17.01.2022 Letter

Open Letter To The Chairperson Of National Commission For Civic Education On Preventing The Looming Death Of The 1992 Constitution Of Ghana

By Major Mohammed Bogobiri (Rtd)
Open Letter To The Chairperson Of National Commission For Civic Education On Preventing The Looming Death Of The 1992 Constitution Of Ghana
17.01.2022 LISTEN

17 January 2022

Madam Chairperson.

The current Political Administration of Ghana added the 07th January as one of our numerous public holidays to be celebrated as a Constitutional Day for a very good reason. Madam Chairperson as you are fully aware, the Constitution is the foundation and the Supreme law of the Nation. It is the spirit or the essence or Standard Operations Procedures (SOP) of the Nation dealing with civil liberties, how power is shared between the three organs of Government in accordance to the doctrine of separation of powers. It delineates the responsibilities of each Branch of Government, relevant Institutions like the Independence Agencies, the Council of State, National Security and Security Agencies, limitation on formation of Armed Forces or Police Force or the establishment of National Security Agencies etc.

Considering the agitation for the massive revision of the 1992 Constitution which is the anchor for the 4th Republic of Ghana and which has continued for about 30 years and thus gave us the current eighth Parliament, there is the need to preserve and protect it with minimum amendments with time like the Constitution of the USA which has existed since 1789 but was amended only 27 times, coincidentally most of these amendments were done in 1992, that is after 203 years and the UK has existed with no written Constitution.

So, I am with the view that the NCCE as one of the Independent Agencies created by the 1992 Constitution for Civic Education, the NCCE solely or together with National Media Commission and the Ministry of Information will always make this day, a very productive day by educating the Public on constitutional/civic matters especially the importance of a Constitution to a democratic Nation, the history and spirit of the 1992 Constitution, relevant Constitutional provisions especially the Presidential system of Government with the associated executive Powers of the President, why the President seemed to have excessive Executive Powers and the control measures to check any abuse of the Executive Powers, how the 1992 Constitution can be amended, , the rationale behind Article 71 Office Holders and the need to preserve it but do good work with an Article 71 Office Holders Emolument Committee with members drawn from certain Institutions including faire wages commission , etc.

So, Madam Chairperson, the education of the citizenry on the need to uphold, preserve, protect and defend the 1992 Constitution at all times cannot be over-emphasized. But the Citizenry could politely ventilate any misgivings about the Constitution but not to attack it as if it is a toilet paper or make erroneous impression about the Constitution or think that the Constitution was drafted by nonentities or incompetent persons. Yes, I am aware you, Madam Chairperson issued a very nice statement on the relevancy of the Constitution and there was a public talk on 07 January 2022 on the topic ‘ Avoiding the impending death of the 1992 Constitution” with both the Majority Leader, the Minority Leader of Parliament and others as participants but these are not adequate enough.

The public must be made aware at all times especially on 07 January that the drafters or proponents of every Constitution, being fully aware that social, economic and political and cultural situations change with time, so they provided means for the amendment of the Constitution. That is the amendment of the Constitution can only be triggered or initiated by Parliament, the Executive must stay away from that due to the Political history of Ghana especially the amendment of a Constitution by a President in the past in order to extent his stay in Power like what Dr Nkrumah did in 1964, when he amended the 1960 Constitution to introduce a Life-Presidency Clause for him to remain in Power forever and other amendments.

So, as stated the proponents of the 1992 Constitution and the People of Ghana required a President of Ghana to take an Oath of Allegiance and the Presidential Oath to preserve, uphold, protect and defend the 1992 Constitution at all times and mandated only Parliament at Article 289 with the authority to trigger and bring about a Constitutional Amendment, hence a President who has pledged to protect the Constitution must stay away from any act or move to amend the Constitution but shall assent to a Constitutional bill into Constitutional; law when it is duly and legally amended.

Madam Chairperson, the history of how chameleon Vladimir Putin of Russia, an ex-National Security Intelligence Officer metamorphosed from President to Premier Minister to President since 1999 (23 years) and his extension of stay in office up to 2024 and may be more, is a case study why the Executive or the President must not be given the lucrative opportunity to dream of or trigger Constitutional Amendments.

Madam Chairperson, before, I expatiate on the Constitutional matters especially, on the cacophony demand for the amendments of 1992 Constitution by some persons in order to dilute the Powers of the President to appoint the Political Office Holders and others due to the alleged excessive powers of the President, deal with Matters on Article 71 Office Holders and the associated dual citizenship risks, education of the public the role of Religious Leaders, Tradional Chiefs, Military, Police in Politics etc, please, permit me to use this opportunity to say well done to President Nana Addo of Ghana, the Show Boy of Africa for his good nomination of some Security Chiefs especially the indefatigable IGP of our time, IGP Dr Dampare (COP number one). His appointment of the seasoned Chief of Air Staff, namely Air Vice Marshal Frank Hanson, the seasoned Chief of Naval Staff, namely Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu and the seasoned CDS, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama (incidentally the three were my brothers and very good friends at Takoradi), the appointment of two seasoned ex-Military Officers who were my Superiors Officers at Field Engineers Teshie Camp, namely the National Security Coordinator Major General Francis Adu Amanfo (Rtd) and Brigadier General Emmanuel Okyere (rtd), the Military Adviser to the President and others.

