General News of 2014-09-03

VCRAC Crabbe slams referendum on constitutional reforms

A former justice of the Supreme Court has opined that the amendments being sought with regard to the 1992 Constitution are too complex for a simple plebiscite to determine.

He said the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) should rather take advantage of the six-month grace period the constitution provides after the Amendment Bill is gazetted to educate Ghanaians before going ahead with the referendum.

The Committee has set November as possible date on which the referendum will be held.

But speaking on TV3’s Hot Issues last Saturday, VCRAC Crabbe, who has been involved in the drafting of several constitutions including those of Uganda, Kenya ad Zambia, said a high level of seriousness should be attached to the referendum as it concerns not only the letter but the spirit of the Constitution.

“It is a very important thing and I will advise that we take advantage of the six months and see what we can do for the benefit of the country as a whole,” Justice Crabbe said.

He cited Switzerland as the nation with foremost experience in referenda, pointing out that the Swiss have kept referenda simple.

The Former Electoral Commissioner said the latest one conducted in the European country had to do with whether more immigrants should be allowed into the country.

Justice Crabbe explained that such a referendum is very easy for even the uneducated to answer or vote on.

“Will that be the same with our constitutional amendments?” he wondered. “So we have a problem.”

“Personally, I have problems with referenda,” he disclosed.

The draft bill is said to contain 34 amendments to existing entrenched provisions in the Constitution and seven new entrenched provisions, making the total number of proposed amendments 41.

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