Justice Professor Sir Dennis Dominic Adjei, a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and Justice of the Court of Appeal proposes that, one of the most crucial issues to be considered should there be any amendment to the constitution, should be the placing of fetters on the President’s power to dismiss without consulting the body or bodies whose advice was sought before the appointment.
Justice Professor Adjei was speaking on Thursday 25 November 2021 on the topic: Bolstering other Arms of State as counterpart to Executive Power on day two of a symposium hosted by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on the theme; The 1992 Constitution: Fitness for Purpose in the 21st Century.
He said the Constitution also empowers the President to appoint the Chairmen and members of the independent constitutional and other bodies, including the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen and other members of the Electoral Commission acting on the advice of the Council of State. Adding that the importance of the independent Constitutional bodies as laid out in the Constitution, was to control the unrestrained powers of the Executive and to deepen the nation’s democracy, therefore, the objective for creating the independent constitutional bodies would be defeated, where the President has unfettered powers to dismiss them without assigning any reason.
Under the 1992 Constitution, the President appoints public office holders acting in accordance with the advice of the governing council in question in consultation with the Public Services Commission. He can also dismiss them without the advice of the governing council in question.
He said Ghana’s Constitution is a living organism capable of growth and the courts in discharging their constitutional duties shall interpret it purposively to meet the needs of the time.
He said the Supreme Court as the watchdog of the Constitution should be able to stand against all the constitutional infractions brought against the executive, legislature, and all other persons to maintain the supremacy of the Constitution (Read the full paper here).
Speaking on the same platform, Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Chairperson of Star-Ghana Foundations and former Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies, said the local government system envisaged by the 1992 Constitution and the purposes for which it was instituted is yet to be realized for many reasons including very starkly, incomplete administrative and financial decentralization which has not facilitated democratic participation. She said over the three decades of implementation of the assembly system, the world has changed and Ghana’s local governance must be more responsive and relevant, otherwise, local authorities risk becoming irrelevant.
She spoke on the sub-topic Promoting Local Governance, Decentralization, and Democratic Engagement.
She said “the 1992 Constitution was intended to provide a new direction of hope for the nation of Ghana” and that “thirty years later, the model for local governance certainly needs retooling to achieve the vision of effective, self-financing, representative, democratic and developmental local authorities”.
She cautioned that the range of corrective measures demands an overhaul and bold action rather than incremental changes and advised that the commonalities and consensus issues that emerge from the views of the Ghanaian people must be taken on board eschewing arbitrariness, partisan expediency, and short-term gains from this venture to secure the “governments at the door-steps of the people” (Read the full paper here).