I wish to also use this chance to say thank you to Mr President, for the appointment of COP Mame Tiwa Addo-Danquah as the Boss of EOCO. And please let me say congratulation to her. She was one of my bright students in Bompata Secondary School, Bompata. Funnily enough, she also became my tutor for cyber security/anti-fraud instructions, which was organized by the CID Department at the Police HQ, together with my good brother and friend Dr Antwi Boasiako (now Director General for Cyber Security Authority). So, I am not surprised that she rose from the Rank to an enviable ranks of COP within her youthful age. It is my prayer and expectation that as the first female to head such an important institution, COP Mame Tiwa Addo-Danquah will open the door for other female persons to access. So Ayeko to Mame Tiwa.

Lastly, let me thank Mr President for his appointment of a very hard working and forward looking young man as the Army Commander namely Major General Thomas Oppong Peprah (also an old friend at Arakan Barracks) Who like previous Chiefs of Army Staff, has developed an open door policy, but with some differences, thus cautiously keeping his eyes on the ball.

Madam Chairperson, the above appointments of the Military personnel in active service namely the CDS and his Service Commanders by the President was based on competence of these very good, hardworking and seasoned personnel but above all, it was based on Regional balance as required at Section (6) (b) of Article 35 of the 1992 Constitution and he adhered to it the reason for in consultation with the Council of State (a check of power instrument to prevent abuse of power by the President or an act against the Constitution).

Hence, the reason why the appointment of the CDS and Service Commanders of the Military, political appointees shall (must) be done with the Consultation of the Council of State is to ensure Regional balance and not done on the advice of the Armed Forces Council, which normally recommends promotions etc military service or administrative matters, normally done using personal records from the Military Secretary and is based on merits, hence promotion is based on merits, so the President must effect promotions in the Military on the advice of the Armed Forces Council and the President must implement it without fail.

The language of the Constitution is very clear on that. It does not recognize names of President or Political Parties, it says the President and is the Sitting President at any time ‘T’ and if you are the President at time ‘T’ you must abide by the Constitution. For instance, when the late President Mills took over from ex-President JA Kofour he cancelled the promotion of Military Officers which the Armed Forces Council advised the President to implement and it was approved by the then President of Ghana but the late President Mills thought it was not done in good order, so he attempted to cancel the promotion but upon education on his Constitutional Duty by the then CDS, he had no other choice but to approve the promotion.

The IGP or (COP number one) is an appointment so the President can decide to make an Army Officer as the IGP because IGP (a Political Office Holder) is an Appointment and not a rank. The President does the Appointment in consultation (discussion) with the Council of State. The President cannot give a substantive rank of COP to an Army Officer maybe he can give him or her COP as an honorary rank for pay etc matters. This may help explain why the Constitution uses in Consultation (at his pleasure but based on regional balance) and on the Advice (recommendations from the setup based on merits, so it is a must do).

Madam Chairperson, at this juncture, let me also acknowledge the good works by some previous Security Chiefs who performed their duties with allegiance to the 1992 Constitution to demonstrate that in Africa we need strongmen or strong and honest characters. These Security Heads, include my godfather in the person of General BK Akafia (rtd) for his good nationalistic work that saw a free and fair election in 2000, resulting in a regime change from NDC (from the late Papa J) to NPP (to the Gentle Giant) as well as my very good brother and senior at Navrongo Secondary School, Air Marshal Samson Oje (rtd), a former seasoned CDS and his gallant Service Commanders including the then Army Commander in the person of then Major General OB Akwa, my ex-Commanding Officer in the Second Infantry Battalion, Takoradi who were all appointed by ex-President Mahama but stood on their grounds (very firm) to uphold, preserve and defend the 1992 Constitution.

The sense of patriotism, allegiance to the 1992 Constitution, the honesty and fairness by Air Marshal Samson Oje (rtd) the then CDS in 2016 and the Service Commanders made it possible for free and fair election and above all their gallant stand despite the alleged rebuke of these gallant Officers from the then Chief of Staff in 2016 pushed ex-President Mahama to hand over to President-Elect Nana Addo as reflected in the 2016 election, you may read more of this by Google for a book by Manasseh for ‘’EC Chair sought clearance from the Military before declaring Akuffo-Addo President’. Very revealing, the gallant Senior Military Officers demo that no matter who appointed you as CDS etc or as security chiefs, as security chief you consider the Nation first and your pledge of an allegiance to the 1992 Constitution so no need to compromise at all, no matter their awareness that they could be retained or suffer the loss of their appointment by retirement by the incoming Presidents they did not surrender to their status as gallant and firm Officers. It also suggested that the then EC probably put a cover up to buy time for this meeting with the then President by delaying the declaration of the Presidential Results thus put the whole nation in 2016 on nightmare for several hours that caused the great Ashantehene to also come in to negotiate for a peaceful hand-over, lastly there is no way Chairperson can rig a Presidential election for a candidate, because the results come from the people including reps of the candidate on the ground.

Madam Chairperson as a seasoned ex-Military Officer (with some wisdom from God) who still owes services to Almighty God, Mankind and my Country, I consider that it will be very irresponsible to deny other tax payers the wisdom and knowledge God bestowed on me, hence the motivation for this submission to the public through you (the Chairwoman for NCCE) responsible for civic education Nationwide for me to deal with matters on the call for the amendment of the 1992 Constitution especially on the appointments by the President/Head of State/Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, matters on Article 71 Office Holders therefore dual citizens and others.

Madam Chairperson, a State for that matter Ghana exist to provide the basic needs of maintenance of Law of Order, provision of National Defence, managing the national economy and provision of the enabling environment for National cohesion. It does so by Politics or Policies. So we should be happy with the renaissance of Nationalism, the involvement of the people in nation building which is a tacit response to the President clarion call for the citizenry not to be spectators but good citizens. But for the Citizenry to help in national building, they must be made to know the differences between Politics and Partisan politics or Political matters, what is a constitution with the associated Parliamentary system or Presidential system of government, the difference between on the advice and in consultation as used in the Constitution, how election are organized, need to respect opponents or others opinion, the rationale behind Article 71 Office Holders etc.

