Ghana needs a new constitution - Akuoko Sarpong
The Omanhene of the Agogo Traditional Area, Nana Kwame Akuoko Sarpong, has called for a new constitution that will reflect the realities of the Ghanaian system.
He said the current Constitution was a blend of the Westminster and the American systems which had failed to tackle the realities of the Ghanaian situation.
For him, rather than resorting to a constitutional review, a team ought to be put together to draft a constitution that would serve the development, social, political and economic needs peculiar to Ghana.
Nana Akuoko Sarpong, who is also a lawyer and former minister of state, made the call in an interview with the Daily Graphic as he shared his experiences of the declaration of independence on March 6, 1957 and his view of the current state of the nation’s development.
Nana Akuoko Sarpong was a student at Accra Academy and witnessed the declaration of independence at the Old Polo Grounds.
‘Two-party state not working’
He said it had become evident that the current two-party state was not working and that had led to a serious polarisation of the country; a situation that was not helping the development of the country.
Nana Akuoko Sarpong also said the time had come for the country to do a reflective analysis that would inform the putting together of a new “home-grown” constitution.
According to him, the work of the Constitution Review Committee was an unfinished job, pointing out that the effort should have been invested into crafting a new one.
He cited, for instance, that the present Constitution had boldly stated that the chieftaincy institution had been guaranteed and asked what it had been guaranteed for.
“Has the chieftaincy institution been guaranteed to play a role within or outside the Constitution,” he asked.
No role for traditional councils
Rather, he said, the Constitution was “ostriching and glorifying the chieftaincy institution” when that institution did not play any meaningful role within the context of the Constitution.
Nana Akuoko Sarpong said further that at the local level, there was a serious conflict between the traditional councils and the district assemblies as to which of them should do what because the role of the traditional councils in the local government administration had not been defined.
On education, he said the progress of the nation hinged on education, which he said was Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s original intent at the time of independence.
Education - tool for transformation
“Nkrumah transformed this country with his educational policies. He used education as a tool for transformation. I think one of his greatest legacies is his use of education as a tool for transformation,” he reminisced.
Currently, however, he said, the loss of focus on the role of education in the development of the country constituted a threat to the progress of the nation.
“To make progress, we should ensure that education becomes a fundamental tool for development, which should not be a subject of party propaganda,” he advised.
He said for now, the education sector was nothing to write home about, adding that what pertained during the immediate years after independence had been thwarted, leading to the situation where access to education had become a privilege rather than a right.
Doing a comparative analysis, he said the progress made by China in less than four decades was due to the premium that the country placed on ensuring that its citizenry had access to free education.
‘Education now a privilege’
In Ghana today, he said, the cost of attaining decent education was so high that children from less-privileged homes might remain illiterates or semi-literates for the rest of their lives.
Nana Akuoko Sarpong said when Dr Nkrumah set up the three universities at Cape Coast, Kumasi and Legon, he envisaged that each of them would offer specialised programmes.
However, it was disappointing that the various universities were now competing with one another over the running of similar programmes.
That notwithstanding, he said, “my hope is that the Black Star which was unfurled on the midnight of 1957, is not a mirage. When I go to the Black Star Square, it edifies me still that within this period, Ghana has sharpened and brightened the black man to look forward”.