You are here: HomeNews2004 10 17Article 67885

Opinions of Sunday, 17 October 2004

Columnist: NkrumaistForum

Petition Against Glorification Of Anti-Constitution Coup Architects

Since independence, the people of Ghana have witnessed several successful and unsuccessful coups. The impact of coups on the national and individual psyche cannot be over emphasized. ?

Anti-constitution coups are criminal.? They violate the collective will of our people and steal the people?s mandate and rights to representation and set our country back in different directions.? Anti-constitution coups disrupt fragile democracies and expose the citizenry to brutalities and dictatorial leadership. ? Given the above, it becomes not only intolerable but unsavory to have our public buildings named after anti-constitution coup architects. We must not send mixed signals to our people, for such mixed messages undermine the very institution we aspire to strengthen. We must not reward anti-constitution coup architects. ? To emblazon names, bust, carving, statues or effigies of anti-constitution coup architects and their civilian counterparts on our public property, is to promote a culture of coups, countercoups and indiscipline.? Our world view and core values must not reflect that of coup making, but espouse values entrenched in our constitution.

The victims of the 1966 anti-constitution coup do not have their names on public buildings, so why must we have the name of Kotoka on the key gateway to Ghana?? What message does it send to visitors?? What does it say about our quest for a democratic country where the rule of law prevails?? What do you tell a new business associate about the history behind the naming of our one and only entry airport??

The airport of Ghana must be renamed at all cost. The new name should reflect gallant men and women, who exemplify courage, dedication to peace and justice, rule of law, democracy and constitutional rule. This goes for all public buildings, parks or public properties. This effort must start with Kotoka Airport but not end there.? Parliament should pass a law that simply states that, no anti-constitution coup maker or manager shall ever have his or her name appended to any public property or hold public office.? ? Together, we must take a step and a stand, small as it may be, for democracy.? We should do all in our power to begin rolling back the culture of anti-constitution coups and its remnants from our society.? So long as we speak with one voice in repudiating anti-constitution coups that destroy our collective will, we stand a chance of making it a thing of the past.?

The interesting point is that the Constitution of Ghana emphatically condemns any and all anti-constitution coups, and empowers us (all of us) with unlimited authority and means to resist such coups:? ? Chapter 1, article 3, clauses 3 through to 7 state : ? Clause 3: ?Any person who

(a) by himself or in concert with others by any violent or other unlawful means, suspends or overthrows or abrogates the Constitution or any part of it, or attempts to do any such act; or

(b) aids and abets in any manner any person referred to in paragraph (a) of this clause;

commits the offense of High Treason and shall, upon conviction be sentenced to suffer death?. ? Clause 4: ?All citizens of Ghana shall have the right and duty at all times;

(a) to defend this Constitution, and in particular, to resist any person or group of persons seeking to commit any acts referred to in Clause (3) of this article; and

(b) to do all in their power to restore this Constitution after it has been suspended, overthrown, or abrogated as referred to in clause (3) or this article?. ? Clause 5: ?Any person or group of person who suppresses or resists the suspension, overthrow or abrogation of this Constitution as referred to in clause (3) of this article, commits no offence?. ? Clause 6: ?Where a person referred to in clause (5) of this article is punished for any act done under that clause, the punishment shall, on the restoration of this Constitution, be taken to be void from the time it was imposed and he shall, from that time, be taken to be absolved from all liabilities arising out of the punishment?. ? Clause 7: ?The Supreme Court shall, on application by or on behalf of a person who has suffered any punishment or loss to which clause (6) of this article relates, award him adequate compensation, which shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund, in respect of any suffering or loss incurred as a result of the punishment?. ? Therefore, we call on the President, Parliament and the people of Ghana

- to remove the letters that spell Kotoka on our International Airport and rename after anyone who better defines our pro-constitution and patriotic stance


-to pass legislation to outlaw such further naming and go on to remove all such glorification from our sacred motherland.?

The above actions would be consistent with chapter 1, article 3, clauses 3 to 7 of our constitution, as quoted above.

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman MSc ABS (Org dev.), BA Business Admin, Dip. Public Administration, GS Instructional Design, CCRP NVMS