Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu is of the opinion that considering the current circumstances, it would take several agitations and demonstrations to have the 1992 Constitution changed radically.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he explained that the constitution came into fruition only after many complaints and demonstrations embarked on by the average Ghanaians, hence to have it reviewed, the same tactics will need to be deployed.
“Let’s not forget the constitution itself did not come cheap. No, it took a lot of agitation. National Commission on Democracy had to go round the country soliciting views on the constitution and so on and so forth. So what I’m saying is that this document didn’t come cheap.
“It took a lot of agitation, demonstration and complaints before we got it so in the same way if we want to change it radically, it is going to take the same kind of agitation, complaints and agitation,” Mr Kpebu told Evans Mensah on Monday.
According to Mr Kpebu, the call for a review of the constitution is so because “right now the power is concentrated in one man’s hands and that’s not how we are socialized.”
“They cannot resist it for long. Their days are numbered. You see our society has changed so it doesn’t matter, it is not going to be on partisan lines. People can feel it. If you talk to people, the hardship they are feeling, they all say that it is possible we can have a better society if we can share this power. From the Chief’s palace, you see that the Chief has his elders. Generally, we are a communal society. We set up a democracy in such a way that power goes to one party – winner takes all and then the rest are left languishing. That is not a reflection of our communal society,” he added.
He shared similar views with Founder of the National Interest Movement, Foster Abu Sakara who later stated that the country is holding on to a fanciful definition of democracy, hence the current challenges.
“Our fanciful view of democracy is what is the problem because, at the end of the day, that democracy is to facilitate the development that creates a better condition for everybody to live in. It is not just for the purpose of having elections, positions and sharing the booty. That is not what it is about.
“What you call democracy today is not how democracy started. When Cromwell took over, he was a dictator for several years, even in the US you like to celebrate, when they formed the constitution, it was was at the point of a gun. What students of history must realize is that nations in their formative stages are like the welding of a sword. You have to put the stone in the furnace, melt, mould, hammer them it becomes a sword that cannot break but if you simply put them together, put a flag over it and call it whatever you want to call it, and it hasn’t gone through that process then you won’t have that transformation that it can achieve,” Mr Sakara explained.
According to him, having only a national development plan that spells out the responsibilities of government to the people is what can bring the growth needed.
However, that he said has not been the case as the political parties prioritize manifestos.
“If you entrench your constitution and you have six-year segments and you take your manifestos from the constitution, then you can have continuity. The point we are trying to make fundamentally is that if you have a national development plan entrenched in the constitution, whatever segments of government you want when a new administration comes, there are clear targets that are set in terms of transforming the country over a certain segment of period. What is up to you you now is to tell us, given our resources, how you will manage resources to achieve those targets.
“We have a situation where manifestos supersede national development plan and that means that essentially you have no direction and every government that comes chooses to go its own direction. Surely, it is clear and evident to you that you cannot have as much progress going forward as those who build cumulatively,” he bemoaned.
The Constitution Review Commission (CRC) set up in 2010 as a Commission of Inquiry to conduct a consultative review of the operation of the 1992 Constitution submitted its report in 2011. However, its recommendations have not seen the light of day.
Speaking to the matter, Mr Kpebu expressed dissatisfaction with the erstwhile NDC government for failing to implement the Committee’s recommendations.
Although he described it as disappointing, he noted that an injunction was held on the implementation after one Prof Kwaku Adare sought legal redress.
“In one word, it has been disappointing because even in the second term of the NDC administration, one would have thought that probably they would have begun implementation based on the government’s white paper.
Recently, President Akufo-Addo stated that the country needs to be cautious in its quest to review the 1992 Constitution.
But Mr Kpebu believes this is the time the President will have to listen.