22.03.2023 Feature Article

Open Letter To The Citizens On Preservation And Defence Of Article 71 Of The 1992 Constitution

Open Letter To The Citizens On Preservation And Defence Of Article 71 Of The 1992 Constitution
22.03.2023 LISTEN

Dear fellow Citizens, praying and working together for effective Nation building, I greet all of you,

Fellow Compatriots, it is globally acclaimed that education improves the intelligence, proficiencies, attitude, character etc. of persons hence the importance of education for effective national development cannot be over-emphasized. So, since the attainment of independence in 1957, Ghana has built and continued to be building a lot of educational institutions coupled with the relevant research institutions, which, provided and are providing training and research in all the necessary subjects.

Recognizing the importance of education for rapid national development, the framers of the Nation’s Constitutions enshrined at Article 25, of the 1992 Constitutions, educational rights to all persons in Ghana and to ensure this is done, the provision of free education has been a Constitutional provision as at sections a, b, and Article 25 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.

Besides providing education to the citizens in local institutions, the Country since 1957, has been providing scholarships for some of her citizens to be trained abroad especially in prestigious institutions. Consequently, Ghana has a lot of well-educated persons with some of them with excellent working experience with International Bodies, International Corporate Institutions and in various jobs in Advanced Countries; hence, the Country has at her disposal very high caliber human resources.

Notwithstanding, the good effort of the nation, in educating her human resources within and outside Ghana as well as providing some of them with good managerial exposures at various fields , the citizens continued to be suffering in abject poverty, irrespective that the Nation is richly endowed with numerous resources.

So, bearing in mind of the nation’s political, social and economic history and the availability of the very high caliber human resources within and outside Ghana and the need to get them to be actively involved in nation building by occupying Political Offices/Public Policy Offices or as Public Office Holders, the framers of the 1992 Constitution, came out with Article 70 and Article 71 and made them as part of the entrenched Constitutional provisions. These were made as entrenched provisions as stated in order to entice very high caliber, honest and diligent persons to occupy offices as the President of Ghana, VP of Ghana, Hon MPs and the Offices as mentioned at Article 70 of the 1992 Constitution.

Fellow Compatriots. Article 71 as one of the entrenched provisions in the Constitution was and is aimed at ensuring a demand for critical thinking on the matters of the provision, herein the emoluments before embarking on a very expensive and time consuming, any may be needless attempt to amend it. So, based on the understanding of the attitude of Ghanaians as clearly described by Hon Alhassan Sayibu Suhiyini in the morning of 21 March 2023 on a program of TV3 as lazy thinkers, the Framers of the 1992 Constitution, provided a very strong means of protection of the term of conditions especially the emoluments for the affected public offices against populists or political opportunists or incompetent persons, who may exploit the emotions of a very ignorant gullible public against the emoluments of the affected Public Office Holders.

So, to reduce this risk to the barest minimum, the framers of the 1992 Constitution further fortified Article 71 and other relevant provisions for national development and stability when they demanded a referendum throughout Ghana and at least 40% of persons entitled to vote, voted at the referendum and at least 75% of the voters voted yes in favor of the passing the Bill for the amendment of the provisions. A further measure, the framers of the 1992 Constitution put in place to secure the provisions is making the Amendment of the Constitution’s chapter 25 with others as entrenched provision as at (r) of Article 290(1). This meant a lot.

Let me emphasize that the Constitutional intent of making Article 70 and Article 71 as entrenched provisions, is to demand critical, sound and intelligent reasoning or thinking on the issue(s) before taking costly and time consuming actions on the amendment process, that is to say, to make the entrenched provisions a little difficult to amend.

So, please, the allegation in the public domain that ex-President JDM Mahama who benefited and continued to be benefiting from the provisions of the 1992 Constitution, when he was elected as Hon MP, thus unlike a Teacher who is posted upon completion of teacher training Programme at the cost of the nation or just by application, one time Parliamentary candidate Mahama competed in a very costly election and won, so he must be fully aware of the risks which Hon MPs faces or state of affairs of an MP. He also faced some risks and made some benefits when he served as a Deputy Minister, later as a Minister of State, when he occupied the high office of VP, and lastly, when he was elected and served as President of Ghana thus competed in a very costly Presidential election, so, he is fully aware of the risks faced by or the state of affairs of a President particularly when he wants to be elected in 2024 to occupy the Office of the President of Ghana again, so unlike a Teacher he must have done the risk assessment on relevant matters before making this very risky decision which may give a final blow to his ego if he is not the winner of the 2024 Presidential Election. Good luck to him.

