The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, believes that calls for constitutional reform are a step in the right direction, but that the country needs strong democratic institutions and the right human resources right now.
Constitutional reforms, according to Bagbin, will be futile unless appropriate human resources are developed.
Many Ghanaians, including the Majority Leader in Parliament and some prominent civil society organizations, have repeatedly called for amendments to the 1992 constitution to reflect modern society.
On Wednesday, February 22, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu called for a new constitutional order that would limit the number of ministers appointed by the President.
Speaking at the launch of the 30th anniversary of parliamentary democracy, Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu outlined a number of benefits that would be realized if constitutional reform was considered.
“We need a constitutional order that would mitigate the winner takes all attitude and prevent the do-or-die combat associated with our elections. We need a new constitutional order that would prevent the constant increase in the number of seats in Parliament.”
“We need a new constitutional order that would put a cap in the number of ministers of state. We need a new constitutional order that would ensure that the Speaker of Parliament is a serving member of Parliament,” he said.
Prof. Vladimir Antwi-Danso, Dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, has also called for an entirely new constitution, in contrast to calls for amendments to the 1992 constitution.
Prof. Antwi-Danso believes that a new constitution written by a newly formed committee will correct any flaws in the country’s democratic system.
“I believe that if we have something new (new constitution), politicians will jump to it to serve a better purpose,” he emphasized.
However, in his remarks at the start of the 30-year celebrations of parliamentary democracy, Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin stated that the emphasis must be shifted to human resource development.
“We must focus on strengthening our democratic institutions, and we must focus on getting the right human resources to lead the country. You can keep on changing your constitutions but if you don’t get the human resource correct, you can never develop your society. “I believe if they send us to Singapore, Singapore will become undeveloped, so the main focus of development is the human resource.”