Madam Chairperson as you aware, Politics is defined as the state of affairs of a country, and hope I may be right to also define Politics as about the ways of life of the People and since the affairs of the State is about the citizenry, every human being on mother earth, therefore all the citizens in a country without an exception must be interesting in Polities because as stated Polities is a ways of Life of a State (Country or Nation) created by God for his people, hence civil liberties are guaranteed by the Constitution.

So, Politics is for all citizens (so it is very wrong for anyone to say that he or she is not interested in or not allowed to do Politics which are matters that affect his or her existence in the Country. Let me cite an example to drive my point home. In USA, soldiers or military personnel owe their allegiance to the Constitution, so they normally swear to preserve, uphold, protect and defend the Constitution of USA, but because politics is about way of Life, so the USA Military or Government applying the doctrine of freedom of association etc, soldiers or military personnel in USA are allowed to contribute to or join any Political party of their choice and attend activities of Political parties, they must do so not in uniform but in mufti and they are not allowed to accept Political party leadership or offices.

In Africa, the Military is not to be involved in Political party activities at all but as part of human being on earth, soldiers will certainly be involved in Politics. Infact the Military has a primary role in National Defence and secondary role in National Development and both of these connote (signal) politics or policies. Example in Egypt, during the authoritarian Presidency of ex-President Mohammed Morsi and his Moslem Brotherhoods which led to the massive molestation of the citizenry of Egypt and led to mass protest nationwide. The Egyptian Military, through General Fatal Sisi had to advice the then President Mohammed Morsi, the then Commander-in-Chief about constitutional violation of civil liberties by the Moslem Brotherhoods and that a basic foundation of every Constitution is civil liberty and since the President has sworn to uphold, preserve, defend and protect the Egyptian Constitution, he was requested by the Military to get his associates, the Moslem Brotherhoods to halt the molestation of the citizenry otherwise the Military will step in to overthrow him.

He failed to listen to the wise counselling and the molestation of the citizen even intensified, so General Fatal Sisi and the Egyptian Army or the gallant Military Officers and men who also took an oath to uphold, preserve, defend and protect the Egyptian Constitution had no other choice than to overthrow the then President of Egypt in a Coup for violating a basic foundation of the Constitution. General Fatal Sisi’s coup was silently accepted by most Countries including the USA, then under the Presidency of ex-President Obama and the then Secretary General of the UN due to the massive terrorism acts by the Moslem Brotherhoods against non-Muslims. Again, the Military in Zimbabwe had to step in to prevent the then President Mugabe maneuvering to hand over to his wife. Hence, the Military has a part to play in a Nation building.

The Constitution and ethics does not prevent tradional leaders or Religious leaders from National Politics. The Constitution see them as societal leaders with limited traditional or religious powers, hence they must be involved in Politics, the way of their people, hence they must be involved in acts to uplift the welfare of their people, arrest destruction of their water bodies and environment, lobbying for development etc and supporting the government of the day. May I take this opportunity to commend the Ashantehene, Bantamahene, the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, the Paramount Chief of Dormaa Traditional area and other Chiefs for living up to expectation (Forward looking) to ensure development, employment for the people of Ghana hence the welfare of the citizenry.

Madam Chairperson, as you are fully aware, Party Political issues or Partisan politics on the other hand are the concerns or strategies of Politicians who are required to sell or explain their Policies or Politics to the citizenry for them to capture political offices, to deal with policies which are about the life of the Citizenry or actions that will duly affect them. Hence, because the Citizens may not have the time and expertise, so the Hon Members of Parliament have been delegated by the citizenry to help to do so on their behalf and therefore Members of Parliament must be seen to be representing the interest of the citizenry at all times.

At this juncture, let me say well done to those Members of Parliament (the citizenry’s angels) who on 20 December 2021, prevented the sitting Speaker of Parliament from the unspeakable act which would have even caused his impeachment for offending Article 105 of the 1992 Constitution. The Angels (representatives) did so because they acknowledged the fact that their status as Member of Parliament is on the mandate of the citizenry as their delegated representatives. To these Angels, your defence are firstly, youth Oath of a Member of Parliament and secondly is at Article 13 of the 1992 Constitution section (a) for the defence of the Constitution together with (d) of Article 13 prevention of a commission of a crime or an offense which is stated in Article 105 of the 1992 Constitution.

Madam Chairperson as you are aware, a Constitution is a guiding document or Standard Operation Procedures by the citizenry for government of the State. The government is for the people, by the people and answerable to the people. Hence, Democracy defines two types of government namely the Parliamentary system or Presidential System by the people and for the people. The Parliamentary System of Government provides for a voting for political parties and the leader of the Party with Majority members of Parliament normally becomes the Prime Minister and he or she selects his or her cabinet Ministers from Parliament, hence it is also termed as Cabinet system of Government.

In the Parliamentary System, for one to be a Prime Minister one must be the leader of the Political Party with Majority Members, hence one must be with a Political Party and not an independent candidate. The Prime Minister in Parliamentary system is not voted for nationwide, he is voted for by a single constituency (not a true representative or he or she does not get the mandate of the whole nation but he wields both executive and legislative powers, hence, a Supreme Authority). He may share his executive authority with a President or Monarch or retain it exclusively if no President or Monarch above him but normally there is an executive Authority (President, King or Queen above him or her). In the Parliamentary System the government can be defeated at any time ‘T’ by no confidence vote. And the President or the Monarch would be called to dissolve Parliament or the Cabinet. Hence it is not stable and is costly.