Fellow Citizens, competing in a Presidential election will require one to make heavy investment in both cash and time. One may sell a property or properties to raise more money for election campaigns at both the primaries and the national one. If by God blessings, ex-President JDM Mahama is elected as President of Ghana in 2024, he will be required to make again a covenant with God (because it is God who nominates a leader, so Constitutions are normally made in the name of God) thus take the Oath of Allegiance, and Presidential Oath. Thus he will swear again that he will preserve, uphold, defend and protect the 1992 Constitution which has anchored the Fourth Republic since 1993 and thus made it possible for him to have occupied the above mentioned Public Policy Offices from MP to President and wants to be President again. He needs to read how Singapore developed under the leadership of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew the warrant buffet of Singapore with his ideology of pragmatism and meritocracy, hence good emolument for Public Office Holders.

Ex-President Mahama, as a seasoned Statesman, must be fully aware that the previous Constitutions did not see a change of batons between a predecessor and a successor or successive presidencies like the 1992 Constitution. Hence, he is fully aware of the hazards faced by public Office Holders. The risks include renunciation of dual citizenship otherwise face prosecution when elected, high cost and time consuming during the election process and the risk of lucrative windows for corrupt acts when elected.

So, it is very unfortunate for our very seasoned politician, who should be educating us, the public about issues on Article 71 has sunk low by joining the ignorant gullible public, to demand for the cancellation of an alleged ex-gratia, when he knows very well that the Constitutional provisions talked of only emoluments and gratuity for a very good reason especially the good ideology of Lee Kuan Yew, and not any payment of ex-gratia, as alleged which if payment is done as ex-gratia then it is unconstitutional and thievery acts/Looting of the State, so we need to act strongly in our demand for the refund of any payment of ex-gratia wrongly paid to affected persons.

So, if no ex-gratia was paid and he really made such an utterance that he will cancel ex-gratia when elected as a President then he just exploited the lack of Critical thinking by some of our elites, notwithstanding their academic credentials, otherwise some of elites are lazy thinkers with apology to Hon Alhassan Suhiyini and an ignorant gullible public and created an elephant in the room for a lucrative political opportunism (populism), so that he can gain mass support in his campaign bid. He needs to revise his notes because it is God who nominates a leader otherwise he will be disappointed the third time because, the Constitution was/is prepared in the name of Almighty God, so one may be right to say it is part of God’s code for the stability of His Country and to ensure the welfare of His good people. unless amended by Parliament, the Constitution must be preserved, upheld, protected and defended by the President including ex-Presidents. So the ex-President should take note to restore and sustain his credibility to make him the most electable Presidential Candidate, because God wants to see honest persons as Head of State of His Countries therefore Ghana. To quote him, it is God who nominates a President. You may Google for this statement of his, made in 2016.

This sort of attitude or utterances by some of our leaders really demonstrates that Ghana has serious problems with her human resources. So, Hon Alhassan Suhiyini is very right when he said that Ghanaians are Lazy Thinkers, one may add in addition to our dishonesty, greediness etc attitude. Consequently, the Right Hon Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament was 100% right when he said that the problem is not the 1992 Constitution but the quality (Competency, attitude etc) of the human resources of this Country. So, if God rotates the people of Singapore with the citizens of Ghana, we, the citizens of Ghana, will turn Singapore, our new home upside-down (destroy the place) and cross the sea with whatever means to be migrants with the citizens of Singapore .in their new home country (Ghana)

Folks, as part of education of the public to enrich public discourses, especially on Constitutional matters, let me emphasize that the Constitutional intent in making Article 71 as entrenched provision is to protect the emoluments of the affected Public Office Holders at Article 70 and other provisions in order to entice very high caliber, honest, loyal, and hardworking Citizens within and outside Ghana for Public Offices at the highest echelon in the Country and retain same without the resignation of the affected Office Holders to take a better paid job elsewhere or prevent them from compromising their positions through corrupt acts or from being influenced by an external Country or someone within to compromise their positions.

Also, the Constitutional intent at Article 71, is to assure the financial independence of the President and the affected pubic office holders, their dignity or stature so that they are not made to be impoverished and thus susceptible to corruption which might jeopardize the public interest. Furthermore, compensation or the Salary must be adequate to maintain qualified persons, to also allow those who are independently wealth to serve in these positions if so elected or appointed to serve their nation.

Thus the Constitutional intent at Article 71 is to enhance a greater chance of attracting honest, diligent and very high caliber personnel within and outside Ghana to compete in very costly elections, firstly at the level of the primaries of Political Parties and secondly, at the National and Constituency levels for Presidential and Parliamentary candidates respectively or be appointed to occupy offices at the very high national echelon or level.

