Feature Article of Thursday, 13 September 2012
Columnist: Nketiah, Seth
– consequence of arrogance and insults
By Seth Nketiah, Lecturer Regent University College and Project Coordinator of Centre for Liberal Youth Networking, Celynet.
Thank God our nation is still in peace. This peace has come about through the blessings of God and the dedication and commitment of all the social classes of our society to walk the talk of peace and prioritising it over and above all the numerous challenges we face.
People of all walks of our society have made it their responsibility to intercede in prayers of all forms for the peace of our nation believing that once peace is sustained there is nothing that the human mind cannot conceive for its own development and progress. That is why any time peace and stability is threatened no matter the benefits, efforts are made to sacrifice those benefits for peace and stability to prevail.
It is on this basis that I see that if care is not taken and parochial interests and benefits not sacrificed, the peace we crave for will be a parody of its own. What we see today is the deliberate attempt by some people of privileged positions to, on one breath, purport for the progress and development of Ghana while on the other side of their mouths attempt to undermine the embodiment of the Ghanaian society, i.e. the 1992 Constitution.
The developments leading to the creation of the new 45 constituencies give credence to this believe I have. The rush and speed with which the Constitutional Instrument regarding the said constituencies leading to [the song of the year] “Unprecedented” errors upon errors with no shame from experience public officials and the collaborative network of the NDC in driving the EC into their web in committing some illegalities against the spirit and letter of the 1992 Constitution as well as the conduct of elections in Ghana can only buttress my point here.
For instance, the fact that Dr Afari Gyan and his commission duly went to perform a responsibility at the wrong platform in the election of NDC candidates for the proposed 45 constituencies in itself defeat any good intensions of the EC and clearly dent their image and credibility built over the years seriously knowing very well that they have contravened Article 11(6) and (7) under the Laws of Ghana column of the 1992 Constitution which state that:
“The existing law shall be construed with any modifications, adaptations, qualifications and exceptions necessary to bring it into conformity with the provisions of this Constitution, or otherwise to give effect to, or enable effect to be given to, any changes effected by this Constitution.”
In this regard and to give credence to the essence of time and maturity of directing the spirit and letter of the Constitution, it goes further to say in (7):
“Any Order, Rules or Regulation made by a person or authority under a power conferred by the Constitution or any other law shall –
(a) be laid before Parliament;
(b) be published in the Gazette on the day it is laid before Parliament; and
(c) come into force at the expiration of twenty – one sitting days after being so laid unless Parliament, before the expiration of the twenty – days, annuls the Order, Rule or Regulation by the votes of not less than two –thirds of all the members of Parliament.”
So clearly the EC erred; for whilst it sought Parliament to support the laying of the CI was unfortunately exposing their own ignorance by happily declaring NDC winners in constituencies that have no basis of existence legally and morally.
Clever as he has always been, at times in a seemingly adamant and arrogant manner, Dr Afari Gyan instead of explaining to Ghanaian why two fundamental things have not been done i.e. the 21 maturity days or two –thirds of votes of Parliamentarians whichever comes first in the first step of law application in Ghana, and yet had his officers supervising an illegality, he chose to woo the public’s sympathy by stating that his life is under threat. Much as I condemn such faceless cowardice and irresponsibilities, I believe the Chairman’s comment is a bit of irony!
In addition, Article 41 (b), the 1992 Constitution states clearly that it is every citizen’s duty : “to uphold and defend this Constitution and the law”, and in (e) “to work conscientiously in his lawfully chosen occupation.”
The spirit of Article 11 (6) and (7) acknowledges that the letters of the Constitution and the laws are not expected to be static but to be refined appropriately to suit the changing dynamics of our society. That is why it called for adaptation, qualification, modifications and others with the sole intent to maintain the integrity and dignity of our country through conscience and guided principles.
Let us find out whether the NDC and the EC have shown any practical conscientiously regarding the 45 constituencies. Are the elections and declaration of NDC congresses regarding the said controversial constituencies by the NDC and the EC guided by conscience, principles and assiduously directed at achieving dignity for the nation or to in-dignify the provisions of our Constitution? I believe clearly that with the kinds of insults and attacks on some of our cherished institutions embodying our well-being and traditions, this edifying spirit of conducting the affairs of the Constitutions has been undermined.
In Article 47 (5), which talks about the fact that any time a review or alteration takes place its application, i.e. when it can become legal and operational is after “the next dissolution of Parliament”. Hence, the Constitution makes it clear the essence of time as a fundamental human rights if development of whatever magnitude is expected. Recall the statement that Afari Gyan made in reference to the biometric register when he questioned its suitability to his mother. This perception by the EC sought to indicate that Ghana is not ready for such efficient and effective scientifically driven electoral process. His comment energised Asiedu Nketia to a certain extent when he questioned the suitability of the biometric voter register when to him “more than 50% of Ghanaians are illiterate.”
Some of us took Afari Gyan’s comment as one of his usual humorous comments when he is under pressure and that of Asiedu Nketia as one of his propaganda and political gimmicks but looking at the position by these same personalities on the ignorance attached to the timing of the creation of or annulment of constituencies with specific emphasis on the operational and activeness of it, we need to be serious and let people with certain rights and privileges to act with responsibility.
There is no law that has no time frame but from the discussion we are having making some people even think that their membership or otherwise of a church matters more than upholding and defending the letter and spirit and the integrity of our Constitution and all appropriate laws, it tells us that arrogance and insults are leading us into a parody of peace.