Madam Chairperson as you aware, the Presidential System of government provides the lucrative chance for the citizenry nationwide to listen to the policies of a Presidential candidate, on his or her merit and elect a candidate of their choice. So, the citizenry have a choice to elect a neutral or an Independent Presidential candidate or a Presidential candidate not aligned with a Political Party as a President. So as a measure to prevent or control the associated risks of political party patronage associated with a President belonging to a political party and thus makes appointments mostly from members of his or her political party, Ghanaian should look for a creditable candidate like Dr Kwabena Duffour to stand as Independent Presidential Candidate and be elected as President of Ghana to help kill three birds with one stone.

Bird number one is to halt this rancor and acrimony in the Nation introduced by NDC and NPP, otherwise we go for General Acheampong’s UNIGOV, bird number2 to elect a very good or creditable candidate, who will protect the purse and bird number 3 to eliminate or reduce the issue of winner takes all or political party patronage. Note voting for a President in the presidential system is done nationwide, hence the whole Country is his or her Constituency and the candidate with majority votes becomes the President and the Presidency is for a tenure office for a fixed period say 4 years and may be renewed for a further 4 years. Hence stability of government (executive and legislature) is achieved for every 4 years. This is a stable and less costly form of government unlike the unstable Parliamentary system where Parliament and the Cabinet (the Executive) must be dissolved during no vote of confidence in the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

In the Presidential system Independent Parliamentary Candidates are visible for election as Independent Member of Parliaments to differentiate from a candidate with or aligned to a Political Party. So in the real sense of the word, an Independent Member of Parliament can choose to seat on any day or any time with the Majority or Minority side of Parliament especially during voting on a motion which he or she is either for or against it. Hence, an Independent Member of Parliament cannot declare that he is going to work permanently with one Political party otherwise it is tantamount to crossing the carpet and must be removed. Let us study the situation of the current Independent Member of Parliament who is the Second Deputy Speaker, he claims he is with the NPP for business permanently. If so, then he has breached Section (1) (b) of Article 96 which is clear that the two Deputy Speakers must not come from the same Political Party that is to say they must not be inside the same boat. He must be advised accordingly. I rest my case.

In the Presidential system the President is the Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Hence, executive authority is vested in the President as in Article 58 of the 1992 Constitution. So, it is very wrong to say that the President in the Presidential system has excessive Powers. He is the head of the Executive Branch in the Presidential system, so he must have the executive powers. There is a clear separation of powers between the Judiciary, the Legislature (Parliament) and the Executive in the Presidential system. The Ghanaian Constitution provided a Council of State to help check the President’s choice of nominees for an appointment and with the exception of the IGP, the CDS, the Security Chiefs, the appointment of the Chief Justice and others the approval by Parliament is also required.

Madam Chairperson as you aware, on the advice of the Council of State for appointments like the Chair person and deputies of the EC and NCCE are done based on the recommendations of suitable candidate(s) to the President by the Council of State for his consideration. The Council of State will initiate or trigger the process. But in Consultation with the Council of State for an appointment such as the CHRAJ and the two deputies, IGP, CDS, Service Commanders etc imply that the President contacts the Council of State with the name(s) of his choice for discussion. So the President initiate or trigger the process.

Madam Chairperson as you aware, the proponents of the Ghanaian Constitution of 1979 and 1992 fully aware of the associated risk in both Presidential and Parliamentary elections, stipulated that elections are won at the Polling Stations, provided for each candidate to employ a witness as his Rep to monitor activities at the Polling Station and sign against the results and be provided with a copy of the signed results termed as the pink sheet by the EC. All these are at Article 49 of the 1979 Constitution and Article 50 of the 1992 Constitution.

The Constitution also provided excellent or fair ways for declaring Election results by the EC. Hence, effective alertness or vigil with literacy is the game. So, people must take time to read the Constitution, hence the rules of a game and prepare very well before participating in the game. Hence, with the good measures stated in the Constitution and the associated Constitutional Instrument normally passed by Parliament, so how can a Charlotte Osei or a Mary Ayagitam or a Jean Mensah rig an election for a candidate? People may have a problem on the way Madam Charlotte Osei was removed from Office as a Chairperson for the EC. It may not be the best. But what about the removal of her two deputies which was instigated by her for similar reasons. The situation at the then EC, did not speak well of the three key personnel.

Madam Chairperson, the Citizenry need to know that the CHARJ, EC and NCCE, etc are Independent Commissions. For the Appointment of the Chairpersons and the two Deputies for the EC and NCCE is done on the advice or recommendation by the Council of State. Madame Vivian Lamptey whose post was a Chairperson of the CHRAJ, was guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution but the same 1992 Constitution removed her for an alleged stated misbehavior or wrong act. Funnily enough, Lady Charlotte Osei was taken away or detached from the NCCE, which is an Independent Commission, hence logically she was removed from Office as Chairperson of NCCE, a seemingly unconstitutional act but immediately appointed at the EC as the Chairperson and was removed constitutionally later on.

Madame Jean Mensah who before her appointment as the Chairperson for the EC, was acknowledged nationwide especially by all the Political Parties in Ghana therefore nationally or globally for her 18 years good work at the Institute of Economic Affairs for strengthening Ghana’s Democracy and promoting of Institutions especially the EC, supporting the Country in election management and debates by Presidential and Parliamentary Candidates. Hence Madame Jean Mensah, was primus inter pares (first among equals) so she was seen as a very fair person. So, the Council of State saw her as the right person and was duly recommended by the Council of State as the person to be the Chairperson of the EC, when the vacancy was made available due to an alleged misbehavior or wrong act by Lady Charlotte Osei, who went through the Constitutional procedures for her removal. Hence, Madame Jean Mensah can only be removed from office for unlawful misbehavior and after going through an impeachment process that is when prima facie is established that she actually acted or conducted an impeachable offence or wrong act or an impeachable misbehavior.