So the bizarre statement by ex-President Mahama that he will cancel ex-gratia when elected, must be condemned by patriotic citizens especially labour experts because ex-President Mahama and his cohorts or political opportunists need to be educated that the risk and other factors used to determine the terms and conditions especially the emoluments of public Policy and other public office holders cannot be compared to that of a teacher or a Professor or Vice Chancellor of a University, notwithstanding his academic stature, nor the donkey years in service.

As stated, the emolument for Article 71 Office Holders must be very attractive to entice a Professor or the Vice Chancellor of a University to renounce any dual citizenship and resign from his post and may be sell his property or use his savings to compete in the very costly election either as a Presidential or Parliamentary candidate or accept as a public policy Office Holder or a member of the Superior Court or as Chairpersons and member of the Executive Bodies, all of these designated as Article 71 Office Holders and not vice versa that is to say to prevent a professor who is elected as President or MP resigning from being President of Ghana or MP to take the post of VC.

Fellow Citizens, the entrenched provisions were/ are necessary evil theory, to deal with the possibility of populism or political opportunism or any irrational nature of some politicians who are lazy Thinkers or cannot think critically and or who may be disposed to inciting a gullible populace to revolt against public officer Holders at the higher echelon due to their conditions of services granted by Constitutional provision, which may lead to the possible danger of resignation of the public office holders at the Executive branch of government from being the President, VP, Ministers of States or as in the Legislature Arm as the Speaker and Members of Parliament, or as the Judiciary Arm as Chief Justice/Justice of the Superior Courts or with Executive Bodies like the Chairperson and the two deputies at the EC, the Commissioner of Human Rights/and Administration of Justices, the Auditor General, the chairman and other members of Public Service Commission, Land Commission ,the governing Bodies of public corporations etc at Article 70 for a better paid job elsewhere.

So, the very poor state of the management of the Country by some of the Public Policy Office Holders is squarely attributed to the kind of Ghana’s human resources, mostly lazy thinkers/ lack of critical thinking mindset, lazy, corrupt, dishonest, selfish, ungodly hence incompetent (useless, ineffectual, indecisive, fruitless) to meet the aspirations of the framers of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

Amazingly, notwithstanding the numerous Churches and Mosques, the Citizens especially the educated persons have added graduation in wicked acts especially pull him down tendencies and criminal activities (corruption, looting, banditry activities, scams) as well as fronting for foreigners in no go areas for foreigners to their brand/credentials.

Fellow Compatriots, Let me cite examples to drive my point home that we are dishonest, greedy, lazy Thinkers/ we lacked critical mindset because that will help us to know that some of our leaders were and are merely laughable otherwise stupid. Folks, we need to show our strongest anger, by saying it as it is, in order to get our leaders to wake up and act properly. So, before I expatiate further on the topic, let me cite some examples that speak volume of the nature of the human resources of Ghana.

Folks Example number one - The Gold for Oil Deal - The Gold for Oil Deal is God send to help save His people in Ghana after Ghanaian suffering to gain their good senses you may deduce this from the declaration in the Holy Bible at 1 Peter 5:10 which states ‘So after you have suffered a little while, He will Restore, Support and Strengthen you and He will put you on a Firm Foundation’. This can be interpreted in our situation, to say that due to our attitude, we must suffer in order to gain a breakthrough in our development (economy).

Fellow Citizens, this Country is among the Countries as leading producers of gold in the world, which is one of the highest paying commodities. Example one ounce of gold is about 2,000 US Dollars. So Ghana in an economy downturn and has a Constitutional provision at Section 6 of Article 257 of the 1992 Constitution which declares that all minerals therefore gold are vested in the President of Ghana on behalf of, and in trust for the citizens, So with the hardship being suffered by the Citizens, who are the owners of the gold, it requires the President of Ghana who is the custodian of the gold on their behalf to think outside the box and come out with policies to ensure the quick rebooting of the economy.

So, in January 2023, the presidency took cognizance that gold production was ongoing and unlike rice or other Agric products with a long gestation period, gold can easily be harnessed for immediate rebooting of the economy whilst putting other measures in place to attain debt sustainability and thus macroeconomic stability. This gave birth to the Gold for Oil Policy, seen as the best and or the immediate policy that can help in the economy recovery program within the possible shortest time. So those against the Gold for Oil Policy should revise their notes very well and help provide good suggestions for the success of the policy.

