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12.02.2010 General News

Professor Quashigah cautions against hasty constitutional review

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Professor Quashigah cautions against hasty constitutional review

February 12, 2010
Accra, Feb. 12 GNA - Professor Kofi Quashigah, Dean of the Faculty of Law, on Thursday, cautioned against any hasty attempt to review the 1992 constitution, without looking at the impact that it would have on the people.

He said a constitution grows not through amendments only but through the development of conventions and judicial interpretation, which are perhaps the best known and better means of effecting change.

Prof. Quashigah made this statement when he delivered a lecture at the 10 Anniversary launch and Commemorative lecture of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) in Accra.

The lecture which was on theme: "Constitutional reform and democratic governance in Ghana" attracted people from civil society groups, academia, private sector and Non-governmental organisations.

Prof. Quashigah said questions have been raised with regard to the review process as to the wisdom in subjecting virtually the whole constitution to a review rather than a whole new process for the creating of a new constitution if indeed that is what the nation wanted.

He said there is also the possibility of people getting confused in relation to the referendum questions on some of the entrench clauses in the 1992 constitution that may posed to them and the capacity to smoothly manage the review exercise.

He said in our attempt to create a strong executive body we should not create another monster that would tend to create problems for the country.

He said Ghanaians as a people have failed to develop the attitude of discipline to work within the democratic structures and that the review of the 1992 constitution would not necessarily change our circumstances.

Mr Alban Bagbin, former Majority Leader and Minister Designate for Water Resources, Works and Housing, commended IDEG for empowering Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and for creating platforms, which has enabled people to make informed decisions to the process of governance in the country.

He said the culture of democratic governance is still young in the country and more effort has to be put in place to entrench the practice in the country.

"We need to support institutions like IDEG, in deepening democratic governance in the country" he said.

He said that country does not always have to rely on the sale of cocoa and gold for development but on the achievements of a good democratic culture, which the nation could market to the rest of the world.

He suggested that the debate as to whether Metropolitan and District Chief Executives should be elected be included in the constitutional review process because of the important nature of the issue.

Prof. Florence Abena Dolphyne, Chairperson of the IDEG Governing Council said the 10 years of IDEG's existence have been very interesting and eventful, which has seen the country consolidating achievements made in the efforts towards multiparty democracy.

She said at the time the institute came into being, Ghana had successfully achieved a peaceful transfer of power from one ruling party to another and it was clear that Ghana had made progress in consolidating democratic system.

She said the rapid increase in the number of electronic and print media, mostly privately owned, provided avenues for vibrant engagements of civil society and policy makers over matters of concern to the citizenry.

She said despite the positive developments, progress in democratic governance had not translated into effective participation by the citizenry in the decision making process and that there was the need to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the country as a prerequisite for development.

Prof. Dolphyne said in order to effectively address these issues IDEG identified the need for policy research and interface activities to identify and address things that had frustrated progress in consolidating democracy, poverty reduction and accelerated growth.


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