Madam Chairperson, some of the agitators for the amendment of the Constitution are doing so with the wrong impression that the 1992 Constitution was made then to please the Chairman of the NDC, the late Papa J. Also the NDC Party sometimes worsen the situation by muddying the waters by misinforming the public that it is the NDC Party which gave the 1992 Constitution to Ghana, this has also fueled the agitation for total revision and not amendment of the Constitution. It is sad that some people especially the educated persons do not do proper research on the Political history of Ghana vis a vis the 1992 Constitution. Some of the old or senior citizens lacked institutional memory or not bold enough to correct these wrong impressions.

It must be made abundantly clear that the 1992 Constitution was the creation of the people of Ghana, as result of the pressure on the PNDC by Pressure Groups and the International Communities for return to Constitutional Rule and Papa J’ and the PNDC, reluctantly accepted it and came out with 258 committee of experts and the Consultative Assembly which drafted the Constitution and it is almost the same as the 1979 Constitution. Madam Chairperson, you therefore have an assiduous or important tasks/role in your work to promote and sustain Democracy, to ensure peace, tranquility or enabling environment for Nation building and the stability or cohesion of the State.

Madam Chairperson, the citizen must be made to note that, the 1992 Constitution is based on the Political History of Ghana especially lessons learnt from the dictatorship/the One Party State in the 1964 Presidential system and the attempted life-Presidency in the First Republic by the Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Also from the lessons learnt from the Presidential system in Ghana during Dr Nkrumah and the Presidential system during the era of Dr Hilla Liman, who were both voted nationwide into Office by the Citizenry based on the Presidential system in USA etc. As well as the lessons learned from the Parliamentary System adopted in the Second Republic which saw both the then Titular or Ceremonial President, (the Late Justice Edward Akuffo Addo) and the then Premier Minister (the late Dr KA Busia ) not duly elected by the citizenry nationwide but shared executive powers .

The Late Justice Mr Edward Akuffo Addo was elected by an Electoral College as the ceremonial President of Ghana who could confirm the Prime Minister and appoint the Auditor-General and Others and the late Dr KA Busia became the Premier Minister (primus inter pares that is first among equal cabinet Ministers) by default. He was appointed as the Prime Minister because he was the Majority leader of Parliament in 1969, because his Party held the Majority MPs. He was initially appointed as Prime Minister by an interim triumvirate Presidency led by General Afrifa then Chairman of NLC, COP Harley of Ghana Police and the then CDS, Major Gen Ocran, were General Afrifa deputies or co-Presidents.

The late Dr KA Busia was later on confirmed constitutionally as Premier Minister by the then Constitutional elected President of Ghana (the late Justice Edward Akuffo Addo). The late Dr KA Busia as stated was not nationally elected but only voted for as a Member of Parliament by a very small or single or one Constituency of Ghana namely Wenchi Constituency and therefore not a representative of the majority of the people of Ghana. Unfortunately, he wielded both Legislative and Executive Powers in the Parliamentary system. The Ceremonial President of Ghana then, had limited executive powers including confirming the Premier Minister and appointing the Auditor General. Hence, Dr KA Busia doubled as Law maker (making of laws) and Executive Authority therefore executing or implementing the laws enacted by him. He was then seen as the Supreme Authority in Ghana.

Another lesson learned was the defeat or loss of the 1981/1982 budget of the late President Liman’s PNP administration and other reasons. This gave a lesson about the character of some of the then Ghanaian politicians especially the Members of Parliament of the 3rd Republic who were prevented from being nominated as Ministers by the 1979 Constitution or have to resign when appointed as a Minister. Hence, to cure this problem, the 1992 Constitution requires majority of Ministers should come from Parliament, hence the President has the opportunity or freedom to nominate a Member of Parliament not from his Party.

It is for the above and other reasons including the prevention of the Executive or the President to manipulate and change the Supreme Law (the Constitutional Provision) to extend his or her tenure of Office or change to one Party State/Presidential System, that the proponents of the 1992 Constitution or rather the people of Ghana opted for the Presidential System of Government but with the majority of state ministers to come from Parliament and mandated Parliament as the only organ for initiation of the bill for amendment of the Constitution which must be referred by the Speaker of Parliament to the Council of State for their advice and when it is properly amended, the President shall sign, without exercising a veto power that is refusing or failing to sign it.

Madam Chairperson, but about 18 years after the acceptance of the 1992 Constitution by the citizenry in a Referendum precisely in April 1992 or so, precisely in 2010, the then Regime of the Late President Attah Mills, set up a Constitutional Review Commission for a general review of the 1992 Constitution, towards revision of the Constitution. In the first place, it was wrong for a President who has sworn to preserve, uphold, protect and defend the Constitution at all times to initiate for the revision of the Constitution, a sign of disloyalty since a revision may tantamount to a total change to a new Constitution, hence it will imply the jettison of the provisions of the 1992 Constitution, hence this would have been a paper coup against the 1992 Constitution.