Folks, a simple study or research by some of the educated compatriots who are against the Gold for Oil Policy on the history of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) as established by the PNDC through PNDC Law 219 of 1989 as the sole buyer and exporter of gold from the Small Scale Gold Mining Sector as put in place by the PNDC through the Small Scale Gold Mining Law 1989 (PNDC Law 218) and a study of the situation in the Small Scale Mining Sector before the initiation of the Gold for Oil Deal,, they would have reasoned or been informed why the government tactically came out with the Gold for Oil Deal and change their negative stand against the Deal.

Folks, they would have appreciated that the Deal is to get PMMC recapture her original operational jurisdiction as put in place by the PNDC. So, it was based on a very crafty and good political risk assessment of the situation on the ground. By this policy of the Gold for Oil Deal, the mass support from the affected actors in the Small Scale Mining Sector was or is possible, since, the original actors in the mining sector will see the need to return to system put in place by the PNDC and sacrifice for the success of the Deal. The Deal should be regarded as the only way to reverse the situation in the Small Scale Gold Mining Sector to the original situation especially for PMMC to re-capture her original role from the Gold Export Companies as the sole exporter of gold from the Small Scale Mining Sector and bring 100% of the sales to Ghana thus prevent mass protest from the Gold Export Companies which were established in 2016 (Google for Procedure for Exporting of God by Licensed Gold Exporters envisaged as a looting scheme made in 2016) and made to export gold from the Small Scale Mining Sector and bring 80% of the sales to Ghana and keep 20% in Dubai etc as against the100% repatriation of the gold sales by the PMMC as put in place by the PNDC.

In the Mining Industry, it is normally said that every ounce of gold and every US Cent matters very much so one could say that in the national economy every measure to conserve One USA Dollar for boosting the Cedis matters very much. So the Deal is the best option that convinced and received the support of the member Mining Companies of the Ghana Chamber of Mines for additional 20% of gold as part of their Corporate Social Responsibilities for oil for the national economy to help alleviate the suffering of the people, especially the suffering in their catchment areas.

So, the deal is one of the multifaceted measures to help strengthen the Ghana Cedis because there is high possibility that over 3Billion Dollars per year may be obtained from the deal if it is well managed. Juxtapose this expected amount against the expected 3 Billion Dollars bailout from the IMF which may even come in quantities of 1Billion USA Dollar per year from the IMF and under strict conditions. So, the Deal will therefore help reduce the demand for Dollars from Bank of Ghana by all traditional importers especially importers of oil to buy the quantity of oil for the Country.

Those calling for transparency and honest transactions in the deal like ex-President Mahama must be commended for these demands because the demand is in line with the Constitutional dogma of Probity, Transparency and Accountability. But those against it, are to be informed that they are failing to think and think big, because a critical reasoning on the matter, will make them to know or they would have been informed that PMMC as established by the PNDC started gold exports since 1989 from the Small Scale Mining Sector and this was done through reputable External Registered Gold Dealers (intermediaries or middle Agents with adequate insurance cover as expected in the Business Sector)

It is envisaged that some of the people who are against the Deal, may be doing so, for their selfish gains or due their incompetency. AlI persons need to be informed that, in 2016 or so some officials of the State either acted at the blind side of or deceived the then President of Ghana and prevented PMMC to act as the sole monopoly for the purchase of gold and exporter of gold from the Scale Mining Sector. The over 2.5 Billion USA Dollars reported by the CIA or Reuters through smuggling of gold in 2016 (Google for it) speaks volume of a likely looting scheme by some State officials in 2016. So those who are aware of these details and not happy with the deal and are still against the Gold for Oil Policy must be shamed as national detractors by you, the good citizens.

Folks Example number 2- The failed MoMo-levy - Despite an earlier warning by the Vice President that MoMo transactions was not an area to tax, so if it was necessary to tax the MoMo portfolio, then the reasonable thing was to conduct nationwide stakeholders’ engagement and start between 0.5% to 1% for it to be acceptable. But maybe due to poor judgment and incompetency or may be for someone’s secret greediness agendum with the thinking of making some personal gains through collateralization of the MoMo levy if approved, so, the hue and cry of the populace for a lower threshold was ignored because the perpetrators might have felt that it will affect the quantum of their gains. So, the affected State Actors thought they were wise, when they enticed the GRPTU and other Commercial vehicles operators to support the MoMo Levy, in return for the abrogation or suspension of the road toll. Thus thinking that was enough Stakeholder engagement for the plan to go through.

