On the Constitution day, the University of Professional Studies Law School organized a Public Lecture on the theme “Avoiding the impending death of the 1992 Constitution”. The lecture amongst other things deliberated on the failure of the Constitution, as a central legal document that serves as a stimulus to public policy, to produce hope and blessings contained in it to the masses, mostly the youth. But what will kill the 1992 Constitution? The Constitution is viewed, in legal spheres, as a living organism: it can grow or die.
The forefathers did not envisage the likely death of the Constitution: they rather provided protective cover for its eternal growth. That is why provisions were made for its defence. The provisions of Article 3 clause 4(a) and (b) prohibit the “killing” of the spirit and words of the Constitution as well as commands the restoring or the resuscitation of the Constitution if it ever dies by means of an overthrow, suspension or an abrogation. Therefore, enough flexibilities were and are provided for its organic growth through amendments.
The persistent calls for the overthrow of the Constitution are defective factors that highlight the impending death of the Constitution. The Constitution has been afforded well-grounded impetus to grow as the framers of the highest legal document allowed alterations to be made on most of its provisions including Article 3. The death of the Constitution is possible if a particular government yields to the pressures of the masses to initiate a referendum to amend the prohibition placed on the citizens to demand its overthrow.
The Constitution can equally die through a coup d’ état which can be overturned by patriotic citizens as indicated in Article 5 of the Constitution. Any patriotic citizen who wishes to experience change, that brings the hope and blessings of the Constitution, does not need to embark on a coup d’ état. There should be exertion of pressures to amend any provision that has the potency to cause hopelessness. The impending death of the Constitution may even be an overstatement as the options for the demise of the Constitution are thin and difficult to execute.
The keynote speech delivered possibilities that will ensure the Constitution thrive organically to engender the needed hopes and welfares for the youth. But the issues raised as being the aspects that will help avert the death of the Constitution, if considered carefully, have been captured by the Constitution. The provision of prosperity, equal opportunities, the provision of hope and blessings that produce enhanced benefits for the youth are catered for in the Constitution.
Thus, the failure of the Constitution to produce the hope and blessings envisage by the forefathers is triggered by the political culture developed for the country. The Constitution may have an excellent structural form that inspires hope but the political culture and behaviour of the major political parties in country serve as a hindrance in the delivery of the blessings contained in it (Constitution).
Yet, the issues discussed by the Keynote Speaker are grounds for amendments many people consistently call for. The same issues addressed are basis for developing a composite public policy document that is fit to run modern institutions to inspire a new thinking in development. Consensus building is behavioural, and a choice to be made by the major political parties.
A new or a modified Constitution (attained through amendments) may not resolve the challenges the Country has with the enforcement of laws adopted to operate institutions and ensure the delivery of the common good. Politicians are greedy with power and so the call for consensus building will be unheeded.
While there are genuine calls for amendments of certain provisions of the Constitution, the willingness of the political parties and their adherents to profoundly change their attitudes, and political culture to enforce the laws of the country will activate the needed solution to generate hope. So, after all, the enforcement of the laws of Ghana matter.
The death of the Constitution may actualize due to the lack of assurance to enforce the laws approved by the citizens, to regulate their lives and actions. Amend the provisions of the Constitution that open up clear opportunities for its demise.
Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Economics Tutor, Advocate and Religion Enthusiast.