Home Opinion Nemesis Of Ghana’s Constitution Part 3-Total Number Of Ministers

Nemesis Of Ghana’s Constitution Part 3-Total Number Of Ministers

Constitution Of Ghana
Constitution Of Ghana

Matters on the 1992 Constitution have been on the front burner since 2009 and the situation led to the establishment of a Constitution Review Commission (CRC) in January 2010 which consulted Ghanaians on the review of the Constitution. The CRC came out with a report after spending about Six million Dollars. Unfortunately, the report is accumulating cobwebs and dust whilst the citizens and their leaders are still engaged in fruitless conversations on the Amendment of the Constitution. What a shame.

This submission has become necessary because Since 2009, notwithstanding the Academic statures and or Political experiences of the discussants, most of the public discourses on the provisions of 1992 are full of derogatory statements as well as the mistaken belief that the Constitution was written to protect the interest of Rawlings and not of Ghana so a group called for the jettison of the Constitution.

Thus it sounds like abusing the integrity and intelligence of the framers of the 1992 Constitution, even though unlike the previous Constitutions associated with one regime and aside from the first Republic, the others did not even last for up to four years in contrast to the 1992 Constitution which has anchored the Fourth Republic for over 30 years.

This situation has thus revealed a very poor appreciation of the Constitutional intentions of the framers of the 1992 Constitution as the establishment of a system of Democratic government which they based on the lessons learned from the Socioeconomic and Political History of Ghana and not by the whims and fancies of the framers nor to satisfy Flt Lt JJ Rawlings, the then Chairman of the PNDC.

So, by the wisdom of the framers, the Features of the Constitution include National harmony or cohesion and Stability, Probity, Transparency, and Accountability, besides the usual Universal Adult suffrage, Preservation of fundamental human Rights and Freedom otherwise Liberty.

So, the original intent of the framers of the 1992 Constitution is to ensure National Cohesion, National Stability, and National Harmony by systems and or Political Structures that ensure the effectiveness of the state apparatus with the strong presence of national authority throughout the National or political framework.

It must be noted that every Democratic State or Republic Country is made of the Civilian Government or Authority and Military Leadership or Authority with the Military Authority under the control of or subordinate to the Civilian Authority through the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and his delegates.

To ensure effective and efficient government machinery the Constitution delineates three governmental systems namely (1). National government or Central Government Machinery (2). The next layer is the Regional Government Systems and lastly (3) The District Governance system with District Assemblies, Metropolitan and or Municipal Assemblies.

(1). National government or Central Government Machinery;
This level has the President as the Head of State, Head of Government or National Chief Executive with his or her Cabinet Ministers, and the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces thus as the Chairman of the National Security Council with membership including the CDS and the Security Services Commanders of Army, Navy, Air force. Other Members include the Head of Police or IGP with two others including the Director General of CID as well as the Director General of Prison, the Commissioner of CEPS, etc.

Within the National Governmental System is Parliament which among others for enacting National laws and also in the National Governmental System is the Supreme Court the highest stratum of the Judiciary.

Because the Constitution does not require paper qualification for the President, the Vice President, and Members of Parliament/Ministers, common sense made the framers of the Constitution provide Constitutional Advisors to the President though their recommendations are not binding on the President. These include the Council of State, National Development Planning Commission (pseudo or de facto Ministry of Economy Planning or Constitutional Mandated Economy Management Team with the Minister of Finance solely responsible for providing the revenue or the budget or revenue and expenditure.

Pardon me for digressing with the term Minister of Finance. It simply implies that the said Minister is to provide funding for the budget of the Government of Ghana as approved by Parliament, so to say that the Minister of Finance has procured too many loans demonstrates a lack of appreciation of the Constitutional issues since taxes and loans for the budget as the budget of the Government of Ghana for each fiscal year is approved by Parliament.

