It is also rather strange but not altogether unexpected or flabbergasting, to hear the Akufo-Addo-appointed First Independent Special Prosecutor make the dubious claim that in true practice, Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution actually promotes the kind of Separation of Powers, or Power Separation, that is routinely associated with advanced and putatively civilized democracies like the United States of America, France and even Great Britain, and salutary accountability of governance (See Martin Amidu’s “2024 Harmattan School: Accountable Governance, Violent Extremism and 2024 Elections” Modernghana.com 2/9/24). No such pontifical pronouncement could be at once more presumptuous and mendacious.
The fact of the matter is that Ghana’s 1992 Constitution was custom-tailored for the especial and the express and the exclusive benefit of the country’s longest-serving and most extortionate and murderous dictator and junta leader, to wit, the late Flt-Lt. Jeremiah “Jerry” John Rawlings, later to be elected first President of our so-called Fourth Republic. The largely National Democratic Congress-concocted Constitution – strategically hobbled with Indemnity Clauses protecting the “revolutionary” butchers of the Rawlings Posse – is as mongrelized or inimitably bastardized as the man for whose special interest it was hastily and incoherently cobbled together. It is neither the kind of Constitution deftly and efficiently operated by the United States of America, with an Executive Presidency and a strict and clearly defined Separation of Powers among the Three Traditional Branches of Government, namely, the Executive, the Legislature/Legislative and the Judiciary.
Neither is it the Westminster kind of Constitutional Democracy bequeathed our immediate postindependence leaders by the erstwhile British colonial regime, which strictly enforces governance accountability on a daily basis, with the Prime Minister and his/her cabinet wielding the Executive Powers of the State, in close consultation with the largely ceremonial Imperial Monarch or Sovereign, such as was officially the case during the first three years of the Kwame Nkrumah-led Convention People’s Party (CPP), that is, from March 6, 1957, to July 1, 1960, or thereabouts. As well, the Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia-led Progress Party (PP) government that held the democratic reins of governance from July or September 1969 to January 13, 1972, when it was ousted by the Lt-Col. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong-led Nkrumah-leaning junta of the National Redemption Council (NRC), later to be renamed as the Supreme Military Council (SMC-1), also practiced a slightly modified Westminster democratic governance system, such as presently practiced by India, Pakistan and the Jewish State of Israel, among many others.
Under the Westminster system of democratic governance, the largely Ceremonial Head-of-State is the Sovereign Monarch, presently The Windsors and The Mounbattens, I suppose, in the person of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II, late, and presently, King Charles, III. It is often not highlighted but under the short-lived tenure of Prime Minister Busia, Ghana had two Ceremonial or Figurehead Presidents, namely, Justice Nii Armaah Ollennu, who served briefly for approximately three or four months, until the newly elected Prime Minister Busia appointed retired Chief Justice Edward Akufo-Addo to this largely sinecure of a job.
But what is perhaps most significant and relevant to point out here is the fact that under the Westminster system of democratic governance, also routinely called Parliamentary Democracy, the Prime Minister regularly or periodically reports the activities of the Executive Branch of Government to Parliament or the Elected Representatives of the People, and his routinely peppered with questions and criticisms by the latter. The position of the Prime Minister is much weaker than that of the American type of Executive Presidency, with the Prime Minister routinely subject to removal by a vote of no confidence. This was primarily what an increasingly autocratic and dictatorial Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah avidly sought to avoid, thus his mischievous push for and resort to the declaration of Ghana as a Constitutional Republic with an Executive President as the Head-of-State. Nkrumah would therefore expedite the proscription or the removal of the extant Governor-General, who acted on behalf of the Sovereign Monarch of Great Britain.
A politically dodgy Prime Minister Nkrumah would bombard a largely illiterate to marginally literate Ghanaian citizenry with the false-propaganda spiel, a la Orwellian “Animal Farm” fashion, that the diplomatic severance of the neocolonialist apron strings of Britain actually marked the true and total political independence of Ghanaians as Sovereign people and a nation. The grim and sardonic irony here was that the outgoing British colonial authorities were already several steps and at least a generation ahead of President Nkrumah and his would-been fellow Constitutionally Benign and/or Benevolent Continental African Dictators like Kenya’s President Jomo Kenyatta; Uganda’s President Milton Obote; Tanzania’s President Julius Nyerere; Zambia’s President Kenneth Kaunda; Malawi’s President Hastings Kamuzu Banda; and few yards of years down the pike or the line, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. We are here, of course, alluding to the British Commonwealth of Nations, presently psychologically “trickishly” redesignated simply as The Commonwealth, founded in anticipation of Nkrumah’s Machiavellian gambit as relatively far back as AD or CE1931.
In Ghana, the politically dysfunctional bastardization of our Fourth Republican Constitutional Democracy has come to mean that there will be an American type of Executive President who would effectively become a citadel of his/her own, with little to absolutely no checks on his/her official conduct by the two theoretically coordinate or coequal branches of government, namely, Parliament or the Legislature, and the Judiciary. Now, this kind of criminal bastardization of Ghanaian democracy is what a responsibility-dodging Martin Amidu ought to be boldly and frankly discussing with progressive-minded and progressive-thinking Ghanaian citizens. In short, the Rawlings-genuflecting retired career Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice is damn too intellectually dishonest and pathologically self-absorbed to humbly own up to the vanguard role which he played in having Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution effectively and thoroughly hobbled to suit the whimsical and the capricious interests and the oversized ego of the dead man whom he has always envisioned as the earthly incarnation of Divine Providence.
You see, you cannot have a functionally robust or an efficient Power Separation mechanism or system in a Constitutional Democracy in which most cabinet and ministerial appointees are selected from Parliament, as it is routinely done in Britain but completely devoid or bereft of the kind of public accountability writ large into the Westminster system of governance and strictly expected from the members of the Executive Branch of Government. You see, the problem with morally unprincipled and faux-socialist and populist Ghanaian politicians like Mr. Martin Amidu and the overwhelming majority of his National Democratic Congress’ associates and cronies is that they, somehow, believe that they can drink their brimful barrels/kegs of PITOO and AKPETESHIE and still have them remain brimful at the same time.
Interestingly, it well appears that it is only now that these bloody and kleptocratic National Democratic Congress leaders have been deservedly shunted onto the politically and economically arid margins of our bastardized system of winner-takes-all political culture that these terror-mongering bullies are beginning to fully and objectively appreciate the sort of snow job that veritably is Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution. By the way, did I hear somebody say: “Martin “Abongo-Frafra” Amidu, it serves you darn right!”?
*The writer was a regularly featured poet and the very first English-writing poet to be featured at Anokyekrom of the Ghana National Cultural Center (GNCC), Kumasi, from 1979 to 1984. He was also regularly featured on the Kumasi Edition of the Godwin Avenorgbo-hosted Saturday afternoon entertainment program called “Variety Ahoy!” broadcast on GBC-2, the English Service Radio produced and broadcast by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Accra.
*You may visit his blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
Professor Emeritus, Department of English
SUNY-Nassau Community College
Garden City, New York
February 11, 2024
E-mail: [email protected]