Legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, is optimistic that the 2024 general elections will provide a space for intense deliberation of the 1992 Constitution and its proposed review.
He noted that President Akufo-Addo’s refusal to dismiss Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, despite several calls and a censure motion against the minister, will ensure a conversation on the review of the constitution during the campaign season ahead of the next polls.
“I can see that constitutional review is going to take front and centre of the election. It’s going to be front and centre.”
“A candidate to be able to win massively will have to promise us a quick constitutional review. We’ve seen that this constitution is no longer fit for purpose, we have to redesign it, cut down the powers of the executive President, make sure that parliamentarians will remain parliamentarians –they can’t be that cross-breed, so to speak,” he said.
The impeachment of the Finance Minister has added to the many reasons some Ghanaians hold the assertion that the constitution must be reviewed.
Article 82(5) of the 1992 Constitution states that “Where a vote of censure is passed against a Minister under this article, the President may, unless the Minister resigns his office, revoke his appointment as a Minister.”
Although a vote of censure is yet to be passed, the Minority in Parliament has moved the motion against the minister.
For some critics of the Finance Minister, this is enough to register the lack of confidence citizens have in Mr Ofori-Atta.
Despite the intense calls, President Akufo-Addo has made no move to rescind his appeal to Ghanaians that Mr Ofori-Atta be allowed to serve the country until it completes its negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, and he presents the 2023 Budget Statement.
Speaking on the power vested in the president with regards to the appointment and termination of appointments, Political Science Lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dr. Amoako Baah, noted that Mr Ofori-Atta may remain at post even if a vote of censure is passed against him.
According to him, the use of “may” in Article 82 Clause 5 of the constitution provides the president the opportunity to decide whether the Finance Minister should be fired or not despite Parliament’s decision.
He explained that with the use of “shall” the president would be forced by the laws governing the state to replace the current Finance Minister.
“Now we’re beginning to see. Everywhere you look in the constitution there is a problem so now we’re heading towards almost like a constitutional crisis. They vote for censure and he doesn’t resign and the President does not remove him, what happens?” he said.
Already, Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who also believes a review of the constitution is the best way to go, has clarified that the President has not pledged to sack Mr Ofori-Atta even after the country’s engagements with the IMF.
“The President did not say that. To quote his words, he said ‘let’s finish with this, the IMF and the budget thereafter, we should hold on until after these’”.
“’I will act’ may not necessarily mean that ‘I will do that’. According to what the President told us, you hold on until…so it could be that ‘I’ll come back to consider it’ or ‘I’ll give in to your demands’,” he explained.
This comes after some 80 Majority MPs met the President following their demand that Mr Ofori-Atta be replaced to restore confidence back into the economy.
Source: The Independent Ghana