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WE NO LONGER NEED INDEMNITY CLAUSES: RAWLINGS CALLS FOR EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW

General News

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has called for a review of Ghana’s constitution to remove clauses which protect high-level political actors from prosecution and accountability.

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has called for a review of Ghana’s constitution to remove clauses which protect high-level political actors from prosecution and accountability.

 

According to the former President, the indemnity clauses over the years have encouraged certain characters to abuse office and amass wealth for themselves.

“The constitution of the Fourth Republic was created by us, for us and to serve us, and in light of the 25 years, there is an unqualified need to reform or rewrite our current constitution.
“An urgent constituent assembly ought to be established with the necessary powers to rewrite the constitution,” Mr Rawlings said on Tuesday when he delivered the keynote address at a parade to mark the 40th anniversary of the June 4 uprising in Nungua, Accra.

Equality before the law

Mr Rawlings described the transitional provisions, for instance, as problematic clauses, and said the indemnity clauses need to be removed to ensure that everyone is equal before the law.

Section 34 of the transitional provisions of the 1992 constitution indemnifies all coup-makers and their functionaries against any liability for acts and omissions committed during their illegitimate administration.

Self-discipline

The former President also argued that the key to Ghana’s development is self-discipline by citizens in all their endeavours.

“Let us all do a thorough introspection and identify where we fall short because we all do fall short one way or the other. Our current sense of self-discipline is at its lowest ebb. Citizens do not feel responsible enough to keep their homes and communities clean.
“Many of us who lament about flooding during the rainy season are very guilty of the indiscretions that lead to the deadly floods. We dump refuse indiscriminately and wonder why drains choke. Some actually see the rains as an opportunity to dump refuse, believing the rainwater will sweep them away. If we continue this level of lawlessness, we are bound to face more serious flood disasters,” Mr Rawlings said.

He added, “If we do not develop a national character for sustainable good governance, we would have failed this generation and especially generations yet to come. Is that the legacy we wish to bequeath the future?”

Northern peace

The former President hailed Pope Francis’s efforts to resolve the conflict in South Sudan.

“When we throw our minds back to the recent image of the great and pious statesman Pope Francis, going down on his knees to kiss the feet of warmongering ‘statesmen’, as a way of pleading with them to recognise and appreciate the value of life and the dignity of their own South Sudanese people, we are reminded about the abuse of power by so-called leaders and herdsmen all over,” he said.

He asked Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the United Nations secretary general’s special representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the Sahel, to take a cue from the Pope and attempt to kiss the feet of some of the Chokosis, Konkombas and Nanumbas of northern Ghana in appealing for peace.