Secondly, the then President acted unconstitutionally. He usurped the authority of Parliament which is the only organ clothed with power to initiate an amendment by section (1) of Article 289 which stipulated that ‘’ Subject to the Provision of this Constitution, Parliament may by an Act of Parliament amend any provision of this Constitution’’. I am sure by a bill initiated by Parliament. It has also been noted that a ruling or interpretation by the Supreme Court on a Constitutional provision is said to be an amendment. Example, the Ruling that a prima facie needs to be established before a committee could be established for the impeachment process for possible removal of the Chief Justice. Hence, the Supreme Court has quasi-amendment powers for the amendment of the Constitution but the Executive or the President has zero powers.

Madam Chairperson, I am not a Constitutional expert, but sound judgment will tell that the late President Attah Mills acted unconstitutionally. Or the late President Attah Mills, committed a blunder or technical error by appointing a Commission of Inquiry on matters to deal with an amendment of the Constitution. Article 278 (1) of the 1992 Constitution is very clear on what a Commission of Inquiry which is a quasi-judiciary body is required to do. It is for political accountability.

Commission of Inquiry is a mainly an investigation body for fact finding on matters of public interest where public interest is interpreted by the Constitution as any right or advantage which enures or intended to enure to the benefit in the abstract such as public health, sanitation or the like. Likewise about investigation into a political misbehavior or Administrative mismanagement or political scandal, sexual abuse, or tragedies or the conduct of individual person or an Agency or Company may assume such a dangerous proportion and may so prejudicially affect or threaten to affect the public wellbeing as make such conduct a definite matter of public interest and thus urgently calling for a Commission of Inquiry. Or inquiry into an incident like fire say at a Market or a major accident for facts and corrective actions to serve as education to the citizenry.

Section (2) and Section (3) Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution also indicated that a Commission of Inquiry is required when there is public petitions or when there is no petition but the President on the advice of the Council of State satisfied that the need has arisen for creation or alteration, merger of regions. Commission of Inquiry (CO I) as indicated is a fact finding and the subject of investigation by COI are limited to the administration of affairs of government and the examination of subject pertaining to execution, hence investigation into legislation is excluded.

Madam Chairperson, that act by the late President Mills was really a very dangerous one (an impeachable offence for disloyalty to his Oath of Allegiance and Presidential Oath), since he has sworn to preserve, protect and defend and uphold it at all times. His attempted action for the total revision of the Constitution would have meant an attempt to change the 4th Republic to a 5th Republic on paper. Hmm very serious.

It must be noted that the main elements of a Commission of Inquiry are subject of examination, the composition, Witnesses or Respondents, Findings or Facts, Conclusion, recommendations or Effects and Consequences of the report and these element are not aligned with amendment of the Constitution. The Constitution designated a Commission of inquiry as purely political instrument of control to investigate a tragedy, misbehavior, political liability of members of government and their assigns and all forms of government activity. It has do with political behavoiur or means for monitoring the activities of government by Parliament or may be used to control government by the Council of State. Hence, Article 279, Article 280, Article 281 of the 1992 Constitution and others speaks volume especially on both the effects and consequences on matters on a Commission of Inquiry, hence it cannot and should not be used to deal with process for amendment of Constitutional law or legislation especially by the Executive Branch of Government. Parliament is the only authority to trigger an amend of the Constitution.

Madam Chairperson, the above assertion on the limitations or usage of Commission of Inquiry is supported by Justice Peter Corey of the Supreme Court of Canada, when he indicated that a Commission of Inquiry is not for investigation a legislation but that the purpose of Commission of Inquiry is for the restoration of public confidence and the Commission of Inquiry achieve that purpose by educating the public why a tragedy or political or social action occurred and to make recommendations for the improvement of the situation or to prevent future occurrences. He ended by saying that the purpose or focus of a Commission of Inquiry should not be the determination of individual blame. Rather, the purpose or focus should be on what information is needed to educate the public and to give context in justification to the recommendations. Hence, Justice Peter Corey of the Supreme Court of Canada summarized that there are three functions of a Commission of Inquiry namely to investigate, to educate and to inform, which are of the benefits or public interest to the Canadian society. To these benefits should be added the benefits deriving from recommendations for a change designed to prevent recurrence in the future of the errors or faults being investigated.

Madam Chairperson, the Collection of signatures like what Fix the Country attempted to do to trigger for an amendment of the 1992 Constitution is alien to the 1992 Constitution or it is illegal because a critical thinking on the matter or common sense will tell that it may not give correct representation of the people of a Country. Since, one can easily get over one million signatures from one area or region or ethnic group or religious group, hence if care is not taken we will be changing the Constitution every day to satisfy the whims and caprices of agitators which the Constitutional law is against. Hence, the Constitutional Law herein Article 289 of the 1992 Constitution indicates that it is Parliament which the people have delegated their Representative Powers and Deliberative Powers as well as Oversight responsibilities on the Executive, Council of State, and Judiciary may initiate amendment on the advice of the Council of State, as part of check and balances of power. Hence, Parliament should urgently come out with a law to guide the citizenry. Citizens may submit proposals through his or her MP for study and deliberation by the legal committee of Parliament.

The President is only authorized to lay a bill for a new legislation or proposal or otherwise to the Parliament and exercise veto powers by not signing a bill into a law. As far as the Constitution is concerned he or she can only amend or revoke a Constitutional or Statutory Instruments and Legislative Instruments or Executive Instruments or Executive Orders as required by the Constitution or an Act of Parliament respectively as permitted at Article 297 section (d).

