Thursday, August 19, 2010


PARTICIPANTS at a two-day Brong Ahafo regional hearing and mini consultations organised by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) in Sunyani have called for a review of the number of terms that a member of parliament (MP) can serve.
According to them, the Constitution should limit the number of terms for MPs to two as the Constitution had spelt out for that of the President.
They were of the view that some MPs were taking advantage of the ex-gratia award paid at the end of every term to enrich themselves whilst refusing to give the chance for others to also serve the people.
They said if someone went for four terms or more, that person was entitled to receive ex-gratia for each tenure and, therefore, people who aspired to become MPs had to fight ‘tooth and nail’ to become MPs which did not augur well for the growth of democracy in the country.
The participants also called for a review of the provision in the Constitution which allowed the President to appoint at least one-third of his ministers from Parliament .
This, they said would enable the President or the party in power to select competent members within its rank and file to serve as ministers to free parliamentarians from interference by the ruling government.
Others also suggested that the pension scheme should be decentralised so that people who were due for retirement did not travel long distances to chase their retirement benefits.
Among the participants at the consultative forum were traditional rulers, the clergy, assembly members, farmers and a cross section of the public.
Some of the submissions also included “changing the status of the Ghana Education Service (GES) into a commission to be responsible for educational matters to prevent governments from playing politics with education”, “creation of an independent body to determine the emoluments of those covered under Article 71, Clauses ‘One’ and ‘Two’ instead of the current arrangement where the President and Parliament determine the emoluments and “the payment of operational duty allowances to Assembly members”
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, in his opening remarks advocated the review of the provision of the Constitution which limits the tenure of municipal and district chief executives (MDCEs) to only two terms.
He was of the view that the limitation on the MDCEs made them insecure in terms of their political career and thereby compelled them to wrest power from members of parliament (MPs) in their areas in order to earn their keeps after eight years in office.
This leads to tension and acrimony between the two political office holders.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo said his suggestion was to help cure the apprehension of MDCEs in relation to the constitutional limitation on their tenure as well as the political tension it generates between them and MPs.
The Brong Ahafo regional minister stressed that the review of the provision that placed a cap on the tenure of DCEs would engender political partnership at the local level instead of rivalry.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo entreated the people of the Brong Ahafo Region to utilise “the unique opportunity the Commission had offered to actively make submissions to help push the country’s democracy to a higher pedestal”.
The Chairman of the CRC, Prof. Albert K. Fiadjoe, announced that the Commission had received about 32,000 submissions after community and district consultations as well as two regional ones in the northern part of the country.
He pointed out that the Constitution review was not just to listen to submissions but to put together a document that would be owned by the citizenry.
The President of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs and Omanhene of Kukuom Traditional Area, Osahene Kwaku Aterkyi, who chaired the function challenged people to make submissions that would help address the weaknesses of the 1992 Constitution.

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