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Special seats should be reserved for women in Parliament - Prof. Mike Oquaye

Legal Aid........ Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye

Sat, 30 Apr 2022 Source: peacefmonline.com

Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye has raised concerns about the 1992 constitution, questioning some provisions and calling for amendments in the constitution.

The former Speaker of Parliament says "the Constitution of Ghana which came into operation in 1993 after having been crafted under the auspices of the PNDC military government led by Flt. Lt. J.J Rawlings is certainly not a perfect document", so has given some recommendations which he believes, when factored into the constitution, will enhance good governance in the country.

Among a number of reviews he seeks done to the constitution, Prof. Mike Oquaye primarily called for equity of treatment to women in the area of politics.

He bemoaned the unequal representation of women in Parliament and to hold major public positions in the country, therefore asserting the "Constitution must capture the need for Affirmative Action in public life".

Delivering a speech at the launch of Prof. Oquaye Centre for Constitutional Studies within the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra on Tuesday, April 26, Prof. Oquaye proposed that "the one-third membership of District Assemblies appointed by the President should be given to women".

He also called for seats to be reserved in Parliament solely for women.

" . . women participation in Parliament should be enhanced including the following: Application of the Quota System in the candidates nominated by Political Parties; Additional seats in Parliament should be reserved for women. At the end of a general election, the reserved seats, for example thirty, will be allocated to political parties in accordance with their votes obtained in the national election. A qualification for seats saved for women must be qualified so that they are not taken by political activists who will have little to offer in the search for qualitative governance," he said.

Prof. Mike Oquaye also touched on the Judiciary, calling for a fair composition of the Judicial Council that appoints Supreme Court Justices.

To him, the current composition of the Council encourages partiality recounting the Council comprises "7 Judges, 2 Lawyers, the Judge advocate of the Ghana Armed Forces, Head of the Legal Directorate of The Police, Editor of the Ghana Law Reports, One representative of the Judicial Service Association, One Representative of the National House of Chiefs, and 4 Persons nominated by the President".

"Regarding the removal of Judges, the case of Justice Amua Sekyi gives us the lesson that where the Executive is hell bent on removing a Judge, it is easier to do so than meets the eye. If under Article 146 of the Constitution, The President receives a petition for the removal of a Judge, he (President) should refer the matter to the Chief Justice.

"If the CJ is of the view that there is a Prima Facie case, the CJ sets up a committee to investigate the complaint. 3 Supreme Court Judges, 2 other persons (not Lawyers nor from Council of State or parliament), they should make a recommendation to the Chief Justice, the recommendation is forwarded to the President for action as recommended. Meanwhile, the President can suspend the Judge. Notably, once the Chief Justice is roped into a plan to remove a Judge, the process is easy", he explained.

He asked; "Can you imagine any 3 Judges who are biased or appointed for the purpose and any 2 persons from the President’s political party can give a simple majority at any time to remove a Judge?"

He recommended the Council to consist of "2 retired Supreme Court Judges nominated by the Roll of Retired Supreme Court Judges. 2 Senior Lawyers nominated by the Ghana Bar Association at a meeting called for that purpose. 3 other persons nominated from the Christian Council, the Catholic Secretariat and The Muslim Council. They will do a better neutral job".

Source: peacefmonline.com
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