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29.03.2007 Politics

Tony Aidoo raps Supreme Court Judge for labeling constitution as military-imposed document

By Frank ADDO

A leading member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Dr. J. Tony Aidoo has described as a display of ignorance, Supreme Court Judge Professor K. P. Kludze's labeling of the 1992 Constitution as a military-imposed document.

Speaking to Accra based CitiFM about the President's reported intention to propose an amendment to the Constitution to introduce a Prime Minister position, Professor Kludze labeled the Constitution as a Military-Imposed document, with some Articles entrenched and cumbersome to amend.

The Supreme Court Judge's description drew reactions from some lawyers. When the dailyEXPRESS sought the reaction of Dr. Tony Aidoo, who was a member of the Consultative Assembly that drafted the Constitution, he characteristically described the Judge's labeling as “coming from an ignorant and loud mouth who doesn't know what went into the formulation of the 1992 constitutional provisions.”

Explaining his disagreement with the learned judge, Dr. Aidoo, a former University Lecturer and deputy minister for defence, said series of regional fora were held across the ten regions of the country to afford (ordinary) people the opportunity to voice their concerns over the system of government they would like the country to adopt for her democratic process.

“People were given the opportunity to make contributions as to what kind of provisions with respect to the structure of government, the constitutional institutions affecting matters of human rights and public administration,” he said.

According to Dr. Aidoo, it is the views collated during the various fora that the National Commission for Democracy, then headed by the late Justice D. F. Annan passed on to the Consultative Assembly.

These views and other proposals were examined, the pros and cons debated and considered by the assembly chaired by Nana (Dr.) S. K. B. Asante, and which included people of various backgrounds.

Dr. Aidoo said the broad consultations, debates and views that went into the work of the assembly do not qualify the outcome of that work, the 1992 Constitution to be labeled a Military-Imposed Constitution.

He noted that during the deliberations, members also consulted all previous constitutions of the country in addition those of other countries including USA, Great Britain, Australia and Canada.

The consultative assembly, Dr. Aidoo, benefited from a cross fertilization of ideas because it was composed of both professionals and non-professionals, and who were equally mandated to take proposed provisions back to their people to for their views.

According to Dr. Aidoo, there is no single chapter in the current constitution which was not considered either at the Consultative Assembly level or the plenary level.

“Transitional provisions included in the current constitution are not different from the transitional provisions in the 1979 one. The only difference was the inclusion of the PNDC in the clause dealing with indemnity.”

And all these proposed provisions, he said were again sent back for people to make their final inputs before it was subjected to a referendum by Ghanaians.

Dr. Aidoo therefore thinks that anybody who describes or labels the constitution negatively like Professor Kludze is simply ignorant of what actually went into its drafting.