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Opinions of Monday, 7 January 2019

Columnist: Yussif Ahmed

Why a Constitution Day celebration?

Today is a constitution day of Ghana. Hurray!! Or at least that is what has been declared by this current government.

This holiday is said to serve as a recognition of the 4th republican constitutional dispensation of Ghana which started on January 7, 1993. This holiday is also to recognize the country’s effort to maintain and sustain the 4th republic over the years.

But personally, I don’t see why there should be a public holiday to mark a constitution day. But if we really want to make this day a holiday every year to again reduce our productivity level, then I have a few suggestions that I believe will help make this day an educative one.

A public lecture is scheduled to take place today, January 7, 2018, the maiden celebration of the constitution day of Ghana at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in Accra. This public lecture will be addressed by the rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Philip Ebow Bondzie-Simpson

Now, I think no matter how many public lectures are organized to put the constitution in perspective in terms of its history and content on this day, it is only the elite few who will be privy to this information because of our love for the English language. But we can make it better if we decentralize these public lectures on this holiday.

As part of the holiday celebration, Honorable Members of Parliament and District Assemblies should be mandated to organize public lectures to educate their constituents about what the constitution really entails. This public lecture should be conducted in the local languages depending on which side of the country it is taking place.

The constituents no matter how naïve they may be about the constitution will have some questions to ask their leaders that will put their understanding of the constitution in a better perspective. This kind of lecture will enable ordinary citizens to know their rights, freedoms and responsibilities to the country.

If our leaders only sit in Accra and give public lectures in big auditoriums with big English vocabularies for it to be broadcast by the media, how will that benefit the ordinary illiterate citizen?

There should also be a more concerted effort on this day to identify the major flaws in our constitution. This will help bring amendments to the constitution going forward. Clearly, some of the flaws are already known but no major amendments have taken place yet. But we can still do flaws identification on this day and resolve to initiate some amendments processes going forward.

Unless this holiday is used to educate the ordinary illiterate citizen in the village, in my perspective, the holiday would not inure to any significant collective benefit. Nation building isn’t the responsibility of only the literates.

A better Ghana we all want, let us educate all citizens for them to take action in the interest of our dear country.

Yussif Ahmed

ahmed.yussiph@gmail.com

GHANA INSTITUTE OF JOURNALISM