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05.12.2005 General News

Kufuor re-affirms commitment to constitution

Kufuor re-affirms commitment to constitution
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Accra, Dec. 5, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Monday re-affirmed the Government's and his personal commitment to uphold and defend the tents of the 1992 Constitution.

"I, in the name of the almighty God, swore that I would be faithful and true to the Republic of Ghana; that I would at all times preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, and that I would dedicate myself to the service and well being of the people of the Republic of Ghana and to do right to all manner of persons.

"I further solemnly swear that should I at any time break the oath of office, I shall submit myself to the laws of the Republic of Ghana and suffer the penalty for it," President Kufuor stated at the Eighth National Governance Workshop on the 1992 Constitution in Accra.

President Kufuor, whose speech was read for him by Mr J. Ayikoi Otoo, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said: "This was the oath I swore on my assumption of office in January 2001 and having solemnly sworn to at all times to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and to submit myself to the Laws of the Republic and to suffer the penalty for breaking my oath, I do not intend to do anything which would be construed to mean going against my oath."

The workshop on the theme: "We the People of Ghana: Understanding and Living the Constitution at the Dawn of 50", was organised by the National Governance Programme (NGP) to serve as a platform for independent governance institutions, civil society groups, private sector operators and government to deliberate on the impact of the Constitution on democratic behaviours and practices.

It also seeks to forge consensus on the best way forward for constitutional development, collate and present comments and recommendations on the Constitution into the formal institutions for shaping national direction.

Focusing on the Constitution, President Kufuor said the 1992 Constitution revealed that its preamble set out in clear terms the aims and objectives of Ghana as a nation among the community of nations. President Kufuor noted that one of the main challenges facing the Ghanaian society today was how to support and deepen the democratic process.

He said while it was easier to put in place multiparty elective processes, the more difficult road to democracy was the development of durable institutions that would protect, defend and uphold democracy in a society where the tradition and culture of liberal democracy had not been the norm.

President Kufuor said unfortunately, many Ghanaians, including intellectuals, politicians, academicians and security agencies had exposed their ignorance of the principles and objectives of the 1992 Constitution in one way or the other.

This phenomenon, if allowed to continue for a long time, could be the bane that would destabilise the fledgling democracy hence the need for civic education and a challenge to every Ghanaian to be conversant with the basic knowledge of the Constitution, he said.

On the role of the media as enshrined in the Constitution, President Kufuor said the media, as the fourth estate of the realm, held the key to constitutional development and sustenance of the democratic dispensation in the country.

The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer B. Sekyi Hughes, chaired the workshop, which was attended by Ministers of State, Parliamentarians, Religious and Traditional Leaders, politicians, civil society groups, media practitioners and a cross-section of the public.

The 1992 Constitution highlights areas such as the territories of Ghana; citizenship; the laws of Ghana, fundamental human rights and freedoms; the directive principles of State policy; representation of the people; the executive; the Council of State; the Legislature and the Judiciary.

Others are freedom and independence of the Media, finance, the public service, the Police Service, the Prison Service, Armed Forces of Ghana, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice; National Commission for Civic Education, Decentralisation and Local Government, Lands and Natural Resources.