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Constitution Review Commission Receives Over 60,000 Submissions
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General News of Friday, 12 November 2010

Source: Ghana Celebrities

Constitution Review Commission Receives Over 60,000 Submissions

PRESS RELEASE

Constitution Review Commission Receives Over 60,000 Submissions AND
POISED TO INTRODUCE TEXT-IN PROGRAMME
AND PREPARES FOR NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CONFERENCES IN MARCH, 2011

The Constitution Review Commission has so far completed Community, District, Regional and National Mini consultations, receiving over 60,000 submissions from Ghanaians.
These submissions are currently being processed, using some of the most recent and most advanced research methodologies and tools.
This Press Release is to:

1. Inform Ghanaians on the stage the Commission has reached in the execution of its mandate;
2. Thank many persons and institutions for their support thus far;
3. Indicate what is outstanding; and
4. Suggest the role Ghanaians and friends of Ghana may play in the remaining processes.

It may be recalled that on the 11th day of January, 2010, H.E. Professor John Evans Atta Mills inaugurated a nine-member Constitution Review Commission, as a Presidential Commission of Inquiry established under the Constitution Review Commission of Inquiry Instrument, 2010 (C.I.64).

The Commission has a three-fold mandate, namely:
1. to ascertain the views of the people of Ghana on the operation of the 1992 Constitution, in particular their views on the strengths and weaknesses of the 1992 Constitution;

2. to articulate the concerns of the people of Ghana on the amendments that may be required for a comprehensive review of the 1992 Constitution; and

3. to make recommendations to the Government for consideration and provide a draft Bill for possible amendments to the 1992 Constitution.

From January 2010 to date, the Commission has effectively deployed an elaborate, participatory, inclusive and multifaceted consultations strategy to ascertain the views of Ghanaians on the Constitution, whether they would like to revise the Constitution, and if so, how they would like a revised Constitution to look like. This has allowed the Commission to hear first-hand from many Ghanaians in every part of the country, their views and concerns about the Constitution.
These consultations have included the following:

1. The receipt of written and oral submissions at the offices of the Commission and at specific locations in all communities in Ghana;
2. The use of new media technologies for the receipt of submissions (phone calls, Short Message Service (SMS), email, Facebook; Twitter, etc);
3. Community and District Consultations in all 170 Districts (including Biakoye, Bawku and Yendi), (19th April to 30th June);
4. A second round follow-up Community and District Consultations, (15th July to 30th September);
5. Regional Consultations in all ten (10) administrative capitals, taking the form of an opening ceremony, an open forum organized as town hall meetings, regional mini consultations on thematic areas of the Constitution in the form of syndicate/focus group discussions and a formal hearing of the Commission, (1st August to 30th September); and
6. National Mini Consultations with special interest groups, Ministries, Departments and Agencies; and Civil Society Organizations in the form of round table discussions, formal hearings and preparatory meetings, (1st August to 18th October).
As of now, the Commission has received over 60,000 submissions touching on all aspects of the operation of the 1992 Constitution. These submissions implicate textual changes to the Constitution as well as legislative and administrative changes to better operationalise the Constitution.

What is outstanding in the consultation strategy of the Commission are consultations with the Ghanaians in the Diaspora and Special consultations with a number of key personalities, (such as the sitting and former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Speakers of Parliament and Chief Justices of Ghana), who have had an intimate experience in operating the 1992 Constitution. The Special Consultations will take place in closed-door sessions from mid-December, 2010.
Funds permitting from private fundraising initiatives, the Commission will conduct consultations in the Diaspora from now until the end of the year. The Diaspora consultations were originally not part of the project design that preceded the inauguration of the Commission. Research by the Commission has, however, revealed that there are about 7.5 million Ghanaians in the Diaspora, including some 1 million in La Cote D’Ivoire, 1 million in Burkina Fasso, 1.5 million in the United States and Canada and about 2 million in the United Kingdom and a few other European countries. This compares favourably with the 12.5 million voters in Ghana, according to the data from the Electoral Commission for the 2008 elections. A consultations strategy which does not include the Ghanaian Diaspora will be grossly inadequate. This is more so when the intellectual, economic and social support roles that Ghanaians in the Diaspora play in local politics and society in Ghana are taken into account.
Additionally, in the course of executing its mandate, and in conversations with Ghanaians in the Diaspora, the Commission has come to realize the tremendous indispensability of an in situ consultation with Ghanaians in the Diaspora. Functionally, the Commission is like a High Court of Law, and the procedures it must follow are almost impossible to execute professionally without a face-to-face interaction with the witnesses from whom it must take testimony on the operation of the Constitution.