So, the GRPTU who should be interested in seeing good roads, were fooled that more revenue was going to be raked from the MoMo levy for both the maintenance of the Roads and construction of good roads, very dear to the hearts of drivers in general. Without waiting for the year to come to an end, so that the Country and the staff at various toll booths and associated petty traders at the areas of the toll booth could make some revenue for the last three months of the budget year 2022 or when Parliament grants approval of the budget, the Road Toll was irrationally suspended with the speed of light.

Example Number 3
It was not in the best interest for the country when President Nana Addo ridiculously appointed Hon Alan Kyeramantin (Alan Cash) as the Minister of Trade and Hon Dr Akoto as Minister of Agric, when he knew very well on the onset that the two and others nursed the idea to become President since 2008 and will again compete with each other to become the Flag Bearer of the NPP for the 2024 Presidential election. So the likelihood of lack of cooperation between the two Ministers was possible.

Folks, it was very bizarre otherwise incompetent on the President’s part when he made these two persons to occupy the two very important portfolios for the National Economy Development. Because, with our normal brand of pull him down, the President should have feared that the two may not cooperate very well for the rapid transformation and modernization of the Agric sector noted as the engine for the growth of the economy, through among others to provide raw material to drive the industrialization agenda under the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Folks rumor indicated that one of the areas of lack of cooperation between the two mentioned Hon Ministers was in the Soya Bean industry; the Soya Beans Millers Association may be in the position to confirm this because the President of the Association, one Mr Bello said that the Association were annoyed with Dr Akoto in 2019 or so, then the Minister of Agric when they were told that he just pleaded with the Trade Ministry to ensure the stoppage of the activities of foreign buyers especially Indians in the purchase and the export of Soya Bean and nothing was done for the interest of the local millers, thus caused a drop in the production of poultry feed, the reason for the winding up of some poultry farms .

Example Number 4
No sound thinking was done that led to the establishment of the Komenda Sugar Refinery at Komenda. Komenda is not a good place for Sugar Production Series in Ghana for import substitution. Ample narrations that Dr Nkrumah diverted equipment from the establishment of Tito (Volta Region) Sugar Factory and established the Komenda Sugar Factory (bought the area original owned by a Danish) for political reasons (support/change the attitude of Apkeptesi or local gin brewers/ to get the support of the Apkeptesi brewers) and not for an economic reason are available at the national archive. Also ample evidence of research by the Brazilian Government to establish 250 Million US Dollars Sugar Production Series near Salaga during the then President Kofour era in 2007 when a research found that the Condition around Salaga was the best place in Ghana for a Sugar Production due to the available massive arable land and has the same conditions for the growth of grass family C4 crop as in Sao Paulo in Brazil (You may Google for this) the area of sugar production that made Brazil to be the World’s leader producer of Sugar. This was shot down by the then Opposition Party.

Also in an attempt to revive the Komenda Sugar Factory in 2009, the late President Mills regime was advised by Cargill International against setting up of a Sugar Refinery at Komenda. You may Google for this or Contact any of the Offices of Cargill International in Ghana. I am sure this led to the visit of President Mahama to Omnicare Sugar Production Series, Algeria in 2014. This Company agreed to replicate same Company in Ghana with 250Million US Dollars in Salaga area based on research work.

Granted that Komenda was ok for Sugar Production the backward integration method applied by our leaders in the area of Komenda with limited spatial area was problematic and unsound in Economies. Which has the three sectors namely Primary Sector including the Agric Sector with availability of raw material or a potential for availability of raw material to drive Agro-Industries in the Secondary Sector of the economy or Industrial Sector for the Production of value addition good from the raw material .So, setting up of a factory herein both Sugar Mill and Sugar Refinery (two Standalones) in the secondary sector of the economy is contingent on availability of sugar plantation in the primary economy sector within 60 miles radius with the good yields and with the correct brit content and the sugarcane must be available to the Company at an agreed price may be by off taker agreements with the out growers must be secured to avoid sabotage, the reason for the collapsed of the Northern Star Tomato Factory etc should have been an eye opener, a financial loss to the State cannot be ruled out. So, the affected people must be made to be charged for causing financial loss to the State for failing to us their number 6 senses.

The factory should have been set in an area with free massive arable land with irrigation potential hence near a river and the area must have enough sunshine for grass family plants so that the Factory can establish her own plantation for adequate feed for the Factory or make land available under irrigation to promote out growers based on off taker agreements. More to this

Example Number 5
The sensible military regime of the late General Acheampong Regime invigorated or well established the Agric Mechanization Services by the State nationwide through the establishment of Farmers Service Company (FASCOM), as well as the Grains Development Board, the Cotton Development Board, numerous Irrigation Projects in the bid to ensure the transformation and modernization of the Agric Sector, So the, FASCOM acquired Agric Machineries including tractors, tillers, planters, combined harvester etc and provided mechanized services to farmers for fees. This laudable idea was continued in the third Republic by the then CCP regime of Dr Liman. The regime of ex-President Kofour bought this very good idea and embarked on what one may say One District One Agric Mechanization Center and established Centers in Ghana less six Districts and provided farm machineries to the Centers to be readily available and at affordable hiring prices within each district.

