Virtual Kollage: Five reasons why Ghana opted to become a Republic

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Five reasons why Ghana opted to become a Republic


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FIVE REASONS WHY GHANA OPTED TO BECOME A REPUBLIC
Introduction
In April, 1960, the government of Ghana considered changing the status of the country to a republic. Based on this, a new constitution was drafted and presented to the National Assembly which was sitting as a Constituent Assembly. The proposals were unanimously approved in a plebiscite and the new constitution came into effect on 1st July, 1960. There were five major reasons why the republican proposal was made.

REASONS FOR ADOPTING A REPUBLICAN STATUS
Need for a home-grown constitution
One of the reasons why Ghana opted for a republican status was that it was felt that the 1957 independent constitution was forced on the people. In other words, that constitution was an imperialist imposition. After independence, the people felt the need for a constitution that reflected their true identity and aspirations as Ghanaians. They wanted a constitution that was prepared by Ghanaians themselves and not by their former colonial masters.

Remove the subordination of the Supreme Court
Another reason why Ghana opted for a republican status was the need to cut off the umbilical cord of the nation’s Supreme Court from that of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council sitting in London. Under the 1957 constitution of Ghana, though Ghana had a Supreme Court, it was not the highest Court of Appeal. The highest Court of Appeal was the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. The adoption of a republican status was going to remove this subordination and the Supreme Court of Ghana was going to be the highest court of the land. It also meant the removal of one of the last vestiges of colonialism.

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To feel truly sovereign
The independent constitution, which was in operation at the time, provided that Ghana’s Head of State should be a representative of the British Crown; in addition, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, was still the highest Court of Appeal. It felt like Ghana was still attached, somehow to the apron strings of their colonial masters. The attainment of republican status was going to cut off all these strings and make its citizens feel truly sovereign.

Following the traditions of other former British colonies
Prior to Ghana’s proposals to become a republic, other former British colonies had already attained that status. Burma, now Myanmar had become an independent republic on 4th January, 1948. India had attained a republican status in 1950 and Pakistan had followed as a republic in 1956. Ghana’s quest for a republican status was therefore nothing new; it was just in line with the political traditions of other former British colonies before her.

Membership of the Commonwealth intact
A common tradition of post independent former British colonies was their membership of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth is a club, sort of, of former British colonies, membership of which came with some benefits not limited to financials for crucial developmental activities. It was realized that the attainment of a republican status was not going to affect Ghana’s membership of the Commonwealth and therefore, assistance was going to keep flowing in. The fact that Ghana was going to continue to be a member of the Commonwealth also contributed to the push for a republican status.

SAMPLE QUESTION(S)
1. Explain five reasons why Ghana opted for a republican status.

ALSO READ:
The features of the 1960 republican constitution of Ghana
The functions and powers of the president under the 1960 Republican constitution of Ghana

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