Ghana’s first Commissioner on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Francis Short says the 1992 fourth republican constitution is flawed in many ways and should be reviewed, ABC News can report.
According to Justice Short, some flaws which can be sighted in the document include the excessive power wielded by the President and a provision that allows the majority of ministers of state to be appointed from parliament.
The Former CHRAJ Boss who was speaking at the launch of a research report and a video documentary on the RTI journey in Ghana argued that those provisions have rendered the ‘weak’ oversight of the legislative body and therefore need to be addressed.
“I am urging the government to revive and resuscitate the constitutional amendment process. The constitution we have is flawed in so many respects. And we need to address certain provisions. For example, the provision that government can appoint the majority of ministers from parliament. That has rendered very weak parliamentary oversight of the executive. That provision has to be looked at critically. And then the excessive powers of appointment given to the president which has really made our politics so decisive. Both parties may not want to change it because they all want to exercise control. The opposition is in the wings waiting so they could also enjoy when it’s their turn to take over. So the responsibility lies with civil society to make sure that some of these changes are made,” he argued.
At the launch which also marked the international day for universal access to information by the CDD, Justice Short called for the speedy passage and resolution of the ‘conduct of public officers bill’ which according to him will help regulate activities of public officials.
He further suggested the formation of a coalition to help with the passage and ensure that effective provisions are contained in the legislation.
“I only want to make two points. I spoke about the conduct of public officers bill which I said is an extremely important piece of article in our legislation and I want to suggest that we also form a coalition with regard to this particular bill, it’s so important.
“Just as we have a coalition for the right to information, may I respectfully suggest that we have a coalition also not only for the speedy passing of the resolution but before that, to ensure that effective provisions are contained in the legislation. Because not all the provisions meet my expectations. The bill contains a provision which says that where you see yourself in a situation of conflict of interest, you must disclose your interest, but you must also state that you have recused yourself, that is a provision I think we should remove. Let’s ensure that we have effective and proper provisions in the bill before it is passed,” he noted.