So, the Minister of Finance is doing the work of financing the budget for Parliament, the Judiciary, and the Executive as well as that of the Independent Constitutional or Executive Bodies, hence he reads the Budget of the Ghana Government to the Hon MPs in Parliament on behalf of the President as the Head of State. The National Governance or Central Government Machinery requires cabinet Ministers including the Minister of Finance, Minister for Defence, Minister for Interior, Minister for Trade and Industry, Minister for Agric, and others totaling 19.

(2). The next layer is the Regional Government Systems.
This level is with a Regional Minister as the Regional Rep of the President as the Regional Chief Executive or Chairman of the Regional Coordinating Council with membership including the Regional Heads of decentralized Ministries in the Region and he acts as the Chairman of the Regional Security Council with the Regional Security Heads as Members. Hence need for Regional Ministers cannot be overstressed.

Within this level are two Courts of Appeal one each for the Northern and Southern Sectors at Kumasi and Accra respectively. Each Region is supposed to have at least a High Court otherwise High Courts with different divisions including Labour, Land, Matrimonial, and Divorce. Also in the Regions are Circuit Courts and District Courts.

The Regional Security Councils with the Regional Minister as Chairman are for dealing with Security and Safety issues in the Region, hence they also serve as a mechanism for Alternative Dispute Resolutions or calming down nerves in Communities. I am saying this based on facts because of my experiences as one time as an active member of the Western and Central Regional Security Councils which saw my active participation in the resolutions of numerous Communities and Labour concerns or conflicts especially affecting Mining Companies and at times Chieftaincy issues affecting the peace and security of the Region. So the requirement of Regional Ministers is sine qua non.
So, with the current tension in the Tema Enclave, the President and the Minister for Defence have no say aside from monitoring the situation. So the celebrated Captain Dr Tamakloe (rtd) got it wrong when he blamed the Minister of Defence for not publicly acting on the matter.

It is rather the Regional Minister and members of the Regional Security Council and the District Security Council as the Constitutional mandated or appropriate systems to help diffuse the tension between the Naval Base and their Community at Tema Manhean in the Tema enclave.

The Defence Minister with the support of the CDS/Navy Commander (Chief of Nava Staff) and the Army Commander monitors the situation briefs the President and leaves the issues to the REGSEC and DISEC to resolve or act accordingly and submit a Situational Report and any related criminal issue is to be handled by CID or Police and the prosecution in Court if necessary through the Office of the Attorney General. Otherwise a Commission of Inquiry into the incident by the President or Parliament. Hence need for Regional Ministers.

The District Governance System. The Rep of the President at the District Governance System is the District Chief Executive who doubles as the Chairman of the District Security Committee with Membership including the District Heads of State Security Agencies and the Military Rep from the Ghana Army. The District Assembles among others is to enact bye-laws and ensure development in a peaceful and stable environment.

Recommended number of Ministers for Constitutional Amendment
Unlike the 1979 Constitution which at Section 3 of Article 65 of the 1979 Constitution decreed that the total number of Ministers of State including Cabinet Ministers shall not be more than 30, the 1992 Constitution decreed the number of Cabinet Ministers as not less than 10 and not more than 19, is silence on the total number of Ministers and this has given room for unwise creation of too many Ministries by successive regimes in the Fourth Republic. Due to public outcry on the state of affairs, the Flag Bearers of the NPP and NDC are speaking on the need to reduce the national budget by the reduction of the number of Ministers of State when elected.

The above narrations revealed that except the Legislature, a Constitution hence the 1992 Constitution delineates the other Arms of Government namely the Judiciary and Executive into National, Regional, and District Level to deal with the Conflicting interests of the various Communities. At the National level is the President and his cabinet with his Subordinates with delegated executive powers at the Regional level as Regional Ministers and at the District level as DCEs. From this, it is very clear that Ghana needs Cabinet Ministers and Regional Ministers.

