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After studying this tutorial, you will now be able to state the main features of the 1960 first republican constitution of Ghana
A new draft Republican Constitution introduced by the Convention People’s Party administration was approved in a referendum held on 19th, 23rd and 27th April 1960. The 1960 constitution of Ghana abolished the post of Governor-General. The Prime Minister became an executive president acting as both head of government and head of state under the new title, President.
The 1960 constitution of Ghana took effect on 1st July 1960.
Key features of the 1960 first republican constitution of Ghana
1. A popularly elected executive president
He was at the same time a member of parliament. He was to be the head of state as well as head of government. Ministers and MPs were responsible to the president.
2. Unicameral legislature
The 1960 constitution of Ghana also provided for a unicameral legislature made up of 104 members presided over by a Speaker. To qualify for election in order to become a legislator, one must be a Ghanaian by birth and not less than 25 years of age.
The constitution also provided for a judiciary made of superior and inferior courts i.e. Supreme Court, high courts, circuit courts, district courts etc. Their main function was to settle disputes.
The 1960 first republican constitution of Ghana guaranteed fundamental human rights. This refers to the protection of those rights from encroachment or abuse. However, rather than entrench basic human rights in its provisions, the constitution only enjoined the president to swear an oath to protect those rights.
The principle of judicial review was also included in the constitution. By judicial review, the judiciary could declare actions of both the executive and the legislature unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
6. Separation of powers
The legislature was not separated from the executive as most ministers were also members of parliament.
The 1960 constitution of Ghana provided for a multi-party system. This provision remained until 1964 when the president was able to secure a constitutional amendment making Ghana a de jure one-party state.
The constitution also created Regional Assemblies for the regions.
9.Houses of chiefs
Regional Houses of Chiefs were created to deal with matters relating to the chieftaincy institution.
10. Public Service Commission
It created a public service commission responsible for the recruitment, promotion and discipline of members of the public service.
11. Kwame Nkrumah
The name of Dr Kwame Nkrumah was mentioned in the constitution as the first president of the Republic of Ghana.