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Majority leader advocates new constitutional order

Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu
Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, has advocated a new constitutional order that will mitigate the winner-takes-all syndrome.

That, he said, would go a long way to prevent the do-or-die combat associated with the nation’s elections.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu made the appeal on Wednesday at the launch of the 30th Anniversary Celebration of Ghana’s Parliamentary Democracy.

The event, on the theme: “The Fourth Republic: The Journey Thus Far,” was under the chairmanship of Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin.

Among the dignitaries were Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, the Chief of Staff and two former Speakers: Mr Edward Korbly Doe Adjaho and Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu suggested that Ghana needed a new constitutional order to prevent the constant increase in the numbers of seats in Parliament.

“We need a new constitutional order that will put a cap on the numbers of ministers of state,” he said.
“A new order to ensure that the Speaker of Parliament is a serving member of Parliament and Ghana’s Parliament does not remain one of the nine parliaments in the world whose speakers are not members of Parliament.”

The new constitutional order should accord Parliament the financial independence required to stand on its feet and liberate it to perform its legislative functions without impediments, intended or unintended.

The new order should give birth to an economic paradigm, which would engender wealth creation, entrepreneurial spirit and talent development as well as jobs for the people, especially the youth.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the Fourth Republic did not come to Ghanaians on a silver platter, adding that Ghanaians of all shades and persuasions fought for it after several years of military rule.

He noted that the military regimes had not yielded much development to the citizens in any part of the world.
Countries where military regimes had been lauded as liberators, redeemers, and defenders were based on whether they were provisional or transitional.

“The consequences of their misrule – violation of individual freedoms and abuse of human rights in totality, far outweigh their achievements.”

“We will play ostriches if we claim that the justifications, real or imaginary, for which military juntas intervened in the governance of this country have been totally eradicated,” he said.

“Neither can we also claim that our aspirations as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution have been achieved in their entirety. However, we have major achievements to show.”

Thirty years into the Fourth Republic, the country was still grappling with issues of poverty, youth unemployment, chieftaincy conflicts, economic hardships, vigilantism, insecurity of all forms and corruption in public life, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.

“Yet, we can also not claim that attempts have not been made by the political leadership in the thirty years of our democratic dispensation under the 4th Republic to address many of them.”

He said Ghanaians had established institutions and also provided mechanisms to deliver public goods and that the 1992 Republican Constitution had, no doubt, served some good in the last three decades.

However, some assumptions underpinning some provisions no longer held or were not supported by current socio-political realities, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, adding that that underlay the call by various stakeholders for a review of the 1992 Constitution.

He commended the forebears of the Fourth Republic – civil society organisations, media and the ordinary Ghanaian, who bequeathed to the country the current political dispensation.

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