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12.04.2010 General News

Ghanaians abroad making more proposals to Constitutional Review Commission

By myjoyonline
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Most of constitutional amendment proposals submitted to the Constitutional Review Commission have come from Ghanaians abroad.

The Executive Secretary of the commission, Dr Raymond Atuguba, disclosed this in an interview on the Joy FM Super Morning Show.

He says efforts are being made to step up public education campaign to get more Ghanaians to make suggestions for constitutional amendments.

The work of the nine-member commission was stalled soon after it was inaugurated on 11 January by President Mills.

It is charged with making relevant suggestions and recommendations to the the President for possible implementation.

“We functioned under serious constraints, that's why we couldn't immediately start the work but now we are starting,” Dr Atuguba said.

The commission will by April 19, move into communities and districts in five regions – Upper East, Northern, Brong-Ahafo, Eastern and Volta Regions, Dr Atuguba indicated.

The commission has in-house researchers to assist in the process of collating the various submissions both from home and abroad.

Suggestions pouring into the commission's office have included putting a ceiling to the number of Judges at the Supreme Court and decoupling of the offices of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice portfolio.

18-year-old document
After 18 years of successful multi-party democracy, Ghanaians are bracing themselves to review the Fourth Republican Constitution.

Following Cabinet's approval of a memorandum on the consultative review, government has established an independent body to spearhead the process.

The newly formed Constitutional Review Commission is expected to conduct public hearings across the 10 regions of Ghana. The review process will not lead to the rewriting of the constitution but will ensure that recommendations for amendments to the constitution will be made to government. A draft Bill will also be provided for possible amendments.

The commission has already been inundated with petitions from the public.

"Every single petition before the commission will be carefully examined. The issues raised are very valid," said Dr. Raymond Atuguba, a legal practitioner, and executive secretary of the commission. The petitions received to date vary and include calls for a review of the powers of the executive.

He said the number of petitions received by the commission shows the extent to which the public was looking forward to the review.

Calls to review the constitution became pronounced during the 2008 general elections, with almost all the contesting political parties promising to allow Ghanaians make input to the process.

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