The 1992 Constitution moved Ghana from a military dictatorship the PNDC led by its Chairman, Flt. Lt. J. J. Rawlings to a democratic form of government. Some have said that the 1992 Constitution was essentially designed and carefully chaperoned/guided to enable the replacement of the military dictatorship with dictatorship of a democratic kind, the dominance of an executive President. Along with that, the head of the military government, became the founder of a political party who then shed his military clothes for civilian ones but retained his stranglehold on the country. A well-orchestrated Constituent Assembly with representatives from all corners of Ghanaian society sat and debated a script meant to convince the military dictator to hand over power.
Hand over he did, to himself. And Transitional Provisions inserted into the Constitution protected the usurper of the people’s power and his accomplices from being held to account for their actions.
This is not unusual in Africa. Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Uganda are countries with military leaders turned civilian Presidents. The Egyptian military has ridden the back of a popular protest movement against its former President Moubarak and disenchantment with an elected civilian President Morsi to take over the country. Now the head of the army has resigned to prepare to run to become the next President of Egypt.
My opinion, formed through experience as an elected member of the KEEA District Assembly, Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister and Entrepreneur is that until we change the constitution to remove the dictatorship of the President, our liberties will remain under threat. The economy will continue to benefit a few with the vast majority of the people remaining very poor. Our current form and practice of democracy does not enable local initiative or enterprise. Everything revolves around the center, one person, in Accra and promotes dependency of the worst type. For this to change, the Constitution must be amended.
In January 2010, the President of Ghana, at the time the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, established the Constitution Review Commission as a separate entity. The Commission was formed to submit recommendations—in consultation with Ghanaian citizens—regarding amendments to the constitution. A report has been submitted to government, a White Paper published and an Implementation Committee formed. If Ghanaians do not get involved to reverse what is going on now, we would have wasted valuable time and money (more than $6 million and counting) on this Commission, and nothing significant will change.
Get involved. Let your voices be heard. Help make Ghana Great & Strong through the month of April, 2014, “Saturday Night with Dr. Nduom – Ghana Great & Strong” on www.hedjorleonlineradio.com will focus on the need to change the 1992 Constitution to make it work better for all Ghanaians. I will set the stage and subsequently invite Members of Parliament, NGOs, business people and many others to use this platform to discuss the need for change.
Papa Kwesi Nduom
March 29, 2014