Ghana has overly powerful presidents
Constitution built on executive presidency
Ghana celebrates Constitution Day on January 7
Lawyer and former minister, Captain (rtd.) Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, has averred that the presidents under the Fourth Republican Constitution are too powerful.
He blames that situation on the late Jerry John Rawlings, the first President under the current Republic that started in 1992.
Effah-Dartey told Kumasi-based Kessben FM in an interview on the occasion of Constitution Day (which falls on January 7 yearly), that JJ Rawlings as power-drunk as he was had ‘forced’ the drafters of the Constitution to vest a lot of power in him.
“Rawlings was so much power-drunk that he got his Constituent Assembly to concentrate so much power into the hands of the President, so the President appoints so many people…so many appointments, all in the hands if the President.”
According to him, successive Presidents enjoy the status quo and have no interest in seeking to whittle down that power: “When there is a Constitutional suggestion for amendment, up to date, successive Presidents have found it convenient to do the Rawlings style, they are not pushing.
“And to get a Constitutional amendment, you need the majority of Parliament …and if you look at the current political divide in Ghana … getting two-thirds majority to change the law is a big problem,” he added.
He echoes the sentiments of Nii Armah Ashietey, a former Greater Accra Regional Minister under the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama administration has called for a relook at presidential powers.
Ashietey whiles speaking to Accra-based TV3 on the occasion of Ghana’s fifth Constitution Day celebration also identified that Presidents were too powerful under the current Constitution. “We as a country chose the presidential modus for our country and some people chose the Westminster system for themselves. In the presidential system, the President is very powerful, very very powerful.”
“I think that for me, the president is too powerful. Our president, I’m not talking about NPP, NDC, (but) I think we need to look at the powers of the President,” he submitted.
Every January 7 is observed as such replacing the July 1 celebration of Republic Day since 1960 till 2018.