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Opinions of Saturday, 27 June 2020

Columnist: Edzorna Francis Mensah

Ghana deserves regulation on property rights of spouses


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Between 1993 and 2020, hundreds of spouses have suffered in the hands of wicked families; some even died due to Parliament's failure to enact an obligatory regulation to protect surviving spouses in this Country in line with Article 22 of The 1992 Constitution.

Everlastingly, spouses are ejected from their matrimonial homes by extended families with absolutely nothing, just because he or she loses his or her spouse.

These treacherous activities are predominantly executed successfully with impunity in rural areas where literacy levels are usually low.

This dastardly act is common and usually discriminating in nature against women if the husband died intestate (die without a will).

This has become an unfortunate convention because the majority in Africa ignorantly believe that a young widow will have to go or is going to remarry and for that matter, she has no right to enjoy property she directly or indirectly acquired with the husband.

This phenomenon is so rampant that it has become part of us regrettably; to the extent that some women are even sent-packing before the final funeral rites of the deceased.

All of these self-inflicted catastrophes will be put to rest and innocent lives will be saved if the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, The Attorney-General's Department and The Parliament as a whole give meaning to Article 22, by accordingly enacting legislation as provided in clause (2), which reads: "Parliament shall, as soon as practicable after the coming into force of this Constitution, enact legislation regulating the property rights of spouses".

In fact, clause (3) is so unambiguous to ignore, as it categorically states that “with a view to achieving the full realization of the rights referred to in clause (2) of this article”- (a) Spouses shall have equal access to property jointly acquired during marriage;

(b) Assets which are jointly acquired during marriage shall be distributed equitably between the spouses upon dissolution of the marriage.

So, our 1992 constitution has established enough reasons for the state to come up with the needed laws in form of regulations and promulgate it, in order to provide security for the citizenry without hesitation.

This article is written as a contribution towards nation-building for equal right for all citizens without predisposition.

It is also to kick start a healthy debate for the implementation of essential provisions in our constitutional growth and development in accordance with Article 21 of general fundamental rights and freedoms.

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