The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, Senyo Hosi has called for urgent reforms in the country’s Constitution.
Giving the keynote address at a public lecture on the topic “Avoiding the impending death of the 1992 Constitution”, Mr. Hosi argued that the Constitution, in its current form, breeds corruption.
“Needless to say, our constitution created a President [who], for want of a better expression, [is] a ‘democratic dictator’. Respectfully, while the crafters of the constitution may have considered this structure necessary for a smooth transition from military rule to democracy, it has become the bedrock of our problems. This structure has created a winner-take-all system that has ensured an adversarial democracy (an unending NDC vs. NPP war) and not a consensual democracy.“
“It has made it possible for the executive to unfairly utilize the powers of the state against any adversary it identifies. With so much power in one arm of government, the reality of Lord Acton’s views comes to play, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts, absolutely. Hence, meritocracy and institutional development have given way to political fanaticism and social corruption.”
“Distinguished guests, the truth that ought to be told is this: corruption is the currency for our democracy. Do not be fooled, under this constitution, corruption will go nowhere. It is what keeps the wheels of our democracy moving.”
“No wonder that the corruption perception index has grown from 33 in 1998 to 43 in 2020. The last Afrobarometer survey, for 2019, reported that 53% of the population believe corruption increased in the previous year. To make matters worse, over 80% of respondents believe that all three arms of government are totally or partly corrupt. This is dangerous, especially when the Judiciary is seen equally as corrupt,” he added.
He proposed a new democracy, a consensual democracy and not an adversarial democracy.
“A democracy of a loser-wins-some and not a winner-takes-all; a democracy that makes politics a call and moment of service and not a career of total economic dependence; a democracy that promotes the strengthening of our institutions and reflects the inclusiveness of our people and professionals; a democracy in which being out of government means nothing to your economic sustainability. Ladies and Gentlemen, a democracy that promotes meritocracy [is what we must practice in this country].”
He said the country would require three broad interventions “to enable us to avoid the risk of the death of our constitution.”
“These recommendations are not thought of as sacrosanct; they are aimed at provoking thoughts and debate on options to develop the democracy we need.”
Below are the three recommendations;A. Urgent constitutional reform to reflect the democracy we need. He proposed what he termed a 7D reform of the Constitution – some of which are covered in various forms in the Constitutional Review Commission report of 2011.
- Deepen the separation of powers of the three arms of government
- Depoliticize our governance and democratic institutions
- Depoliticize our security services
- Depoliticize our accountability institutions
- Depoliticize all state agencies, including SOEs, regulatory bodies, and agencies.
- Democratize our Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies.
- Democracy Funding
B. Establishment and Management of a bipartisan national economic development agenda – One owned by all stakeholders.
C. Re-conscientization of the Ghanaian with the values needed for our social and economic transformation. Meanwhile, four political parties have already reiterated the need for the 1992 Constitution to be amended to improve the governance system of the country.
According to the parties, the review of the Constitution is long overdue to enhance the country’s democratic process, after 30 years of the birthing of the 1992 Constitution.