms of evaluating the actual improvement in the lives of the people in the area of education for every citizen, access to basic social amenities such as water, electricity, tarred roads in residential areas, safe inter-regional motorways, descent housing, jobs for the youth, political accountability, reduction in corruption, stability of the currency and a good standard of living” , the PPP said.
“ We rather have, after thirty years of democracy, the spectre of massive levels of youth unemployment, excessive executive powers, a compromised parliament, abuse of power, unbridled political corruption, waste of Ghana’s resources, nepotism, mediocrity, mismanagement of the economy and the constant failure of leadership. In fact, the current constitution in our view has created a situation where the winning political parties have treated the republic as colony to be conquered and its resources taken for the welfare of a few privileged members of the party in power; depriving the significant majority of Ghanaians the dividends of a well constituted democratic state” , the party added.
The stability of the country, according to the PPP had been threatened by the sheer greed, elite capture and an intensely exclusionary political system where citizenship was no longer enough requirement to have access to state resources and to partake in the sharing of the national cake.
Mr Nii-Armarh indicated that the winner-takes-all in the 1992 Constitution “cannot sustain our democracy beyond the 2024 elections and therefore the urgent need to implement the following fundamental constitutional amendments”.
According to the party’s executive scribe , there were five (5) fundamental changes that needed immediate attention to guarantee some modicum of progress if Ghana was to gain or get any dividends in her last democratic experiment.
The five areas he mentioned were; the election of the municipal and metropolitan chief executives (MMDCEs) , prohibiting Members of Parliament (MPs) from being appointed as Ministers of State or MPs must resign from parliament after their ministerial appointment; separating the office of the Attorney-General from the Ministry of Justice; introducing a public declaration of assets regime and clarifying the eligibility of Ghanaians in the Diaspora to hold public office MMDCEs .
Mr Nii-Armah also called for the abolishment of appointees by the president to fill various positions in the country .
This , he said had been flogged over the years with elected governments demonstrating the lack of political will to empower the districts to elect their Chief Executive Officers who are the true agents of developments.
“The MPs whose job is to pass legislation have arrogated to themselves the role of development agents with no constitutionally allocated resources. The result is that MPs have resorted to all kinds of unorthodox ways and policy violations to attempt to bring some piecemeal development to the people”, he said.
He mentioned,for example, the office of the Chief Executive had become a trophy to be won and hijacked by elected political parties to reward party members who could neither become MPs nor Ministers of State.
He was therefore not surprised that the current general secretary of the ruling party travelled around the country to conduct the so-called vetting of applicants mostly, party foot soldiers, who had applied to become MMDCEs.
“When did a political party become a substitute for the established Public Services Commission for the vetting and appointments of candidates to occupy public office”, he quizzed?