No law is above the Constitution. The Constitution is the Grund norm of the country. It is the primary source of our laws. It is the fundamental law of the country.Other primary sources of our laws are the legislation and the common laws. The secondary laws are the customary laws, rules, regulations and orders.No law supercedes the Constitution.
All laws take or pick their legitimacy from the Constitution.
For instance, Muslims’ Grundnorm is the Holy Quran and my Christian counterparts have the Bible as their Grundnorm.
But the 1992 Constitution binds us together as citizens of the nation, Ghana.
When a bill is piloted to Parliament for consideration and passage into an Act, it must be done within the letter and the spirit of the 1992 Constitution.That is in the remit of the Constitution.
As we aware, the 1992 Constitution came into being when Ghanaians went to the polls in 1992 in a referendum and gave their overwhelming approval to it is Constitution, after the Consultative Assembly had finished its work.
What it means is that Ghanaians are the owners of the Constitution and are expected to defend and protect it at all times.
The Constitution establishes the relationship that exists among the three arms of state and other agencies of the country. These are the Executive, Legislature and judiciary. It is the Constitution that validates the election of the President.
If you disturb the Constitution, it means you are disturbing the soul and the hearts of Ghanaians and the consequences of overthrowing it is a death penalty, after going through trial process.
The overthrow of the Constitution falls within the remit of fatal offences.
It is equated to murder and higher than manslaughter and other fatal offences like genocide and treason.
Ghana has five court strata namely District, Circuit, High, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land and all courts are bound by its decision. of the The Court can abandon its own decisions.
The Supreme Court is the only Court that has the power and authority to interpret and enforce the Constitution.
Any court that has any matter on the Constitution should be transposed to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
For instance, in the case between the Republic v Dr Opuni, the Supreme Court was called upon to decide a particular provision of the Constitution.
The process or trial at the court(High Court) was truncated to allow the Supreme Court to resolve the matter.
The Court ensures the safety of our human rights, (public) but if it is an individual,then the human rights court /high court is the forum to go.
Ampofo v AG, the Supreme Court decided on it.That all public human rights should be resolved at the Supreme Court whilst individual human rights matter should be adjudicated at the High Court.
Article 1 (1) of the Constitution states that the sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised in the manner and within the limits laid down in the Constitution.
Article 1(2) also states that this Constitution shall be the Supreme law of Ghana and any other law found to be inconsistent with any provision of this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
The Constitution is a document that all citizens must have.It is a living document.It is a written unlike what pertains in the United Kingdom.
It must be stated that our 1992 Constitution like all others can be amended either through a simple process or through a referendum.
Those provisions that can be amended through referendum are the entrenched provisions and those through simple process are unentrenched provisions.
The Constitution is seen as the heart of the people.
It has chapters such as the Constitution itself, the territories of the country, citizenship,fundamental human rights, chieftaincy, natural resources, laws of Ghana, the executive, legislature, judiciary,council of state,foreign affairs and international relations, finance, taxation, directive principles of state policy,sports and recreation, religion, customs, public and civil service, local government and decentralization, almost all other matters are considered by the Constitution.
As citizens, we should make the Constitution our important asset or friend.
Every home, workplace,school must have copies of this ‘sacred’ book.
Some of the words are not too difficult to understand.
It is important to contact a lawyer or a student of law to assist you in this endeavor.
Remember, all Ghanaians contributed in making this Constitution and therefore it should be defended by all.
Ahmed Osumanu Halid