The regime of the late President Mills continued with this laudable policy. But some public officers in the regime of His Excellency Ex-President made him to sell the tractors etc to the farmers so that the farmers will own their own machineries and work with it. It is envisaged this was to create a lucrative chance for some of them to buy the tractors etc at reasonable prices. Otherwise, the failure or refusal of the affected persons to continue with the system put in place, implied that thy were unintelligent because the affected public officers despite their educational level failed or refused to do critical thinking on the matter because, a critical thinking on the matter would have made them to appreciate that the equipment may not be used profitably by the farmers who bought them due to our dependence on rain fed Agric system and they may be off the road or spoilt within a short time due to our national disease of the lack of maintenance culture.

They State officials should have informed the then Hon Minister for Agric to continue with the laudable Farmers Service Company or the Agric Mechanization Units in the system. This has made the very honest ex-President Mahama to make another confession or regret on a national matter, Google for President Mahama express regrets for selling tractors to farmers in case you need confirmation of his regrettable story.

Example 6- Thanks that my good friend and a former Boss, who occupied the highest office of CEO of the Minerals Commission as well as a former CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, also sees the Gold for Oil Policy as a good one if properly managed but like ex-President Mahama (the most seasoned Statesman) he also demanded for transparency in the Deal. But, it was very sad that somebody who has worked in the Mining Sector and occupied the very high office of the CEO of the Minerals Commission as well as a former CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines could not tell the very good procedure for accounting for gold by member companies of the Ghana Chamber of Mines. This happened when he appeared on Joy FM news platform on the Gold for Oil Deal and other topics. This demo that some of our leaders do not do due diligence of their work to cure any Risk.

Example number 7 –Ghana delayed to opt for IMF bailout at the right time must be attributed to the mismanagement of the economy and our current Minister lacked good analytical mind to determine the right option at right time to minimize hardship .

Example number 8. The current Auditor General Mr Johnson Akuamoah must be commended for being the first sensible person in Ghana to do risk assessment (audit) of the Small Scale Mining Sector which has been given as headache since 1999 (LI 1652). You would not believe it that both the EPA and the Minerals Commission had been lazy/negligence otherwise corrupt when they failed between 1999 and 2021 and may be now, to ensure the compliance of the Environmental assessment and permit law LI 1652 of 1999 by EPA, Minerals Commission and the Licensed Small Scale Miners for the posting of some money in US Dollars into an escrow Account as Reclamation Bond before the issuance of License/permits and the renewal of same for Small Scale Mining.

Example number 9 –You will not believe that the Chinese Small Scale Mining Queen by name Aisha Huang was initially charged with a repealed law under Section 99 of the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) which would have led to the Judge on the case with no option to give her a lesser punishment if found guilty of any mining offence and this may make the ignorant public to impugn an act of corruption to a good Judge) instead of charging her initially under Section 99 of (Act900) of 2015 as amended of the Minerals and Mining Act in 2015 for the inclusion of confiscation of assist and other stiffer punishment.

The above are attestation of my conclusion that we Ghanaians are lazy thinkers hence no due diligence, lazy, incompetent or dishonest. Please pardon me if the descriptions in my examples are offensive but patriotic or honest and bold persons must say it as it is, to get affected persons especially our leaders to sit up.

So in an attempt to help preserve, uphold, protect, and defend 1992 Constitution which has given us a stable and durable Constitutional system of government ever in the history of Ghana, I have volunteered to put my experience at your disposal this will be done with research to provide you with the facts on and merits of national issues. So this time, my submission is on the Constitutional intent for Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution and the alleged matters on ex-gratia

Defense of Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution and the alleged ex-gratia matters

Ex-gratia by legal definition is a voluntary payment like handshake, so it is neither part of wages nor part of compensation earned or entitled by an employee, but ex-gratia is a favour payment without recognizing any legal obligation. Hence, ex-gratia is alien to the 1992 Constitution. So cancellation of ex-gratia is not in the equation and we should not be fooled by any of our Compatriots, because there is nothing as a constitutional provision as ex-gratia that need to be cancelled because the public officers’ holders are paid their entitled payment of emoluments.

