7th January, since 2019 has been set aside as a public holiday earmarked to celebrate Ghana’s milestone as a democratic country since the fourth republic began. Ghana since, it’s independence has had its democracy occasionally truncated by a series of military coup. Therefore, 7th January has been set as constitution day in commemoration of the birth of the 1992 constitution.
This holiday was set aside by the current government to remind Ghanaians of their commitment towards a regime of an interrupted constitutional order. According to historical records, the 1992 constitution came into being in 1993 after a military government handed the reins of power to a democratically elected one.
Before the 1992 constitution came into being, there have been several constitutions written to help govern Ghana but once a military government takes over power the constitution gets suspended. The first time Ghana had a constitution was In 1957 when Ghana gained independence. This new constitution was modelled after the Westminster constitution in the UK. Nonetheless, The 1957 constitution was suspended when Dr Nkrumah was overthrown by a military coup.
Ghana returned to democracy in 1969 when the military government at that time handed over power to a democratically elected one lead by Dr Kofi Busia as Prime Minister.
Within a short time, another military coup was staged In 1972 Led by Colonel Ignatius Acheampong, who overthrew Busia’s government and set up a National Redemption Council.
In June 1979, a military coup led by junior officers ousted the government. Flt-Lt Jerry J Rawlings and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council declared that they had assumed power. Elections were later held and Dr Hilla Limann took office as President in September 1979.
Another coup was staged in 1981 and Rawlings overtook overpower again. He suspended the constitution and banned political parties.
In 19992 , Flt-Lt Jerry J Rawlings returned Ghana to democracy when he stood for elections and worn on the ticket of the NDC. Since 1992 Ghana has maintained a democratic system of government with the 1992 constitution firmly in place a source of legitimacy to successive government.
This is the longest duration that Ghana has had in place a body of laws providing legitimacy to series of democratically elected government spanning for almost 3 decades. This makes the fourth republic the most successful in terms of duration republic in Ghana’s 63 years of existence as a republic.
The fourth republic has consequently placed Ghana on a strong and consistent democratic path, envied by its neighbours. Citizens are advised to mark the day reminiscing how far Ghana has come as a country and the importance of sustaining the fourth republic.
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