So to prevent the Executive or the President to wield too much power (hyper power) which may be detrimental or weaken the powers of Parliament, is the reason that Parliament is granted the authority to amend the Constitution. It is also to prevent the Executive or the President to find a way to extent his or her tenure of office or established one Party State. So Parliament through the Speaker and the Minority Leader need to seat up and be more responsible as dictated by the 1992 Constitution

The Citizenry especially political pressure groups like the fix the Country need to be educated that the 1992 Constitution is the best Constitution at that time of 1992 and still very valid today, which we the then people of Ghana gave to Ghana. It was neither made to satisfy the late Papa J nor a Constitution given to Ghana by the NDC, which was even not in existence at that time. The Transitional Provision in the 1992 Constitution is the same as the Transitional Provision in both the 1969 Constitution and the 1979 Constitution. It was copied from the 1979 Constitution. Hence, the Transitional Provision in the 1992 Constitution was not made to please the late Papa J but a necessary evil or it was in the right direction and should be accepted as such.

Madam Chairperson, there is a very big difference between wisdom and academic or professional expertise. Note everyone with academic qualifications has wisdom like the late Papa J, the Ashantehene (King Solomon) and others. Some of the people with high academy tiles lack wisdom or common sense.

Let me use some interesting things about the 1992 Constitution to drive home my point that there is a very big difference between wisdom and academic or professional expertise. The 1992 Constitution was drafted by 258 member Committee of Experts chaired by a constitutional expert in the person of Asokorehene, Nana Dr SKB Asante and the proposal was submitted to the Consultative Assembly with some Verandah boys and girls as members. The Consultative Assembly was chaired by the Late Chiana Pio (the late Pi Roland Ayagitam the First, who was my late chief and godfather). The Consultative Assembly with wisdom, vehemently kicked against some of the recommendations of the seasoned Constitutional experts with very good reasons.

One of the recommendations that was kicked against by the experienced Consultative Assembly with the Verandah boys and girls which later became a blessing to Ghana (God send) as will be explained later was that they strongly kicked against the recommendation of the Constitutional experts that Ghana should adopt a Council of State and a Presidential System of Government like the USA but in order to dilute the Powers of the President of Ghana, in the making of appointments and other matters, the Executive President should be duly elected in a universal suffrage by the people of Ghana with Ghana as his Constituency and the appointment of a Prime Minister who is to share Executive powers with the dilute his powers.

Based on experience on the conduct of Africans, so in other to prevent crisis between the Executive President and Executive Prime Minister, the Consultative Assembly disagreed with the seasoned Constitutional experts and opted for the Council of State and a Presidential System of Government type USA with an Executive President with Executive Authority and a Vice President (VP) who must be appointed by the Executive President as his deputy and the VP must be with no or zero appointing authority but only Administrative functions as stated in the Constitution. They also stated that the VP must not come from the same region as the President (principle of regional balance was opted for as against managerial acumen).

It should be noted that the President and the Vice President are under chapter eight of the 1992 Constitution. All the clauses under Chapter 8 of the 1992 Constitution are entrenched clauses and can only be amended by a Referendum. Section (8) of Article 59 of the 1992 Constitution which is an entrenched clause mandated the VP to perform the functions of the President whenever the President is absence from Ghana but the functions of the VP are spelt out at non-entrenched clauses. So but for the wisdom of the Consultative Assembly who drafted the 1992 Constitution and opted for a President and VP as his deputy as in Article 60 of the 1992 Constitution, Ghana would have experienced a very serious Constitutional crises in 1996. That was during the first Administration of the NDC. There was a serious misunderstanding or bad blood between the then President JJ Rawlings and the then Vice President KN Arkaah (who came from a different political party but was made VP due to an alliance between his Party and the NDC).

The bad blood between the two, saw the then Parliament in 1996 (in the first NDC Administration of the 4th Republic) acting with the speed of light and amended some non-entrenched clauses of the 1992 Constitution and stripped some the Constitutional functions of or appointments held by the then Vice President. This amendment in 1996 included the revoking of the appointment of the VP as Chairman of the Police Council at Article 201, Chairman of the Prison Council at Article 206 and made the President to appoint anyone at his or her pleasure acting in the Consultation with the Council of State. But for the Armed Forces Council at Article 211, the Chairman shall be the President or his nominee. Hmm with no input or role by the Council of State for approval of the nominee.

Madam Chairperson, Article 58 of the 1992 Constitution vested Executive Powers or Executive Authority of Ghana in the President. It is accepted globally that an Executive President, as Head of State as well as Head of Government, therefore the Head of the Executive Branch, must appoint his or her Ministers as in Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution and the President is mandated by the Appointment Clause at Article 70 of the 1992 Constitution, acting in Consultation with the Council of State shall appoint the Auditor General and others as in section (1) of Article 70 the 1992 Constitution but with appointment of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and the two Deputy Chairperson it must be done by the President on the advice of the Council of State as at section (2) of Article 70 the 1992. Likewise the appointment of the Chairperson of the NCCE must be done on the advice of the Council of State.

But, the President Acting in Consultation with the Council of State shall appoint all Policy Makers Executives designated as Political Appointees including the political Ambassadors, some Heads of Corporations as well as Heads of Agencies like the Police example the IGP and in the Military as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he appoints the CDS, Service Commanders etc in consultation Council of State. The IGP, CDS and Service Commanders are Political Appointees. The Security Agencies like the Prison, Police, Immigration, the Intelligence outfit like NIB and the Military must be subordinate to the Civilian Authority especially the President and the Ministers. This a philosophy from the ancient times and from the World Wars that the guns or sword must be controlled by the Civilian Authority. Mao Zedong of the People’s Republic of China has made this clear that ‘Our principle is that the Party must command the gun and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party’’. The Party herein is Civilian Authority.

