Madam Justice Rose Constance Owusu
Madam Justice Rose Constance Owusu

Madam Justice Rose Constance Owusu, a retired Supreme Court Judge, has lauded the institution of the Constitution Day Public Lecture.

She described the Day as, “extremely unique and worth celebrating by all well-meaning Ghanaians to remind them of the source of the enviable level of peace and stability the country enjoys”.

“It is my hope that this public lecture will serve as an advocacy platform for policy formulators and implementers, constitutional lawyers, politicians, civil society organisations and all other stakeholders to rekindle national interest in the supremacy of our constitution and safe guard all against arbitrary use of power,” Justice Owusu stated in her opening remarks, at the maiden Constitution Day Public Lecture, in Accra.

Madam Justice Owusu, who chaired the function said: “Political leadership and all other persons in positions of responsibility should realise that they were holding their positions in trust for the generations to come and be mindful of their utterances and not to say or do anything that will destabilise or shake the foundation of our constitution.”

It was organised by the Government as part of the maiden Celebration of the Constitution Day, to be marked every January 7.

It is also in recognition of the commencement of the Fourth Republican Constitutional Dispensation on January 7, 1993.

Professor Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, the Rector of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), addressed the maiden the lecture, which was on the theme:

“Constitutionalism in Ghana’s Fourth Republic: Towards Functional Performance”.

It was attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, Ministers of State, Parliamentarians, Heads of public institutions and civil society groups, academicians and members of the public.

Madam Justice Owusu said January 7 was of significance to Ghanaians for a number of reasons; stating that 7th January 1993 was the day the current constitution came into force for the Fourth Republic of Ghana.

She said 7th January had since been institutionalised as the day on which new Heads of State of the nation were sworn into Office.

Significant as the day might be, she said, it was just this year that it had been declared a statutory public holiday in order to acknowledge the collective efforts of Ghanaians in ensuring that the tenets of democracy, the rule of law and principles of constitutionalism were upheld.

Madam Justice Owusu, who chairs Civil Service Council, said in the context of the uninterrupted democratic dispensation of the Fourth Republic, it was important that Ghanaians did not take for granted that the peace and stability they were enjoying.

“Having travelled this path for 26 years exactly today, it is time to engage in collective introspection of how far we have come as a nation and to appreciate the successes chopped under the constitution so that together we can strategise and move our nation forward politically, economically and socially for the benefit of all Ghanaians,” she said.

“It will be a big tragedy if we fail to ensure that we reap the benefits of the democratic path that we have chosen as a people under the guidance of the 1992 Constitution. I am certain that none of us could escape from the consequences of our inactions”.

All Ghanaians must, therefore, continue to deepen the democracy and allow the rule of law to work.

She said organising such educative programmes such as the Constitution Day Public Lecture for Ghanaians to share their views as well as tap into the experiences of some state men and women for the benefits of posterity was very critical.

The institution of the annual lecture was, therefore, timely considering happenings in the recent past.

Dr Kojo Asante, a Senior Research Fellow at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), said the Centre recognised the fact that democracy was the best form of government; adding that the Constitution must, therefore, become the frame and guiding principles towards actualising the aspiration for all Ghanaians.

Madam Kathy Addy, a Deputy Chairperson, (Finance and Administration) of National Commission for Civic Education stated that now that the Constitution Day had come to stay, the Commission’s efforts in entrenching the nation’s democracy would be further enhanced.

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