President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is courting the support of the citizenry to back proposals for any amendment of Ghana’s 30-year-old 1992 constitution to reflect the dynamics of modern day democracy.
He is of the view that, despite the democratic gains and decades of stability, the country’s laws cannot remain sacrosanct, thus efforts must be made to seal loopholes if necessary.
In a national address to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the referendum approving the 1992 Constitution, President Akufo-Addo maintained that Ghanaians should be open to constitutional amendments when the time is ripe.
“On this anniversary occasion, I am proud and believe strongly the values and principles of the constitution that emerge from the Referendum and this democratic heritage of the constitution of Ghana. I am calling on all Ghanaians also to accept vigorously this same belief. We should never forget though that the constitution is a living document, and so whenever circumstances require, we should be prepared to make the necessary amendments to affect the needs of contemporary and future times.”
The 1992 constitution of Ghana is the most enduring, lasting over two decades and earning Ghana the reputation of a beacon of democracy in Africa
In January 2010, the Constitution Review Commission was set up to consult with the people of Ghana on the operation of the 1992 Constitution and on any changes that need to be made to the Constitution.
The Commission was also tasked to present a draft bill for the amendment of the Constitution in the event that any changes are warranted.
But years down the line, some experts believe portions of the document come with many challenges that need to be addressed to make it better.
Many believe the country missed an opportunity to review portions of it despite the extensive work done by the Commission at a huge cost to the Ghanaian taxpayer.
Meanwhile, 30 years after Ghana decided to adopt the democratic system of government, President Nana Akufo-Addo says it’s been the country’s best decision so far.
On April 28, 1992, the country went to the polls to vote for democracy after the late president Jerry John Rawlings came into power through a coup in 1981.
The results came out that the majority of the citizens wanted democracy, hence they voted in favor. It was 3,408,119 for the motion, and 272,855 against the motion, representing 92.59% and 7.41% respectively.
“…the constitution was later overwhelmingly approved in the referendum and set up a liberal democratic state founded on the separation of powers with exclusive power in the judiciary to superintend and enforce the constitution and protect the fundamental human rights of the citizenry. We have since then experienced the longest uninterrupted and stable constitutional governance in our history.”
“The benefits are showing, we have over the last 30 years witnessed sustained growth in every facet of national life. There has been considerable improvement in Human Development Index, simply put, democracy has been good for us,” President Akufo-Addo said.