Madam Chairperson, the matters on the compensations (salary or allowance) etc for Article 71 Office Holders must be retained for the very good reasons as stated below. The emoluments for Members of Parliament and other Article 71 Officer Holders is not news but is the norm globally, with Uganda reported as having the highest in Africa and higher than the salaries etc for European Countries. In 2009, The UK had to establish Parliamentary Standards Authority for paying salaries and expenses of MPs when some MPs made huge claims on their expenses in addition to their huge monthly salaries.

Madam Chairperson we should not let envy, lack of critical thinking and lack of wisdom to get better of us (defeat us), so we may say MPs should take the end of service benefit only once but should receive same salaries etc. Madam Chairperson, the citizenry must be made aware that the deliberations and the decisions made in Parliament have major consequential effects on the citizenry (all of us) so we expect them to take decisions to our best interest.

Madam Chairperson, the job of a Member of Parliament is intellectually stressful or demanding and require a high level of intelligence (research). The work of Article 71 Office Holders is a highly professional one, hence they need to have a package that can cause a Vice Chancellor of a University, or the CEO of COCOBOD, or a Very Senior Staff at Bank of Ghana or highly paid financial institution or the business world to become MP or Article 71 Office Holders. As well as entice professionals from the Diaspora like the current Education Minister who were/are required to denounce their dual citizenship before taking a Policy Making Office, so they need to be enticed with juicy or attractive or lucrative package.

Madam Chairperson, a Member of Parliament must employ a driver etc regularly visit his Constituency say Sandema, attend almost all social functions, make the biggest donation and maintain a high class personality (standard) during active service and on retirement. The people see a serving MP as a multi gold van (money bags or billionaire) and must depend on him or her to survive. He must attend to their needs especially during emergencies. Example the MP for Keta was recently yelling all over the place to lobby for support and attention to the needs of the victims of the recent tidal waves etc whilst the Professor Ransford Gyampos and his UTAG colleagues were cooling with beer and kebab in the Campus and with second juicy jobs.

Madam Chairperson, this is to say, the political professional nature of the job, that is the responsibilities and stress of the job of a Member of Parliament who decides to enter and remain in parliament must be paid like judges, so that he or she must have the ability to do full time professional political work in the absence of other earnings or compensations like the Head of civil service or CEO of COCOBOD.

Madam Chairperson, in order to attract high caliber personnel especially Dr Robert Gardiner from the UN/Economic Commission for Africa, the Military regime of the NRC of the late General Acheampong in 1972 or so commissioned or appointed Dr Gardiner with the honorary rank of an Army Colonel into the Ghana Army. So that he can receive good or attractive salary and benefits (commensurate with that of a Colonel as well as work comfortably with the then Minister for Finance and Economy Planning, the late Colonel Roger Felli.

So the proponents of the 1992 Constitution borrowed this very good idea of the Military regime of the NRC for attracting high caliber personnel from the academia or the business industry or from the diaspora to stand as candidates on their own merits and be voted as the President of Ghana or voted into Parliament or occupy Policy making Offices or VP, the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Superior Courts, the Speaker of Parliament and his two deputies and Member of Parliaments, the Chairpersons and the deputies of the Independent Agencies like CHRAJ, EC, NCCE, Auditor General etc, came out with Article 71 Office Holders. This was lifted word by word from Article 58 of the 1979 Constitution.

Madam Chairperson, the Ministry of National Security is unconstitutional, superfluous and a drain to the National purse. It is against the letter and spirit of the entrenched clause of Article 85 of the 1992 Constitution. Which is against the establishment of Agencies or establishment concern with National Security. We also need to note that the Ministry of National Security with armed security personnel beside a wasteful agency and a very serious drain to the public purse is duplicating the functions or usurping or sharing the responsibilities/Powers of the Police hence the IGP and the Ministry of Interior.

The advisers to the President must revise their notes and do reconfiguration to ensure the National Security Coordinator reporting line is direct to National Security Council (the President). Too many in the chain of command is very dangerous and can let to security blunders. A Minister of State for National Security is recommended for administrative role, merely answering to Parliament. Thanks, the Commission for the Ayawaso Wuagon Commission somehow accepted my recommendation through a submission I made to the Commission. The Commission recommended that the President should review and restructure the Ministry of National Security establishment with a view to ensuring clarity of responsibilities and roles as well as lines of reporting.

Madam Chairperson to conclude, the issue of the excessive Executive powers of the President, cannot and shall not be varied in a Presidential System of Government as adopted by Ghana in the 1992 Constitution. The amendment of the 1992 Constitutions can only be initiated or triggered and amended by Parliament. The Executive or the President is barred at Article 289 of the 1992 Constitution to dream of or trigger the amendment of Constitutional provision or law. He shall immediately sign the amendment from Parliament if properly made without refusal or vetoing or delay.

Madam Chairperson, the documents initiated by the late President Attah Mills must be thrown into the dustbin. It is an impeachable offence for removing or sacking a President from Office for disloyalty to Oath of Allegiance and Presidential Oath. An act unbecoming of a sitting President who is supposed to be the embodiment or Personification of the 1992 Constitution. Hence a Constitution is overthrown when the President is overthrown in a Coup. The President can however revoke or amend a legislation, a Constitutional Instruments (CI) as permissible by Article 297 Article 297 of the 1992 Constitution on Implied Powers. Hence, the Road tolls was duly and legally abolished by cancellation of the Legislative Instrument (LI) by the Road Minister based on section (d) of Article 297 of the 1992 Constitution.

Lastly Article 71 Office Holders was well thought through and shall be maintained in order to entice the Vice Chancellor of a University, the Professor Ransford Gyampos and others from Academia or Sir Sam Jonah from the business world or professionals from the Diaspora who are required to denounce their dual citizenships.

Major Mohammed Bogobiri (Rtd)

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