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18.03.2009 Feature Article

Review Article 78 of our Constitution

Review Article 78 of our Constitution

The concept of the theory of separation of powers is to check the growth of absolute power in the hands of an individual or a group of individuals. History has shown that with absolute power concentrated in the hands of a few, there is a tendency of the few to use the power against the rights and liberties of individuals.

The concept is therefore meant to achieve effective control of the governmental machinery by those who govern. John Locke in his book “The Second Treatise on Civil Government” stated that, “the three arms of government must not get into one hand for it may be too great a danger for the same persons to have the power of making laws and executing them at the same time. Whereby they may exempt themselves from obedience of the law they make and suit the law both in its making and execution in their own interest.”

Wade and Phillips sort out the issue of separation of powers by saying that the same persons should not form part of more than one arm of government. They made it clear by saying that ministers should not sit in parliament.

From this brief history of Separation of Powers as propounded by John Locke, it is therefore clear that although Ghana is a democratic country, we should ask ourselves if the theory of democracy and separation of powers is being practiced.

Unfortunately, article (78) of our constitution makes it obligatory for a minister to sit in parliament. This allows a person to have two functions. Now the question is: “Can such an individual give his or her best to our nation”? Too much power has caused our leaders to be greedy and corrupted. This then calls for us to review our constitution only if we are actually practicing separation of powers. There's more ahead for us to achieve. We are still a developing country because of our inability to give out our best.

Let me state a clear example: A member of parliament, who also holds a ministerial position such as Minister for Foreign Affairs, can not be present in the United Kingdom and Ghana at the same time although his presence at both places might be equally important. He therefore has to send representatives to be present in Ghana while he attends to that of U.K. The question then is; can the sincerity, honesty and loyalty of these people be trusted?

I strongly believe that our ministers and members of parliament are competent but have so many loads to carry making them impossible to give out their best. Ghana, I believe can reach the goals she has set for herself. It's left to our leaders to be selfless and give out their best so that generations yet to be born wouldn't struggle for the best.

We need to set the ball rolling. It's better late than never. Let me borrow Barack Obama's words. YES WE CAN. Let's all come together as one nation with one voice and make Ghana a better place. YES WE CAN!!!

Credit: Jasmine Arku [Email: [email protected]]

Jasmine Arku
Jasmine Arku, © 2009

This author has authored 1 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: JasmineArku

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