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General News
Constitution should guarantee uninterrupted democracy -JAK 3/7/2007
Accra, March 5, GNA- President John Kufuor has asked Ghanaians to work towards a united and harmonious nation in which respect for human rights and other democratic practices would serve as basis for national development.

He said the Constitution was to guide the actions of all people to prevent excesses and guarantee sustained democratic governance. President Kufuor was speaking at the Golden Jubilee Sitting of Parliament, held around 2145 hours, on the eve of the 50th anniversary celebration to re-enact events that took place there 50 years ago when Ghana gained her freedom from Britain.

The sitting was a colourful event with Members of Parliament turning out in rich kente cloth, smocks and other traditional attires. The event attracted a large gathering of distinguished guests including Vice President Aliu Mahama, the Duke of Kent who represented Queen Elizabeth of Britain and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.

President Kufuor told the House that the existence of a Constitution made it easier for all concerned not to commit excesses.

He said: "Happily, we now have the Constitution of the 4th Republic which places limitations on the powers of all organs of the state. It makes it easier for all concerned not to commit excesses. So let us by this constitution try as much as possible, to build mutual trust to guarantee an uninterrupted democracy."

The President said the country''s success in sustaining "this finely written constitution with its checks and balances should be the highest aspiration of each and every organ of the State, as well as the entire citizenry of Ghana."

According to President Kufuor this was the only way to realise the lofty ideals of "freedom and justice on which our nation was founded at independence."

He said "Mutual trust, tolerance, happy co-existence, fellow feeling among the religions, ethnic groups and various generations should be articles of faith."

President Kufuor made some references to history and to the presence of the Duke of Kent in Parliament and said: "Fifty years ago, the Duke''s mother, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, graciously deputised for Her Majesty, the Queen at our independence."

He said the significance of the Duke''s presence must be to indicate the consistent friendship and goodwill that Her Majesty the Queen has for Ghana.

Madam Gertrude Mongella, Speaker of the Pan-African Parliament, in a goodwill message, said Ghana had shown the way to independence and also gone ahead to support other countries in their quest for the same. She called for increased cooperation among African countries, saying it was a united front that was needed to deal with the myriads of socio-economic problems.

President Obasanjo, who addressed Parliament on behalf of other Heads of state, said the commemoration of Ghana''s Golden Jubilee was an opportunity to remind all about the gallantry and sacrifice of the founding fathers who fought for freedom.

He said it was time to rekindle the spirit of these champions who liberated Africa by making a commitment to peace, economic growth and democratic development.

The Duke of Kent touched on the friendship between Britain and Ghana and said the celebration of 50 years of freedom also marked the celebration of 50 years of friendship between the two countries. He said Ghana had gathered strength to overcome her reverses and moved towards domestic stability, freedom and good governance. Earlier, Mr Ebenezer Sekyi Hugues, Speaker of Ghana''s Parliament, paid tribute to the memory of past speakers of Ghana''s Parliament, saying they had all contributed to the strengthening of parliamentary democracy.

He talked on unfortunate events that had interrupted the growth of the legislature and said Ghanaians had yearned for genuine democratic governance.

Mr Hugues said it was needful for all to be reminded of the central role that parliament played in enhancing democracy along with its oversight functions in governance. 6 March 07


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