Dean of the School of Law at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Professor Kofi Abotsi, says the biggest problem facing Ghana’s constitutionalism is the corroding and corrupting power of partisan politics.
According to him, it appears the framers of the 1992 constitution had underestimated the power of partisan politics to exploit, abuse, and corrupt the constitution to serve their parochial interests.
“I think if you look at, for example, the provision on political parties starting from Article 55 onwards, you get a sense that there was a certain general assumption that political parties and political parties forming governments will naturally act in the best interest of Ghanaians,” he said on JoyFM’s Super Morning Show. Prof. Abotsi said the framers had seemingly ignored the history of political parties in Ghana, and underestimated how their nature could adversely impact governance and governance structures in the country. “I think what the framers of the constitution perhaps underestimated is the nature of our political party history. There is a certain serious historical problem of our political parties in Ghana which started all the way from UGCC. And you’d be surprised that those historical dynamics are with us today,” he said.
“They continue to reflect in the relationships of the parties as what we have is the tendency for these parties to dig in and create sectionalism in which members of certain political parties when they’re in power it is their time and when they’re out of power whoever comes it is their time.
“And there’s the tendency of us against them and there’s the tendency of a cycle in which there’s a benefit – this cycle is over the new cycle begins, and these new cycle members of that party enjoy,” he added. He concluded that while there have been recent agitations for constitutional reforms, those reforms will eventually be faced with the same problems the current constitution is faced with.
According to him, no constitution is perfect as they can be circumvented by human ingenuity.
“So if you ask me the problem fundamentally it’s not the constitution, the constitution reform can only do so much. Look, no matter how much you engineer constitutions, lawyers spend their time dissecting and understanding the weakness of the new design and you would invariably find the weaknesses of the new design,” he said.
Source: Cornerlis Kweku Affre