29.06.2004 General News

Re-examine current Constitution-Kludze

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Accra, June 29, GNA - Professor Justice Kodzo Paaku Kludze, Supreme Court Judge, on Monday proposed that changes be made in the present Constitution to enhance good governance.

Making the proposal at this year's Sarkodie-Agyepong-Koranteng-Addow Memorial Lectures in Accra, Justice Kludze stated that the sovereignty of Ghanaians could be re-established or re-asserted only if a Constituent Assembly or a Constitutional Convention was convened to examine the Constitution.

The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) instituted the lectures 22 years ago in memory of three distinguished High Court Judges who were picked from the comfort of their various homes and murdered at the Bundase Military Range on the night on June 30, 1982.

The three were shot together with a retired Army Officer, Major Sam Acquah, and their bodies doused with petrol and set on fire. Justice Kludze suggested that the people should elect a Constitutional Convention on usual universal adult suffrage, with representations from the different segments of the social strata. He also suggested the representation of professional bodies, traditional rulers, political traditions and parties. The Supreme Court Judge stated that even if the 1992 Constitution had no apparent flaws, it would still be desirable to re-examine that Document.

He urged major political parties in the country to take advantage of a Constitutional Convention or Constituent Assembly to evaluate the 1992 Constitution in the light of experiences over the period since 1992.

"The Constitutional Convention or Constituent Assembly can make recommendations for removing bottlenecks and administrative constraints, which have become apparent since the promulgation of the Constitution." He was of the view that a Constituent Assembly or Constitutional Convention would establish legitimacy for any new version of the Constitution that would emerge.

The legitimacy, he said, would derive from the will of the people expressed in a free and fair referendum, without the threat of military reprisal hanging around them like the sword of Damocles. He suggested that if changes to the Constitution became necessary, the machinery of the current one might be used to amend the relevant provisions.

Justice Kludze stated that a new Constitution might be proposed to Ghanaians if it appeared that the difficulties with the present Constitution were too enormous to conveniently allow for piece-meal amendments.

"If a new Constitution is agreed, the modalities for its promulgation may also be proposed by the Constitutional Convention or Constituent Assembly, to ensure maximum acceptability, " he suggested. Among those present at the first-day of the lecture were Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Attorney - General and Minister of Justice, Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Chief Justice, and Mr Paul Adu-Gyamfi, President of the Ghana Bar Association.

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