The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has reiterated calls for Ghanaians to be interested in knowing their rights and responsibilities as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
Ghana has upheld the 1992 Constitution for the last 28 years since Ghanaians, in a referendum on April 28, 1992, decided that it was time for a new constitution to be established for the fourth republic.
The country was getting ready to switch from military to democratic rule at the time; and according to the African Elections Database, close to 92.6% of the population of registered voters was in favour of the transition.
The Commission is concerned that some Ghanaians are unaware of the basic human rights they are to enjoy.
The Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education, Josephine Nkrumah, indicated that false perceptions surrounding the constitution were the biggest challenges her outfit faced in its role to educate on constitutionalism.
“The ordinary Ghanaian often thinks that the constitution is for learned people and lectured people; but we break it down for the average Ghanaian to understand that, your everyday living, your daily life actually is governed by the tenets of the constitution.”
“Therefore, it is your right and your responsibility to know about the constitution in order to protect yourself; because it guarantees us fundamental human rights and also allows us to understand our role as citizens, our duties and our democratic development. Without our constitution, I dare say that the privileges, the rights and the freedoms that we enjoy as Ghanaians can largely be curtailed,” she opined.
As part of its 2021 annual Constitution Week celebrations, the NCCE sensitised commuters and traders along principal streets in Accra, many of whom were elated to be part of the NCCE’s engagement.
“I learn we are not to take the law into our hands when we are wronged but here [at Circle], someone commits an offence every blessed day. Drivers are always parking at unapproved spots, but who am I to instruct them to move away? I am not the police; meanwhile, those who are in authority do nothing about it. So I’m glad the NCCE is here today. Perhaps you [NCCE] can tell us what our roles are in that regard so that we can correct some of these ills in society to the best of our abilities,” a trader at Circle stated.
Naa Odey, a teacher who participated in the exercise, also told the team that, “we only see them in the media and today, we’re seeing them in our midst. So after I enquired from this lady, she told me that the NCCE was doing some kind of awareness in town about the constitution. I know that the constitution is used to govern a nation and the 1992 Constitution is what we have been using from 1992 till date. I know that it is the responsibility or duty or role of a citizen to pay your tax, to vote during an election, to protect state property and be each other’s keeper.”
A pedestrian, who identified himself as Evangelist Dominic Fire, although, pleased with the exercise, was however concerned about how much impact it will make on the different groups of Ghanaians such as those in the country’s security agencies, based on an unpleasant experience he had.
“I don’t think the laws of Ghana work. I say this because I was once involved in a hit-and-run accident at night while returning from town where I went to preach the gospel. My left leg was badly hurt that I could barely walk. When I reported the issue to the police, I was told that nothing could be done because I did not bring the culprit along. I was even asked to make some payment. At the end of the day, nothing was done to resolve the matter. If policemen abide by the law and do their work diligently, I think Ghana would be a much better country,” the self-acclaimed pastor lamented.
In her response, the Chairperson of the NCCE, Josephine Nkrumah, urged the general public to desist from taking the law into their hands.
“We target also the security agencies every year… and it’s instructive that because we engage the security agencies as well, this is some of the feedback we can take to them and continue the engagements with them and get them to understand what the expectations are of the people who are trying or seeking to be law-abiding, what their frustrations are and how we can begin to live up to the expectations so that Ghanaians would have more confidence in the law and in security agencies for us to live as law-abiding citizens.”