Celebrating Constitution Day: Our Duties and the Rewards of Defending the Constitution – Lawyer Tweneboa-Koduah Dickson Writes4 min read
As Ghana commemorates Constitution Day on the 7th of January, it is essential to reflect on the significance of our duties as citizens and the rewards that come with defending the constitution. Article 3, clauses 4-7 of the 1992 Constitution outline our rights and responsibilities in protecting our democracy:
(4) All citizens of Ghana shall have the right and duty at all times –
(a) to defend this Constitution, and in particular, to resist any pperson or group of persons seeking to commit any of the acts referred to in clause (3) of this article; and
(b) to do all in their power to restore this Constitution after it has been suspended, overthrown, or abrogated as referred to in clause (3) of this article.
(5) Any person or group of persons who suppresses or resists the suspension, overthrow or abrogation of this Constitution as referred to in clause (3) of this article, commit no offence.
(6) Where a person referred to in clause (5) of this article is punished for any act done under that clause, the punishment shall, on the restoration of this Constitution, be taken to be void from the time it was imposed and he shall, from that time, be taken to be absolved from all liabilities arising out of the punishment.
(7) The Supreme Court shall, on application by or on behalf of a person who has suffered any punishment or loss to which clause (6) of this article relates, award him adequate compensation, which shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund, in respect of any suffering or loss incurred as a result of the punishment.
On this auspicious day, let us be reminded of the power we hold as guardians of our constitution and the rewards that await us as we fulfil our duties.
Article 3, clauses 4-7 affirm our duty to defend the constitution at all times. It is our responsibility to resist any person or group seeking to undermine the principles enshrined in our constitution. By doing so, we contribute to the preservation of our democratic values and ensure the stability of our nation. Let us take inspiration from the words of Wendell Phillips, that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
May we be reminded, that in the unlikely event that the constitution be suspended, overthrown, or abrogated, (may God perish the thought), we have the duty to restore it. Article 3, clause 4(b) emphasizes the importance of doing all in our power to reinstate the constitution. This provision reminds us that the responsibility of rebuilding lies with each and every citizen. We must stand united in our commitment to restore the fundamental principles that guide our nation. “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it.” – Albert Einstein
Article 3, clause 5 assures us that those who suppress or resist the suspension, overthrow, or abrogation of the constitution commit no offense. This provision recognizes the righteousness of our actions in defending the constitution. It affirms that we have the right to protect our democracy without fear of retribution. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke.
In the event that a citizen suffers punishment or loss for defending the constitution, Article 3, clause 7 guarantees the right to seek adequate compensation. The Supreme Court, upon application, has the authority to award compensation for any suffering or loss incurred as a result of such punishment. This provision underscores the importance of justice and accountability in our democratic system.
As we celebrate Constitution Day, let us be reminded of the duties bestowed upon us by the Constitution. Our commitment to defending and restoring the constitution is not only a duty but also a means to safeguard our democracy and secure a brighter future. By upholding our responsibilities, we ensure that the rewards of freedom, justice, and equality continue to flourish in our nation.
“Our constitution is a ray of hope; let us protect it, cherish it, and pass it on to future generations.” – Anonymous
The author, TWENEBOA-KODUAH DICKSON, ESQ is a Legal Practitioner, Notary Public and Member of the Chattered Institute of Arbitration, UK. He has worked extensively in shaping the political future of Ghana as a Media Practitioner for over two decades. He partook in the compilation of the electoral register for the 1992 General Elections as a Registration Assistant. He also served as a Polling Assistant and Presiding Officer for the 1992 and 2000 General elections respectively. In 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020, he was involved in the reporting of the conduct the General elections on major media platforms. He was also involved in the reporting of, and education on the 2012 and 2020 election Petitions.