It cannot now be denied that individual action is crucial to entrenching democratic principles, upholding the rule of law and promoting good governance. Towards these ideals, the citizens of Ghana agreed to adopt through the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, a framework for government that will secure for themselves and posterity, liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity and the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms. To kindle popular involvement in the democratic process, article 2 of the 1992 Constitution gives a right to any person to challenge the constitutionality of an act or omission of any person, an enactment and things done under the power of an enactment. In the period following January 1993, many citizens have taken advantage of this duty to protect Ghana's young democracy.
These individual actions have often had wider implications for the country's constitutional jurisprudence including (1) the role of Parliament and the Executive in Constitutional amendments, (2) the scope of the presidential immunity from suit and the personality of the Attorney-General, (3) The Connections between human dignity and exclusion from political office and (4) the scheme for the Parliamentary approval of international business and economic transactions. Using these lenses, this chapter argues that the conferment of a direct enforcement right on persons, natural and legal, has been fundamental to the success of the Fourth Republican Constitution of Ghana. It concludes that without this express power in the ordinary citizen; Ghana's entire constitutional architecture could not have stood the test of the last two odd decades.
By Accountants and Vigilantes: The Role of Individual Actions in the Ghanaian Supreme Court – Kenneth Ghartey, 2017 [now published as Chapter 2 in Addaney and Gyan Nyarko (eds), 'Ghana @ 60: Governance and Human Rights in Twenty-First Century Africa', Pretoria University Law Press, Centre for Human Rights (December, 2017)]
Kenneth is a Lecturer in the Law Department of Lancaster University Ghana. Kenneth also doubles as the Law Programme Coordinator