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Minority in Parliament initiates move for review of 1992 constitution

Minority in Parliament has put together a motion demanding immediate steps to review the 1992 constitution.

The motion, expected to be moved when the house reconvenes at the end of the month will, among others, call for a bi-partisan approach.

Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu who confirmed this, said the equal numbers in parliament makes the time ripe for such a discussion.

The last review of the Constitution was in 2010 during the late President Mills era, but the outcome of that review was never implemented.

Speaking in an interview with Joy News’, the Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the call for review is “for the national interest to reign supreme and not partisan interest.”

Constitutional Review

Late President John Evans Atta Mills, on January 11, 2010, acting in accordance with Article 278 (1) of the Constitution, which confers on the President, powers to appoint a Commission of Enquiry into matters of public interest, inaugurated the Constitution Review Commission (CRC). The CRC was mandated to review the 1992 Constitution under the Constitution Review Commission of Enquiry Instrument 2010 (C.I. 64).

The CRC was tasked to collate the views of Ghanaians on which provisions of the 1992 Constitution required amendment. In executing its mandate, the CRC travelled all over the country to hold consultative fora with Ghanaians of all walks of life. As a result, it also received numerous memoranda on what provisions of the Constitution needed to be amended and even how the CRC should conduct its affairs.

In addition, it also engaged the services of experts to review the Constitution and make recommendations for reforms.

Presentation of report

The CRC worked for two years, and after analyzing all the submissions, as well as receiving expert opinions from both local and international consultants, it completed and presented its report to the Government on December 20, 2011.

After receipt of the report, as per Article 280 (3) of the Constitution, the Government, on June 15, 2012, gazetted a White Paper stating its position on the recommendations made by the commission.

After issuing the White Paper, the Government set up the Constitution Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) on October 2, 2012, to study further and engage with citizens and then implement the recommendations approved in the White Paper.

Time for an overhaul?

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu told JoyNews his side is convinced the Constitution needs adjustment to current realities. They mentioned decoupling the executive from the legislature and setting up an independent emolument committee among others, as key reforms.

“So this is an opportune moment for Ghana to review the 1992 Constitution thoroughly, so I look forward to the coming days of a Presidential Review Commission on the work that was done under President J. E. Mills.

“This is that time that we should embark on the needed constitutional reforms. We stand together in terms of parity of numbers and strength, and this is where we can do a meaningful adjustment to the 1992 Constitution to serve the people of Ghana,” he added.

Touching on critical areas where reform is expected, he said: “there are those who are convinced about decoupling ministers from being members of the parliament. Some believe in the establishment of the independent emolument committee.

“I just think that primarily, unless President Nana Addo has some fundamental disagreement, he should respect the white paper that president Mills issued as president of Ghana on the constitutional review report or further review it and improve upon it.”

Well, speaking to the Ghana anti-corruption coalition members in August, President Akufo Addo said the presidency could not initiate the review process. He’s also unconvinced about a wholesale review of the constitution.

“I don’t believe the constitution is the work of the president of the republic for the president to decide in the comfort of his study that he is satisfied that there must be a review of the Constitution and by that process engage the process of constitutional review. And if anything else at all, it should be the very least of parliament of the republic at any one given time, to stand forward and say these are matters which we think should engage the public attention so that there can be a collective, but for the president to say he is satisfied that there ought to be a review and therefore engages the process, I thought it was flawed.”

He added: “I said it to the constitutional review committee to have a republic that had lasted nearly 30 years in the context of our history. To change the constitutional arrangement that has assisted this durability, we should be careful how we go about it.”


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