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24.08.2021 Feature Article

A New Constitution is Far-fetched

A New Constitution is Far-fetched
LISTEN AUG 24, 2021

The Conveners of Fix the country are mobilizing signatories of one million Ghanaians to push for a new constitution. The solutions to the numerous challenges of the state cannot be reached by merely changing the entire constitution. The current constitution cannot be overthrown by only one million Ghanaians who wish it should. This population is insignificant to reflect the demands and opinions of the masses even if it is the avenue to changing the Constitution of Ghana.

The attainment of the demands of the group, for a change in the constitution, is improbable. In many advanced democracies, antediluvian laws are usually amended to reflect the dictates of global rules and regulations governing institutions and human behavior. Laws are equally amended to mirror those set in other jurisdictions that suit the trend of behavior of a particular country.

The framers of the 1992 Constitution have locked the thoughts and mindsets of Ghanaians to refrain from demanding for a total change of the current constitution. But amendments of any provision of the Constitution are allowed. This is clearly specified in Article 289 (1) which states “subject to the provisions of this constitution, Parliament may, by an Act of Parliament, amend any provision of the Constitution”. So, there is no restrictive opportunity to pressure the government for amendments to some provisions of the Constitution that are considered obsolete and therefore incompetent to be relied upon to solving issues.

Undoubtedly, there is logic in the pursuit for a new constitution. That is why there was a Constitution Review Commission to alter aspects of the Ghanaian Supreme law in the past. Yet, it was only an endeavor to amend portions of the highest legal document of the land, the Constitution, and not to throw it away as if it does not contain relevant laws for regulating our daily lives and the workings of institutions.

Truly, many provisions of the Ghanaian Constitution need amendments. People in the academia, for instance, have called for an alteration on Article 71. Many other provisions and Acts need comparable amendments to match the changes in the conduct of the people and institutions of state. Laws are enacted to provide positive consequences to the people of a country or an area. If the laws of a country cannot provide the necessary positive values, they must be amended.

It is very unlikely to obtain a replacement for the Constitution of Ghana. This is not premised on the yardstick that the Supreme law of the land is crafted or worded beyond change. The citizens of Ghana are mandated to defend the Constitution. Article 3 clause 3 (a) and (b) admonish that any person who “by himself or in concert with others by any violent or other unlawful means, suspends or overthrows or abrogates this Constitution or any part of it, or attempts to do any such act; or aids and abets in any manner in any person referred to in paragraph (a) of this clause commits the offence of high treason and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to suffer death. The call to defend the Constitution is profoundly indicated in Article 3 clause 4 (a) and (b).

The futility in the demand of Fix the Country Conveners is well-grounded in the law that forbids an abrogation of the 1992 Constitution. The possibility for overhauling the current Constitution of Ghana is not found in the expression of votes of no confidence by any groups of citizens. A new Constitution may be possible to be had if all the citizens express an irrepressible wish for such a change. The Constitution does not protect or offer any guard for persons who want to overthrow it.

In fact, the 1992 Constitution in the same Article 3 clause 5 seeks to protect persons or any group of people who defend the Constitution or resist the suppression or the suspension of it. Consequently, the actions and demands of the Conveners of Fix the country are voidable. The actions of the group are not established in law and principle. The law plainly prohibits the suspension or any attempts to suspend as well as suppress the Constitution. Amendments are the most preferred means of upgrading national statutes generally.

The laws of Ghana will favour any group of people who intend to protect the suspension of the current Constitution. The request for a new Constitution in Ghana is a recipe for disaster in the country. In the transition period between the suspension of the 1992 Constitution and the period for enacting new laws which make the Constitution, which legal document will be used to standardize the conduct of the people of Ghana and their institutions? The group should research into the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission and argue on those lines or act within the law to claim amendments to portions of the Supreme law of the land that are not fit for the current pursuit of welfare for the people of Ghana.

The collection of the signatories of one million (1 million) Ghanaians is a defective tool to suspend the Constitution of the republic. The realization of the desires of the Conveners of Fix the country will be implausible if their sole aim is to suspend the Constitution of Ghana through the use of signatories.

Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey

Economics Tutor, Advocate and Religion Enthusiast.

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