Article 18 (clause 1) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana states that “Every person has the right to own property either alone or in association with others.” The Constitution also gives every citizen a right to life, liberty, fair trial, equality and freedom from discrimination, freedom of speech and expression, freedom to form or join political parties and to participate in political activities and elect leaders. The rights to life, liberty and to own property are called natural rights, basic rights or fundamental rights.
The concept of natural or basic rights means that all persons automatically have these rights because they are human beings.
Everyone is born with these basic rights and they should not be taken without a person’s agreement.
The 1992 Constitution gives every citizen of Ghana of 18 years or above and of sound mind the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.
When we vote and elect our government, it means that we give up some of our rights and freedoms in exchange for our protection and security. This is to say that, people agree to follow laws in exchange for their protection and security.
Our Constitution also gives us the right to choose a government, and the government in turn has responsibility to protect our fights and seek our welfare by providing food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare to mention just a few. This agreement is called a Social Contract.
John Locke, an English scholar and a political thinker argued that government is created by a common agreement (That is treaty/contract) among human beings to serve the interest of other communities. Therefore all forms of rules should be based on agreement and consent of the people. Once there is a contract, there is an offer and an acceptance.
We, as people went to the polls and voted for this new government, telling them that we have accepted whatever offers they laid on the table in the political market-place and that we have given them the mandate to govern or rule over us.
I want to use your medium to remind President John Evan Atta Mills that during his campaign when he was the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress, he made it clear that he was signing a social contract with the people of Ghana and that if he was voted form he would fulfill his part of the contract.
I am appealing to other officers like the Members of Parliament, Ministers, District Chief Executives and Assemblymen and women who are agents of the president to also fulfill their part of the contract by addressing the problems of the people with speed and efficiency.
As citizens of Ghana, we must also carryout our side of the contract by raising high the good name of our country, Ghana, paying our taxes upholding and defending the Constitution, promoting natural unity and living in unity with others.
I also entreat all Ghanaians to co-operate with the law-enforcement and help to protect the environment and help to protect public property and funds.
Finally, I would like to remind all of us (Both electorate and those in authorities) that if we honour the social agreement that we have signed, it will help maintain governmental stability, peace and order. It also reduces the extent to which the repressive machinery of the state is exercised.
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