The countries the Commission wishes to visit are: La Cote D’Ivoire; Burkina Faso; Nigeria; Libya; Egypt; Botswana; Kenya; Republic of South Africa; the United Kingdom; Germany; The Netherlands; Italy; the United States of America; and Canada.

These countries were carefully chosen considering the estimated number of Ghanaians resident there and the demands from and receptiveness of the Ghanaians and embassy officials in those countries.

To save costs, the Commission will conduct the Diaspora Consultations in panels of two, simultaneously in the selected countries.

Aside the Diaspora Consultations, all face-to-face consultations with the Commission have officially ended, as of the 18th of October, 2010.
Between the 19th of October and the 31st of December 2010, the Commission has opened the final window of opportunity to receive only written submissions. Each written submission must be accompanied by an application for extension of time.
The only groups that are exempted from seeking an extension of time in order to send in written submissions are the institutions that are working with Braille versions of the basic documents of the Commission. This is because the Braille versions were transmitted to them late. The Commission has also only recently put in place the system to decipher Braille submissions.
Submissions in the form of text messages do not require an application for extension of time. Included in the next phase of the execution of the mandate of the Commission is a Text-in campaign which will commence by mid-November, 2010.
The Text-In campaign would be centered around the most popular issues raised by the submissions received so far. The Text-In Campaign will be conducted through text messaging to a short code, “1992” across all Mobile Telephone networks. The short code has been procured from the National Communications Authority. This will ensure that Ghanaians are able to fully participate in the review process even as the period for the receipt of submissions draws to a close. The various Mobile Telephone networks in the Country have already indicated their preparedness to work with the Commission on the project and have deployed the necessary framework for the commencement of the campaign.

The National Constitution Conference, which was initially scheduled for January 2011, has been rescheduled to take place from 1st of March to 5th of March, 2011.

There are many reasons for this change of plan. Initially, the Commission was expecting to receive about 30,000 submissions. The number received so far is over 60,000 and promises to reach the 100,000 mark. The rollback of the Conference is to afford the Commission the opportunity to critically analyze the submissions with the best and most sophisticated software. Additionally, the preliminary views of the Commission on a number of issues need to be placed before the conference and this can only be done after the submissions are all analysed. Before the Commission signal its thinking on each issue, the results of the analyses will have to be compared with international experiences and best practices. This involves more time given the number of submissions.
Finally, the dates of the Conference have been chosen to end with the National Independence Celebrations on 6th of March, 2011. The theme for the Conference, “The Constitution: Our Identity” accords perfectly with the new timing of the Conference.

Subject to the factual and legal integrity tests that the submissions will be subjected to by Commission, the Commission wishes to assure the public that the submissions will be treated with the utmost respect and that all submissions will be kept securely for future reference and for posterity.

The Commission is also determined to strain every sinew to reach that threshold of acceptability of its final product, which Ghanaians deserve. The participatory and inclusive processes the Commission has deployed will, therefore, not be compromised. Though a constitution does not and cannot resolve every issue, consensus can be reached on the processes to be followed and the norms to be applied for achieving the resolution of difficult issues. This is the purpose of the National Constitution Conference.

Throughout the progress of its work, the Commission has been significantly encouraged by the level of cooperation and assistance it has received from various quarters. The Commission places on record its profound gratitude to all Ghanaians for their cooperation and interest in the Commission’s work so far.
The Commission wishes to record its particular appreciation to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies; Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the State; the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE); the National House of Chiefs; many Civil Society Organisations; a number of Development Partners (United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the European Delegation in Ghana (EU); the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA); and the British High Commission (BHC)); Political Parties; Media Houses, particularly the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC); and several distinguished personalities.


For further information or clarifications, please contact the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Raymond A. Atuguba on:

Telephone: 024 4675611 or 030 2771184-5
Email: ratuguba@crc.gov.gh or atugubaatuguba@yahoo.com
Facebook:facebook.com/CRCgh
Twitter: Twitter.com/CRCgh
Website: www.crc.gov.gh


Prof. (Emeritus) Albert K. Fiadjoe
(Chair, Constitution Review Commission)

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