I have been meticulous in offering opinions on public policy issues, and topical national issues in all my Features. The quality I intend to create is attracting many readers, as audience for me. As an “informal student” of law, I often quote the Constitution of Ghana to support my opinions with highly near-accurate interpretations. But I misconstrued a controversial Article and Provision of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana – Article 71 as not being an entrenched provision, in a Feature titled Review Article 71 of the Constitution.
The Content of the said Feature is still relevant in shaping Public Policy on the implementation of the said provision of the Constitution except that its interpretation was imperfect on that occasion. For instance, I sought to propose that the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission can be tasked to deal with the emoluments and privileges of Article 71 officials. I raised the concern that the Salaries, emoluments and privileges of such officials can be compared with their counterparts in the sub-region or elsewhere globally to check the payment of excessive emoluments and salaries to such officials.
It is also possible to cut back on the expenditure of the state by reducing the number of people in the category of Article 71 or optimizing their emoluments and privileges to increase national savings as well as reduce economic and social inequalities. Article 71 is broader than it should: it needs to be defined to limit the inclusion of political appointees.
I recognize the importance of interpreting the highest legal document, the Constitution, properly and accurately that any error which can cause confusion and harm to myself and my audience needs to be addressed. It is in that light I sincerely apologize for the error I committed on that day. I needed to have sought an expert opinion on that before making a definite conclusion on such an issue. The confusion arose because Chapter eight (8) of the Constitution, the Executive was mentioned as being entrenched: it did not occur to me that the entire Chapter designated as the Executive is entrenched.
Regrettably, I committed a pardonable error in interpreting the legal characteristics of Article 71: it is pardonable because I am a non-lawyer, and only cherish to read the laws of Ghana. I have learnt the extreme importance of the art of consulting on such crucial issues. I read the said Article carefully and grasped its meaning adequately but did not extensively evaluated whether Chapter Eight (8), the Executive covers Article 71 or not, and whether it is therefore entrenched or not. I focused on the Articles or provisions that were clearly mentioned as being entrenched. In fact, a broader evaluation of Chapter eight (8) was not done. Which is why I indicated it was not entrenched.
In another Feature titled The Death of the Constitution, I outlined that a coup d’ état can be overturned by patriotic citizens as indicated in Article 5: in fact, I rather preferred to refer to Article 3(5) in that Feature as the point of law was right except that the citation of the Article and its Provision were not exact.
I will be diligent in my Features, to bring the best educative and thought-provoking discussions on national issues and public policy debates through my advocacy using writing as an influencing tool. I will seek legal and expert opinions where necessary.
Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Economics Tutor, Advocate and Religion Enthusiast.