The Convention People’s Party (CPP) has called on Ghanaians to initiate moves to repeal Article 71 of the Constitution of the Fourth Republic that makes Former Presidents to expect to be accommodated by the State.
“Instead of wasting precious time deliberating on Former President Rawlings’ controversial accommodation issue, we should focus on when and how to repeal Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution, which made Former Presidents to expect being accommodated by the State,” Mr William Dowokpor, Communications Director of CPP, said in an interview with GNA in Accra on Tuesday.
He was stating the Party’s position on the issue.
Mr Dowokpor insisted that debate on the issue in the past two weeks had so far pointed to the need for Article 71 in the 1992 Constitution to be amended.
“I find it difficult to understand how a President, who governs Ghana for at least four years, who was paid salary which he did not need anyway, got everything for free while in Office and still demands to be accommodated after leaving office.
“If that President was not minded to save his salary to acquire accommodation for himself, within his legitimate earnings, as Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Ghana, what message are we sending to the ordinary Ghanaian worker as leaders? That they must not save towards retirement? Or they can never save for accommodation in their retirement?” He asked.
“What are we telling our future leaders… that Former Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor governed Ghana for 19 and eight years, respectively, without making any savings to acquire office and residential accommodation?”.
“Is this the leadership example we can show?” He asked.
Mr Dowokpor said there were much needed efforts towards Ghana’s development, saying: “We are faced with finding solutions to poverty among our people; dysfunctional educational system; increasing unemployment; provision of potable water; quality health care; and the high cost of unreliable utilities and the absence of a national vision that should determine our priorities as a nation, and we spend time on frivolities such as housing Former Presidents.”
He called on Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor to be honourable and to return all State properties except cash payments they had received as ex-gratia under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution to the State if they wished to be remembered as noble Statesmen.
The CPP Communications Director exhorted members of the Constitutional Review Committee to take note of the controversy surrounding Article 71, adding that “like the Judiciary, Presidents should retire on their salaries”.
“The Constitutional Review Committee must judge for themselves the relevance or otherwise of Article 71 and do what is right and just to mother Ghana,” he charged.
Article 71 (2) states “The salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities available, to the President, the Vice-President, the Chairman and other members of the Council of State; Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers, being expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund, shall be determined by Parliament on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State.