Constitution Day: Ghana needs African Democracy embedded with cultural values

Dr Eric Oduro-Osae, a Local Governance Expert, has advocated an African type of democracy, embracing traditional values and customs, with traditional rulers playing prominent roles in its implementation.

Dr Oduro-Osae, also the Dean of Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies, said the current democratic system adopted “blindly” from the Western world would not help the cause of Ghana’s development efforts.

He said the current democracy lacked the necessary ingredients in sync with the traditions of the people and it was time she adopted the kind that best suited the cause of national development.

Dr Oduro-Osae was speaking with the Ghana News Agency in an interview, on Friday, ahead of the celebration of the Constitution Day on Monday, January 7, on the relevance of Constitutional Rule.

Government, last year, designated January 7 every year, as a Constitution Day, in recognition of the commencement of the Fourth Republican Constitutional dispensation on January 7, 1993.

The Day is also set aside to acknowledge Ghana’s collective efforts at ensuring the tenets of democracy, rule of law and principles of constitutionalism are upheld.

Consequently, Government, through the Ministry of Information, announced plans to organise the maiden “Constitution Day Public Lecture”, under the topic “Constitutionalism in Ghana’s Fourth Republic: Towards Functional Performance”.

The lecture would be delivered by the Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Kobina Bondzie Sampson, at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Accra at 1700 hours.

Dr Oduro-Osae said in the past, every member of the society respected the Chief, noting that, anytime the “Gong gong” was beaten at the village square to summon the members of the community, nobody dared stayed home because of the powers wielded by the chiefs.

More so, he said, the people feared that any disobedience to the chief could result in expulsion from the community or severe punishment.

In this regard, he called for the restoration of the powers of chiefs so that they could function effectively in modern democratic dispensation.

Despite the challenges posed by the current democratic system, Dr Oduro-Osae said, it was far better than any military government because it allowed the people to exercise their rights and freedoms, enhanced accountability and promoted grassroots participation in decision-making, especially in selecting people who governed them.

Responding to suggestions that with the high level of indiscipline in the society, it would be prudent to return to the military rule; Dr Osae said that was not solution the shortfalls in the current democratic system.

A military regime, he said, was characterised by wanton human rights abuses and atrocities.

In the military rule, he said, there would be no Parliament for the authorities to submit the annual national budget statement to it for scrutiny.

 Thus there was lack of accountability and transparency in the management of the national resources.

Commenting on the designation of January 7, as a Constitutional Day, Dr Oduro-Osae said it was in order because it would raise awareness about the country’s trajectory and challenges it had overcome.

Therefore, he said, the Day should not be marked indoors but with national activities.

The Day should be marked with national activities that would involve the district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies, which would conscientise the people on patriotism and nationalism and re-orient the mind-set of the people to be more dedicated to national cause, Dr Oduro-Osae said.

“There is too much indiscipline in the society, therefore, this is the time we need to imbue nationalism in the people and re-orient their minds towards achieving the vision and aspirations of the nation,” he emphasised.

Ghana’s self-rule from 1957 has been interrupted by five coup d’tats and accompanying military regimes.


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