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National Constitution Forum Held in Tamale

2006-11-08 21:48:05
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The coordinator of the National Governance Programme, Mrs. Leonora Kyerematen has observed that the 1992 Constitution could impact on our democratic behaviours and practices, if concerns already articulated by experts and civil society were given the chance to enter the formal policy dialogue process.

According to the Coordinator, though civil society organizations, academic institutions and individuals had commented over the years on the Constitution, very little of their recommendations had made its way into the formal institutions, for shaping national direction, describing the few changes made in the Constitution as fairly mundane or unexciting.

Mrs. Kyerematen was speaking at the National Constitutional Forum of the National Governance Programme, which was under the theme: "We the People of Ghana: Understanding and Living the Constitution at the dawn of 50" here in Tamale.

The workshop was to bring together diverse opinions on how certain aspects of the Constitution impact on our daily lives and to chart ways for development through the Constitution.

According to her, there was the need for the nation to synthesize the body of knowledge about the workings of the Constitution, as had been observed in the past 13 years of democratic rule.

This she said would position the country to move forward in an informed manner.

Mrs. Kyerematen emphasized that the Governance Programme was seeking to concretize the ongoing debate on the impact of the structures and content of the Constitution, particularly on issues of democracy, participation and inclusiveness, separation of powers, accountability, enhancement of political, social and economic rights, poverty reduction and sustainable human development.

She added that the greater majority of Ghanaians deserved to share the philosophy behind the document driving our open society, as the 50th landmark of independence approaches. In welcoming the participants at the Forum, the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris described the workshop as important and timely to provide platform for Parliament, the Executive, the Judiciary, Civil society and the citizenry at large to reflect on and share experiences pertaining to Ghana's 13 years of democratic constitutional rule within the fourth Republic.

According to him, the Constitution represented the very heart of the survival of the country and its people and also provides framework for governance and development in this country and therefore expressed the need for the Constitution to adopt new circumstances to enable Ghanaians face up to the challenges of the 21st Century.

He was optimistic that discussions on the Constitution would help revitalize Ghana's commitment to the democratic development and consolidation. It would also eliminate significant conflicts and contradictions among some of its key provisions and achieve greater clarity and coherence.

"Since January 7, 1993 when the 1992 Constitution came into force, it has undergone a number of minor amendments which generally have not affected its substances or essence. In short, Ghana 's Constitutional development reflects the history of Ghana itself, its progression into a self-governing democracy, and emerging ideas and conditions. Therefore, serious discussion on the Constitution may be warranted in order to harmonize some of its provisions with contemporary and enduring aspirations of Ghanaians or align some of the provisions with current acceptable developments in the international political arena," Alhaji Mustapha said.


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