"Use Constitution to address the problems of the people," Prof. Kwasi Prempeh
The Director of Governance and Legal Policy at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, (CDD-Ghana), Prof. Kwasi Prempeh has called on governance stakeholders to use the opportunity provided by the constitutional review exercise to solve the governance problems of the country.
He said Ghana must learn from the rich experiences of countries that have inherited similar legal and bureaucratic institutions from their colonial masters, but have used their constitutions to appreciably resolve areas of conflict, thereby promoting good governance practices.
Professor Kwasi Prempeh, who is a governance expert, and a research fellow at CDD-Ghana made the observation at a roundtable discussion on the topic: “The Kenyan Constitutional Reform Process: Lessons for Ghana,” organized by the National Constitutional Reform Coalition.
He stated that the Kenyan Constitution has several good provisions that Ghana may study for its own constitution review. Commenting on the process of reviewing the constitution, he contrasted the Kenyan Constitution review exercise (which was set up by an Act of Parliament) with that of Ghana, which was established by a Presidential Commission of Enquiry. He said the preference for the former is obvious as it frees the members from any form of executive control.
He said the Kenyan Constitution addressed the problem of an all powerful executive president (which Ghana is battling to overcome) by delegating power to the local government and provinces. Thus, issues relating to local government are administered by local governing authorities.
Particularly striking about the Kenyan Constitution is its use of simple language that leaves no room for obscurity. The language is so clear, and the various provisions are so well defined that it is relatively easy to interpret.
Prof. Prempeh noted that unlike Ghana, the Council of State, under the Kenyan Constitution does not represent government. On the contrary, it is used as a vehicle to give voices to the people. Some of the other interesting provisions include article 135, which mandates the president to put his decisions in writing under the presidential seal and signature to avoid impersonation or abuse of by anyone.
Participants at the roundtable included Members of Parliament, constitutional experts, and members of the National Constitutional Reform Coalition, (NCRC), civil society institutions and the media. It was co-chaired by Justice VCRAC Crabbe, and Prof. S.O. Gyandoh, Co- Chairmen of the NCRC.