The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has called for the amendment of the 1992 Constitution before the next Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2024.
The Party said amendments would eliminate loopholes that created opportunities for corruption for rapid socio-economic development.
Mr Richard Nii Amarh, the Executive Director of PPP at a press conference in Accra, said the Party had proposed five fundamental changes and had made representations to the Constitutional Review Commission, Constitutional Review Implementation Committee, the Presidency, the Parliament and Council of State on the issues but ” all fell on deaf ears”.
“Various elected governments have demonstrated a clear lack of political will to make the necessary changes to our 1992 Constitution,” he asserted.
Mr Amarh said Articles 242(d) and Articles 243(1) and 243(3) must be amended to return power to the people for all Ghanaians to directly elect their district, municipal and metropolitan chief executives without any interference from the President and also cancel government appointees into the District Assemblies.
He added that Members of Parliament (MPs) whose job was to pass legislation had arrogated to themselves the role of development agents with no constitutionally allocated resources, adding, “the result is that MPs have resorted to all kinds of unorthodox ways and policy violations to attempt to bring some piecemeal development to the people”.
He added that Article 78(1) must also be amended to prohibit Members of Parliament from being appointed as Ministers of State or MPs must resign from Parliament after their ministerial appointment.
Mr Amarh added that they were strongly advocating for the concept of strict separation of power as the current arrangement where the 1992 Constitution by design bequeathed Parliament to the Executive had hampered Parliament’s ability to exact accountability from the Executive on behalf of the people.
He said Article 88 of the Constitution should be amended to strengthen the office of Attorney-General by separating it from the Ministry of Justice, adding that the Officer must not be a Minister of State or a member of the government.
“We believe that making the Attorney-General a Minister of State compromises his or her ability to fight and prosecute political corruption. The failure of the Special Prosecutor’s Office and its lack of independence is clear to the Ghanaian electorate by now,” he said.
Mr Amarh said Article 286(1) and 286(3) should also be revised to introduce a Public Declaration of Assets Regime as another tool in the fight against corruption.
He said the current process where the Assets Declaration forms and its contents were concealed was not effective and that they agreed with the recommendation of the Constitutional Review Commission for a new Assets Declaration Regime where the completed forms would be published and could be accessed by any interested citizen for the purpose of verification.
Mr Amarh also called for Article 94(2)(a) to be amended to clarify the eligibility of Ghanaians in the Diaspora to hold Public Office.
He said the amendment of the Constitution to clarify and allow Ghanaians living in the Diaspora to be fully eligible to participate in the democratic process would ensure full citizenship, rights to Ghanaians living abroad so that they could vote and serve in public sector positions.
“There is no justification whatsoever to deny our kith and kin such rights when they pour into our economy huge sums of foreign exchange by way of remittances to family and friends,” he said.
Mr Amarh said the Party intended to roll out a national programme to demand the immediate amendments necessary for the progress of the country, adding that, they would seek collaboration with civil society organisations and other democratic institutions interested in constitutional amendments for good governance and more democratic gains.