President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said Ghana since 1992, enjoyed a constitutional governance, which succeeded in eliminating the spectre of instability that confronted it in the early years of its independence.
Addressing the nation on Thursday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Referendum that approved the 1992 Constitution, President Akufo-Addo said before 1992, Ghana had sampled almost every form of governance.
With Ghanaians’ expressed will to have the decade-long ban imposed on party political activities lifted, President Akufo-Addo said the PNDC military government, led by Flt Lt J.J Rawlings, set up the National Consultative Assembly in May 1991 and tasked the body to prepare a draft constitution for the country.
Almost 3.5 million Ghanaians voted “Yes” in the Referendum, representing 92.59% of votes cast, to return the nation to democratic rule, as opposed to 272,855 Ghanaians voting “No”, representing 7.41%.
“The Constitution overwhelmingly approved in the Referendum set up a liberal, democratic state, founded on the separation of powers, with exclusive power in the Judiciary to superintend and enforce the Constitution and protect the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.”
Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said has since then, experienced the longest, uninterrupted period of stable constitutional governance in the country’s history.
“We have, over the last 30 years, witnessed sustained growth in every facet of national life. There have been considerable improvements in the Human Development Index – simply put, democracy has been good for us.”
The President said democracy, equality of opportunity and respect for human rights and the rule of law, had now found a firm anchor in Ghana’s body politic.
“We have had five presidents in the history of the 4th Republic, with peaceful transfers of power from a governing to an opposition party on three separate occasions,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo said even when there was disagreement with the outcome of elections, it was the Supreme Court, on two occasions, rather than the streets, that validated the results.
“We are, arguably, the most stable democracy in West Africa,” he added.
Thirty years since the Referendum of 28th April 1992, he said there had not been short-cuts for the progress and prosperity of Ghana. “Only hard work, creativity, innovation, a sense of enterprise and unity in the nation can produce the accelerated economic development that we all yearn for and deserve”.
President Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to renew their trust in the country’s democracy and bear in mind at all times that “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”
He said there were some persons who for their own parochial and selfish interests, would want to see the country return to the dark days of authoritarian rule.
That, he indicated, was either that they were unwilling to subject themselves or their vision to be scrutinised by the Ghanaians, or that they would be rejected and, thus, seek a shortcut to office and power. “Let us strengthen our resolve to resist such persons for our common good.”
President Akufo-Addo said despite all the gains made in the 4th Republic, Ghanaians must acknowledge that the country had not reached its potential.
“The biggest challenge we face continues to be eradicating poverty. We still have challenges in the performance of our public services; we face threats, traditional and contemporary, to our nation’s security and social stability, in the form of chieftaincy conflicts, land disputes, ethnic conflicts, cyber security issues, youth unemployment, economic hardships and corruption in our public life,” he added.
He stressed nonetheless that, “the basic commitment to resolving these challenges, within the framework of due process and democratic institutions, must remain unshaken. And, I am confident that, God-willing, we will overcome these challenges.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD