Critical Perspectives No. 15 [The Executive-Legislative Relationship Under the 1992 Constitution: A
01 September, 2003
Critical Perspectives No. 15 [The Executive-Legislative Relationship Under the 1992 Constitution: A Critical Review]
The Executive-Legislative Relationship Under the 1992 Constitution: A Critical Review
By H.Kwasi Prempeh
The 1992 Constitution establishes the basic parameters for sound political management and institutionalization of democratic governance in Ghana’s Fourth Republic. The time has come, after ten years of return to multi-party democracy, to examine the Constitution and, especially how well it has worked in practice to conduce to democratic governance. Of course, as the longest lasting Constitution in post-colonial Ghana, it has already earned a place in the history of our political development. In addition, it has managed to escape a major constitutional crisis within the period, and even allowed a historic power alternation. And most significantly, it has fostered an unprecedented expansion in a wide range of political rights and freedoms enjoyed by Ghanaians. But at the same time, the 1992 Constitution (or at least, some of its structural innovations) appears to have undermined inter-branch accountability, fostered the emergence of executive dominance and in our political system, and largely failed to attenuate the entrenched culture of neo-patrimonialism. Prempeh examines the workings of the Constitution, focusing on of the partial hybrid arrangement under which an elected executive president is assisted by a team of ministers drawn predominantly from within Parliament, along with other features of the same Constitution and analyzes its implications for democratic consolidation and good governance. He examines the negative effects of key provisions in the Constitution, such as Article 78 Clause 1 (which requires that the majority of the President’s ministers be elected from among members of Parliament), Clause 2 of the same Article (which leaves the President free to appoint any number of ministers deemed necessary for the efficient running of the state), and Article 108 (which appears to give the Executive Branch exclusive right to introduce bills to Parliament). In addition, Prempeh provides a cogently argued case for corrective measures, - drawing from Ghana’s own political history and a wide variety of constitutional experiences from other jurisdictions. They range from strengthening the capacity and enhancing the cohesion of parliamentary committees, especially those with direct responsibility for oversight and accountability, such as the Public Accounts Committee and Government Assurances Committee, and those responsible for the prudent fiscal management and sound economic governance such as and the Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare, and State Enterprises, to legislative reform and even constitutional amendment.