So suggesting the abolishing of Regional Ministers demo affected persons are naïve on Constitutional or Political matters for effective and efficient governance or government. Regional Ministers are the Fulcrums around whom regional development gyrates. Regional Ministers are to oversee the administration of the region by coordinating and directing the government machinery in the Region. They are also to ensure peace and stability by proactively and decisively dealing with any threats to peace and stability in the Region. So need for Regional Ministers.

The National Security Units or Agencies or Establishments be it the Military, the Police, or NIB (formerly BNI) are organized in the same pattern or level of governance by hierarchical Command structures into District Command, Regional Command, and National Command. To ensure national harmony and stability the

Elected Civilian Authority must control the power of the sword. The recent event of the manhandling of the Metro Chief Executive of Sekondi/Takoradi by the Police under the Sekondi/Takoradi Metro Security Council with him as the Chairperson and the attack of some parts of Ashaiman by the Military with helicopter support due to the death of one of them authenticate this political direction of Civilian Authority control of the Security should not be an issue of public debate.

Asking for Parliamentary approval of the appointment of the CDS, Service Commanders, the IGP, etc will not be good besides adding cost to cost since loyalty to the Constitution, hence to the Head of State, who is seemingly the embodiment of the Constitution. Note the overthrow of the Head of State in a Coup is synonymous with the overthrow of the Constitution) is the sine qua non. This is so since their Organizations are part of the Executive and as political tools to help the Head of State enforce and maintain law and order or peace and public safety.

Thus the National Security System is organized into the same pattern with the National Security Council chaired by the President, the Regional Security Council chaired by the Regional Minister, and the District Security Committee chaired by the DCE. So, recommending the abolishing of Regional Ministers by the IEA sounds naïve, so the affected persons need to revise their notes on democratic governance or government or political science.

So the Constitution should be amended to read (otherwise subsequent regimes after that of President Nana Addo should appoint) 20 Cabinet Ministers including the Minister of Justices and Regional Ministers for the existing or pertaining Regions with the Regional Ministers as the Political Heads. So with the current 16 Regions, the number of Ministers should not exceed 36 (the fixed 19 Cabinet Ministers and the variable number of Regional Ministers in line with Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution on creation, Alteration, or Merger of Regions. We need to peg the number of Regions to not less than 10 Regions and not more than 16 Regions.

A Constitution disallows the abrogation of the structure or form of Government. It is permissible in our Constitution to do away with Deputy Ministers because the language used is that the President may appoint (optional) but the President shall appoint Regional Ministers as essential elements of Local or Regional Government. So the attempt to abolish part of the Local Government level at Regions by recommending for the scrapping of the Post of Regional Ministers is a treasonable offense per the language of the Constitution in Article 3 of the 1992 Constitution subsection (3) (a).

On the other hand, Chapter 20 of the Constitution is very clear. It speaks on the Decentralization and local Government at the Regions with matters on Regional Ministers in Article 255 at Clause (1) Section (a) and Article 256 at Clause (1) (a) this last one is a Constitutional imperative hence the President shall appoint the Regional Minister as the Rep of the President at the Regional Government level.

Appointment of Deputy Ministers is not Constitutional imperative so it is optional. Studies of the state of affairs have shown that Deputy State Ministers cannot sit for the Substantive Minister. For example, Deputy Minister Francisca Oteng Mensah as the Deputy to Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo Esq was not constitutionally qualified to sit for her boss when the boss was absent for almost one year. None of the two Deputy Ministers of Finance was permitted to read the Budget in Parliament during the leave of absence of Hon Ofori Attah when as a Minister of Finance. So why the waste in appointing Deputy Ministers?

So the recommendation by the CCRC as established by the IEA to cap the number of Ministers at not more than 25 Ministers for Ghana as proclaimed is very wrong. The Constitution is clear in Article 256 that there shall be Regional Ministers (almost equivalent to State Governors in other Nations’ Constitutions) and Ghana currently has 16 Ministers. The only difference is that the Governors are elected by the people but in our case Regional Ministers are appointed by the President on behalf of the people and confirmed by their Representatives in Parliament.

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