The 1992 Constitution mandated the payment of salaries which includes allowance, facilities, privileges, and retiring benefits or awards like gratuity/pension and not ex-gratia wrongly or illegally originated during the era of the late President Mills, you may read this in the Report of the Unconstitutional Constitutional Review Commission (CRC).

The payments to especially a Member of Parliament as sanctioned by the Constitution as it is at Article 71 and at Article 114 of the 1992 Constitution are emoluments and gratuity respectively. Emolument is, defined as compensation for the employment and responsibilities of an employee. It is normally practice per the Constitutions or conventions or legal requirements of some countries that the President, MPs etc must not receive pay adjustment whilst in Office; example is the Constitution of USA.

The Constitution of USA, the oldest Constitution in the World, categorically prohibits the adjustment of the emolument or salary of the President of USA during his tour of duty. This at Section 1 clause 7 of Article 2 of the Constitution of USA. Among other reasons, this is to prevent the Executive Arm of Government and Parliament from influencing the other party during the tenure in office as well as check avarice or greediness, corruptions and afford the possibility of recovering any sums or debt. So, the adjustment of the salary of the President of USA is done once every four years before handing over to the next Administration.

The 1992 Constitution is a hybrid of the Constitutions of USA and that of UK. So, the framers borrowed some of the good provisions of the Constitution of USA which permits the Presidential System of Government like our Presidential system of government and some provisions from the Constitution of UK. So the determination of the emolument of Article 71 Office Holders at the end of the four years in office is in order.

If there is a problem with the emolument, then it should be attributed to the recommendations of the Emolument Committee required to be set by the President and not the Constitution. Maybe we may have to look into the quantum. But it must be noted that the factors considered in the determination of the payments of the actual salary to MP which is determined at the end of his tour of duty that is after 48months are not the same as and very far away from the factors used in determining the emoluments for say a Professor or the VC of University incidentally which requires some very high qualification and relevant experiences obtained through donkey years.

Please note of an info that former CEOs of COCOBOD were paid more than GHC80,000 per month, that gives 3.84 Million Cedis in four years to one person less other benefits. His emolument is thrice that of his boss, the President of Ghana and no good work by COCOBOD, since COCOBOD, inception, aside the yearly ritual syndicated loans in the Cocoa sector. We want to see large plantations of Cocoa and COCOBOD, working hard to generate sufficient funds to buy cocoa and sell same and stop the borrowing.

Surprisingly, aside appointment into the Judiciary and the Executive Bodies, paper qualification and experiences are not Constitutional requirement for some of the posts like the President, VP, Hon MPs, these requirements are left with the voters to exercise their democratic right by deciding the best candidate for offices to be elected for and the elected President to decide the best personnel for appointment as Minister of State etc.

The Emolument as earlier on stated is to help entice very honest, diligent and high caliber persons so that they can forgo certain matters including renunciation of dual citizenship rights, freedom of movement, and for them to attain financial independence etc.

Also, the Constitutional intent at Article 71, is to assure the financial independence of the President and the affected pubic office holders, their dignity or stature so that they are not made to be impoverished and thus susceptible to corruption which might jeopardize the public interest. Furthermore, compensation or the Salary must be adequate to maintain qualified persons, to also allow those who are independently wealth to serve in these positions if so elected or appointed.

The resignation of Lawyer Josephine Nkrumah as the chairperson of the NCCE, under Article 71 (Public Office Holders) for a better job in Liberia should be seen as an embarrassment or blotch in our Political history. Hence the Constitutional Intent at Article 71 is to prevent a foreign Country or organization or a wealthy person to induce our President or any of the affected Public Office holders to compromise his or her position. The alleged payment of his children school fees abroad by the then Head of State of Ghana during the era of the PNDC, and the then allegation of receipt of the unaccountable US5Million Dollars from General Abacha of Nigeria etc may be other informed reasons that were factored in ensuring good emolument and retiring award for MPs to arrest such acts. That is to provide financial independence.

So, there is nothing wrong with the bulk sum payments at the end of 4 years of service because the greater amount of the total sum, is pay arrears as result of adjustment of cost of living allowances for the 48 months in Office or at the end of their duty tour. Please. Google for ‘We are not paid ex-gratia; we only receive back pays’, as explained by the Judiciary Service whose Justices of the Superior Court remained at Post until retirement but get only pay arrears when Article 71 Office Holders is adjusted at the end of the tour or every 4years of an Administration or Democratic Rule.

