1969 Constitution of Ghana – WASSCE Questions & Answers

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You will find in this detailed tutorial all the points you need to answer any question on the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

We shall be taking an in depth look at the features of the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

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Areas to cover include the following.

1. The provisions of the 1969 constitution meant to prevent dictatorship

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2. Provisions in the second republican constitution of Ghana to safeguard the independence of the Judiciary.

3. Functions of the Prime Minister under the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

4. Functions of the President under the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

5. Features of the constitution

6. Structure of the Judiciary

The 1969 constitution ushered in the second republic of Ghana. This followed the February 24, 1966 overthrow of the 1960 first republican constitution of the Kwame Nkrumah era.

1. Key Features

The second republican constitution of Ghana clearly spelt out its supremacy over all other laws and institutions in the country.

It also provided for a multi-party political system. This was unlike the 1960 constitution that was amended in to make Ghana a de jure one-party state in 1964.

Unlike the 1960 constitution of Ghana, the 1969 constitution of Ghana provided for a parliamentary or cabinet system of government.

Consequently, there was a bicephalous executive made up of a Prime Minister (head of government) and a President (ceremonial head of state).

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Please note that Ghana was able to witness only one civilian administration under the 1969 constitution. The Prime Minister was Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia while the ceremonial president was Mr. Edward Akuffo-Addo.

Another feature of the 1969 second republican constitution of Ghana was that it created the office of the Ombudsman also known as Public Complaints Commission.

The constitution also created a Judiciary and made provisions for the protection of the independence of the Judiciary.

Judicial Review was another important feature of the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

Furthermore, the constitution contained entrenched clauses that protected the rights and liberties of the people.

It made provision for a Council of State. Its main function was to advise the executive arm of government on important national issues.

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2. Provisions to prevent dictatorship

Just take a look at another typical WASSCE or Senior High School Government question on the 1969 constitution of Ghana:

Outline six provisions in the 1969 constitution of Ghana meant to prevent dictatorship.

WAEC/WASSCE

You can use the below points to do justice to the above question.

Provision was made for the supremacy of the constitution: 

Unlike the 1960 First Republican  Constitution which only emphasized the sovereignty of the people (popular or political sovereignty), the 1969 Second Republican Constitution emphasized the constitution as the supreme law of the land (legal sovereignty)

It protected the liberty of the individual: The fundamental human rights of the individual such as a right to life, freedom of movement, association etc. were duly entrenched to ensure rule of law. Thus people could seek redress in court when such rights were violated.

The constitution provided for a bicephalous executive: This was fashioned on the British parliamentary system when the Head of state performed Executive functions. This was adopted to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a single executive.

The constitution guaranteed the independence of the judiciary: 

a) Security of tenure: A judge could only be removed from office by the president in consultation with the Council of State. This should be on grounds of stated and proven misdemeanor or infirmity of mind investigated by a Judicial Tribunal.

Otherwise, a judge could resign from office any time he wished but must retire at the compulsory age of sixty.

b) Security of remuneration: The salaries, gratuities, allowances and pensions of judges of the superior courts were to be charged on the consolidated fund.

It made provision for Judicial Review: By Judicial Review, the Supreme Court was empowered to declare actions of the executive and the legislature void if found to contravene the constitution.

The Constitution for the first time in the history of Ghana created the office of Ombudsman also known as Public Complaints Commission: This office was to serve as an agent of parliament to redress administrative abuses and grievances arising out of the actions or inactions government appointees and institutions.

They included government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), public corporations, the armed forces, the police, prison service etc.

The Centre for Civic Education was also established: This office was to take charge of citizenship education on issues such as human rights, duties, political participation etc.

The Council of State: This body was to advise the president and also to deal with national issues on a non-partisan basis. The president was required to consult this body before taking certain major decisions.

The Constitution Provided for a Multi-Party System: This provision was meant to prevent the emergence of a one party system and monopoly of power.

It established an Independent Electoral System.: This was to ensure free and fair elections and  a truly representative government

3. Structure and Functions of the Judiciary

Look out for a question like the one below under the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

Discuss the structure and functions of the judiciary under the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

WAEC/WASSCE

 STRUCTURE

THE SUPERIOR COURTS OF JUDICATURE.

They were made up of:

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice, was the highest court of the land and therefore the final court of appeal.

It had, as its members, not less than six justices of the superior court and any other justices of the superior court of judicature as the Chief Justice may request to sit in the Supreme Court for specified periods.

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The Supreme Court of Ghana also had exclusive jurisdiction to interpret the constitution and to determine whether any act by anybody, authority or persons went beyond the power conferred on them by the constitution. (Judicial Review)

The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal, under the 1969 constitution, consisted of the Chief Justice and not less than five justices of the Court Of Appeal and other such justices of the superior court of judicature as the chief justice may decide for specified jurisdiction to determine appeals from any judgment decree or order of the High Court.

The High Court

The High Court consisted of the chief justice and not less than twelve judges and other justices of the superior court of judicature as the chief justice may decide for specified periods.

The High Court exercised jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters and such other appellate jurisdiction as may be conferred by law.

In addition, it served as a court of appeal for lower courts in civil and criminal matters.

It also exercised supervisory jurisdiction over all lower courts.

THE LOWER COURTS. 

All other courts except those mentioned above constituted the lower or inferior courts.

The lower courts were made up of the Circuit Courts, District Courts and any such other traditional courts as may be established by law.

4. Independence of the Judiciary

Here are two more likely WASSCE/SHS questions you must seriously consider as you prepare for Government questions based on the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

Assess the independence of the judiciary under the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

WAEC/WASSCE

Or:

Outline four provisions made for the independence of the judiciary under the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

WAEC/WASSCE

Let’s begin with a quick explanation of the term “judicial independence” or “independence of the judiciary”.

