President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaians to preserve, protect, sustain, and renew trust in the country’s democracy.
“Democracy has been good for us,” the President said.
He added that democracy had ensured sustainable development, created prosperity, guaranteed good governance, a just and free society, human rights and the rule of law; and every Ghanaian should ensure that it was sustained.
The President made the call in a nationally- televised address to mark the 30th anniversary of the referendum that approved Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.
The 1992 Constitution, agreed on April 28, 1992, ushered the country into the Fourth Republican dispensation. It defined the political principles, established the structures, procedures, powers, and duties of the government, legislature, judiciary, and spelled out the fundamental rights and duties of citizens.
It sought to decentralize the governance process and provided also for greater freedom of the press and human rights guarantees.
President Akufo-Addo said the coming into effect of the 1992 constitution, which was promulgated with the immense backing of Ghanaians, had put the country on an enviable pedestal that ought to be safeguarded.
Since 1992 when Ghana was ushered into the Fourth Republic, he noted, “we have since then experienced the longest uninterrupted stable constitutional governance in history, banishing the specter of instability that characterized Ghana’s early existence.”
“And the benefits are showing,” he said, pointing out that for the past 30 years, Ghana had witnessed sustained growth in every facet of national life.
“There has been considerable improvement in human development index…simply put, democracy has been good for us.
“Today, democracy, equality of opportunity and respect for human rights and the rule of law, ideals which have stood the test of time in most of the world, have now found firm anchor in our body politics,” he stressed.
Buttressing his point, President Akufo-Addo called to attention the fact that the country since 1992 had had five presidents, with peaceful transfers of power from governing to opposition parties on three separate occasions.
“Even when there was disagreement with the outcome of an election, it was the Supreme Court on two occasions, rather than the streets, validated its results…We are arguably the most stable democracy in West Africa.
“On this day, I urge all of us to renew trust in our democracy and bear in mind at all times, the often-cited statement that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
“I say so because there are some who for their own parochial and selfish interests would want to see a return to the dark days of authoritarian rule simply because they have no respect for the Ghanaian people.
“They are rather unwilling to subject themselves or their vision to the open scrutiny of the Ghanaian people, or because they know that they would be rejected by the Ghanaian people, and thus seek shortcuts to office and power.
“Let us strengthen our resolve to resist such persons for our common good,” the President cautioned.
President Akufo-Addo however noted that despite the gains made in the Fourth Republic, Ghana was yet to attain the desired socio-economic transformation.
“We must acknowledge that we have not reached the potential we should have,’ he said, citing poverty eradication, corruption in public life, traditional and contemporary threats to security, social stability, cyber security, economic hardship, and youth unemployment as the main challenges that ought to be addressed.
He also mentioned the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as recent challenges to the management of the country’s economy.
The President said his government, since 2017, had been underpinned with the commitment to transform Ghana into a prosperous nation despite the challenges of the day.
He said the basic commitment to resolving those challenges within the framework of due process and democratic institutions, “must remain unshaken.”
“I am confident that God willing, we will overcome these challenges.
“Thirty years since the referendum of April 28, 1992, has taught us that there are no shortcuts to the progress and prosperity of our country, only hard work, creativity, innovation, a sense of enterprise, the unity in the nation can produce accelerated economic development that we all yearn for and deserve.
“On this anniversary occasion, I am proud to say that I believe strongly in the values and principles of the constitution that emerged from the referendum and in this democratic heritage of Ghana, and I am calling on all Ghanaians also to accept vigorously this same belief,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The President added that the Constitution was a “living document” and Ghanaians should be prepared to accept and make necessary amendments when required to the needs of contemporary and future times.