Sam Jonah Advocates Constitutional Review To Overhaul Executive Powers

A statesman, Sir Sam Jonah, has revived calls for a review of the 1992 Constitution to overhaul the powers of the Executive arm of government.

In its current state, the Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) said the Constitution has "created a monstrous Executive which looms large over the other arms of the governance structure."

In a speech last night, the leadership consultant said it was unfortunate that "for 28 years, we have failed to make any meaningful changes to strengthen our democracy."

"Actually, what we have is an “Executocracy” not a democracy. The President is supposed to appoint the majority of his ministers from Parliament. By definition, that makes Parliament a rubber stamp, because no MP in the ruling party will be able to stand up and demand accountability from the executive - they are all scrambling for positions," he emphasized at the speech delivered virtually to members of the Rotary Club in Ghana and abroad.

It was titled: 'Down the Up Escalator: Reflections on Ghana’s Future by a Senior Citizen."

In the speech that touched on almost every facet of society, including corruption, governance, the economy and the role of the media and academia in shaping the future, Sir Jonah said the failings from the current constituional set up did not spare the Judiciary.

"The Judiciary is no different. The President has a determining role in the appointment of all the judges of the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice. This festers the perception that the situation compromises the impartiality and independence of the judiciary," he said.

"Indeed, a large section of the citizenry believe that the judiciary is not impartial with 85 per cent of Ghanaians in a recent Afrobarometer survey perceiving the judiciary as corrupt and ineffective," he said.

He said the Legislative arm of government was also challenged, with allegations of corruption among sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) being ripe.

"Few years ago, a prominent MP said publicly that parliamentarians take bribes to pass bills that favour their sponsors."

"Ladies and gentlemen, if a fish comes out from water to tell us that the crocodile
has one eye, who are we to doubt it? "Incidentally, the said MP, Mr Alban Bagbin is now the Speaker of Parliament," he said.

On how to reverse this, the former President of AngloGold Ashanti said the Constitution needed to change.

"To have a meaningful democracy, we cannot continue on the path of a tripod with one leg stronger than the other two combined. We must commit to review the experiment with the aim of strengthening accountability and ensuring that democracy delivers real development to thepeople, " he said.

He explained that democracy was meaningless unless it was capable of improving the living standards of the
people and providing decent living conditions for at least the very poor in our society.

"To achieve this, the constitution must change," he stressed.