The term judicial independence means that judges administer justice without any interference or influence from either the legislative or executive arm of government or from any other external body or individual.

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It also means a judge must show total impartiality and should not be biased or have a vested interest in a case which comes before him or her.

INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY UNDER THE 1969 CONSTITUTION

JUDICIAL POWER

The constitution vested the judicial power solely in the Judiciary to settle disputes without interference from the Legislature and Executive.

APPOINTMENT

Judges of the superior court were to be appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Council. In the same vein, the Chief Justice was to be appointed by the President in consultation with the council of state.

JUDICIAL REVIEW

The Judiciary had the power of Judicial Review over executive actions and legislature enactments. By this power, the judiciary could declare actions of the executive and the legislature as unconstitutional if they violated the letter and spirit of the constitution

SECURITY OF TENURE

Security of tenure: a judge could only be removed from office by the president in consultation with the Council of State on grounds of stated and proven misdemeanor or infirmity of mind investigated and established by a Judicial Tribunal made up of three judges. Otherwise, a judge could resign from office any time he wished but must retire at the compulsory age of sixty. This was to ensure that judges were not dismissed arbitrarily

REMUNERATION

Security of remuneration: The salaries, gratuities, allowances and pensions of judges of the superior courts were to be charged on the consolidated fund.

FREEDOM FROM PROSECUTION

Judges were immune from any legal prosecution in regard to their actions or pronouncements made in the course of the performance of their official duties.

ASSESSMENT/LIMITATIONS

Below were some limitations and obstacles that undermined the independence of the Judiciary under the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

On a number of occasions, the executive manipulated, or openly displayed total disregard for, the decisions of the judiciary.

A notable example was when Prime Minister Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia terminated the appointment of 568 public servants in the infamous Sallah case (Apollo 568 Saga)

In fact, the Prime Minister blatantly refused to respect the Supreme Court verdict in favour of one of the affected public servants known as Sallah who challenged the action of the Prime Minister in court.

Busia accused the courts of meddling in politics and threatened to deal with them.

Secondly, public opinion sometimes influenced decisions of the courts.

As if the above two limiting factors were not enough, corruption within the ranks of the judiciary itself influenced their decisions.

5. Functions of the Prime Minister

It is now time for us to identify the functions of the Prime Minister under the 1969 Second Republican constitution of Ghana.

The 1969 Second Republican Constitution ushered in a parliamentary system of government and a  Progress Party – led administration of Prime Minister Dr. K. A. Busia.

This was after the National Liberation Council military government of Brigadier A.A. Afrifa decided to return the country to constitutional rule in September 1969.

You can now have the functions and powers of the Prime Minister under the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

First, the Prime Minister was a member of parliament and leader of the majority party in parliament.

He was the head of government as well as spokesperson for the party in power.

The Prime Minister represented the country in both domestic as well as international affairs.

He recommended to the president people to be appointed to cabinet and non-cabinet positions. Thus, he had the power to ask a minister to resign or ask the president to remove such a person from office.

The Prime Minister, under the Second Republican constitution of Ghana, had the power to reshuffle, discipline, and dismiss his ministers.

He co-ordinated the activities of the various ministries to prevent duplication of activities and ensure efficiency in government.

The Prime Minister and other cabinet ministers were collectively responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies.

As a member of parliament, he took part in parliamentary business, sought and promoted the interest of his constituents.

He was the only one who could hold regular consultations with the president (Head of State) and keep him informed on the cabinet’s activities.

It was the duty of the Prime Minister to chair cabinet meetings and to control the agenda at such meetings.

He was responsible for the maintenance of law and order by virtue of his position as chairman of the National Security council

LIMITATIONS TO THE POWERS OF THE PRIME MINISTER UNDER THE 1969 CONSTITUTION OF GHANA

There was an official opposition in parliament. Through their criticisms, the opposition kept the Prime Minister and his entire cabinet in check.

Public opinion also influenced the Prime Minister’s actions.

His actions were  subject to Judicial Review

6. Functions of the President

What were the functions of the President under the 1969 second republican constitution of Ghana?

The above is another likely WAEC/WASSCE Government question you need to prepare adequately for.

The 1969 Second Republican Constitution created the office of a ceremonial Head of State.

For an individual to be president he must be a Ghanaian by birth, sufficiently educated for that purpose and must not be less than forty years of age.

His tenure of office was four years and limited to two terms only. Mr. Edward Akuffo-Addo became president under the 1969 constitution.

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Here comes a list of the functions and powers of the President under the 1969 constitution of Ghana.

The President was Head of State and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

He assented to all bills from the National Assembly (Parliament).

He appointed the leader of the majority party in parliament as Prime Minister.

He appointed the Auditor – General, Ombudsman and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana.

He exercised the power of Prerogative of Mercy in consultation with the Council of State. He could, therefore, pardon convicted offenders or commute their death sentences to any term of imprisonment.

He determined the salaries of the following:

Judges of the Superior Courts.

Electoral Commissioner.

Ombudsman.

Auditor – General.

Members of the Public Services Commission.

He received the credentials of foreign envoys or ambassadors accredited to Ghana.

He could dissolve parliament on the advice of the Prime Minister.

He delivered the annual State – of – the – Nation address to parliament on the advice of Cabinet.

He made regulations to govern the registration of professional bodies.

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Ralph spends his day working as an online entrepreneur and e-learning strategist. As a digital publishing trainer/consultant, he has developed exceptional skills in SEO-content writing. He writes extensively on lifelong learning and personal development issues. Ralph is the CEO of RN Digital Media Ent - a digital publishing & content marketing services platform he founded in 2017.

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