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25.01.2010 General News

Organize public hearings on constitutional review process

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A legal practitioner, Mr Rudolf Amenga-Etego, has called for public hearings to be organized in all regional capitals for the constitutional review process.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga at the weekend, the legal practitioner said such hearings would give the process a more nationalistic impetus.

He explained that since the process would require the multiplicity of views as to what should be contained in the constitution or otherwise, it was very paramount to get broader views from the general public.

Mr Amenga-Etego, who is also the Executive Director of Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa (GrassRootsAfrica), indicated that it was only through the decentralization of the public hearing that true and fair representation of the people's views could be captured.

"A national assignment like the Constitutional Review should be considered seriously and given the necessary attention by extending it to other parts of the country to seek the opinions from the people," he said, adding that the proposal made by the Constitutional Review Commission that people could submit their views through electronic mails and telephones were not enough.

He suggested that the Constitutional Review Commission could mandate officials at the regional levels to take up the exercise on their behalf if they could not do all that by themselves.

The Executive Director of the GrassRootsAfrica commended Government for initiating the review of the constitution and responding to society's need to change.

He said there were lots of clauses in the constitution which needed to be amended to meet the current legal needs of the country.

Mr Amenga-Etego cited the appointment of Ministers from Parliament for example, saying that such an element in the constitution, which gave power to the President to do so needed to be reviewed.

He said "this practice in the first place puts a burden on Members of Parliament (MPs) in the execution of their duties since they had to attend to their duties as MPs and as Ministers".

Mr Amenga-Etego further indicated that the practice also gave the President too much power to operate and also compromised the independence of the organs of Government.

He called on Ghanaians, especially constitutional experts to actively participate in the exercise to contribute to make it successful to effectively nurture the country's growing democracy.

He noted that the review exercise would bring a lot of positive changes and developments to the country, which would send out a signal to the international world that Ghana was growing.

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