On the issue of gratuity, it is the politicians, like persons who have served as a Member of Parliament, for a period of not less than four years who shall be eligible on ceasing to be a Member of Parliament, as result of dissolution of Parliament or on his death for the payment of gratuity. So example a Member of Parliament is paid a back pay or pay arrears as result of an adjustment of cost of living allowance or his pay after 48 months as a Member of Parliament plus gratuity which in some countries maybe 20% of his total pay received for the 48months.

It is constitutional requirement that MPs are paid gratuity during the changeover every 4 years. It sad that the TUC is silence on this. Gratuity and pension are regarded as retiring awards. Check this in the constitution under the interpretation page of the Constitution especially the last but one paragraph at page 183 of the mini booklet of the Constitution.

Folks, Gratuity by the Constitution as well as in the Gratuity Act in labour laws, are a onetime lump sum payment to an employee at the end of a period of employment most often 20% of total payment received. Some may term it as severance award. Ex-gratia is not interchangeable with gratuity or pension. So the framers of the Constitution avoided the use of the word ex-gratia. Emoluments and gratuity are Constitutional requirements to be paid to an employee for his labour and not a gift or tips, Emoluments and gratuity are therefore enforceable at a court of competent jurisdiction and not ex-gratia or extra or voluntary payment, hence alien to the Constitution, which is unconstitutional therefore punishable including and not limited to recovery. Article 71 was made to be an entrenched clause for a very good reason to be explained later.

Please let me highlight that aside a very genuine case for payment of gratuity to Members of Parliament as at Article 114 of the 1992 Constitution, the framers of the 1992 Constitution did not mention Ex-gratia and nothing in the Constitution worth or define same, because it was not and will never be considered as a Constitutional requirement approved in a referendum by popular sovereignty by the people of Ghana.

So, any payment of ex-gratia in the name of the 1992 Constitution is unconstitutional, so if people were paid ex-gratia in the name of the Constitution, then we must demand for the recovery of the money because the Constitution authorized or spelt out Emoluments at Article 71 and Gratuity at Section 4 of Article 68, Article 114 and Section 5 of Article 127 of the 1992 Constitution So those who have been peddling liars that Article 71 Office Holders were paid or are to be paid ex-gratia sanctioned by the 1992 Constitution need to revise their notes and stop creating an elephant in the room so that they can run amok with it, for cheap political gains or populism or to satisfy their paymasters that they are fighting or will fight corruption so note than the emoluments of the affected Offices is Appropriate and Constitutional.

So ex-President Mahama and some executive bodies whose tenure of office is conterminous with that of the President were paid gratuity and their back pays’ or accumulated pay arrears being the sum of the yearly incremental adjustments of cost of living, covering four years or 48 months of their tour of duty. This because, it is not permissible to adjust the pay of a President during his tenure of office.

Members of the Judiciary Service of Ghana listed as part of Article 71 Office Holders, who understand legal and constitutional languages and clothed with power to interpretative same, made this very clear in simple English so, through the Association of Magistrate and Judges Ghana, have categorically stated that no Superior Court Judge has been or is to be paid ex-gratia every four years. Google for ‘We are not paid ex-gratia; we only receive back pays’,

So we should not be careless by interchanging constitutional requirements like back pays’ or outstanding payment or arrears or gratuity or pension with ex-gratia which has the tendency to stimulate public anger or emotion against the 1992 Constitution which must be upheld, protected, defended and preserved by all patriotic citizens without fear or favour, hence this submission. .

Hmm despite these good financial packages, some of our politicians, some of the MPs and State Officials, presidential staffers have exploited dubious to become very rich presumably, so the source of funds for their activities must be questioned by the citizen. One cannot think far concerning the allegation that expatriates were expected to pay not less than US$200,000 simply to get a sit close to the President of Ghana during an award function, you may Google for the story on cash for seat close to President Nana Addo of Ghana, this story was denied but when you read it, it may reveal something fishy, because there was the use of a letter head by the Organizers. We may need to institute as Constitutional provision or Statutory Act to arrest corruption in the system.

So, I perceived that like the Constitution of USA, our Constitution or laws should include Foreign and Domestic Emolument Clause, to prohibit Article 71 Office Holders from receiving or soliciting for any gift payment, or other thing of value from foreign State or its rulers, Officers or Representatives and to some extent from internal or domestic Institutions or persons etc. They should be made to get the approval of Parliament (Speaker) before doing so. The Kwaku Ananse, story by the celebrated economist by name Kwame Pianim that he was in the same room with the late President Mill when he refused to accept some bribe worth over million Cedis and other allegation by a Party Chairman that people were sending cash to the jubilee house instead of the Party HQ should speaks volume of lot corrupt acts in the Ghana.

Fellow Compatriots once again let say that we need to stop acts of populism/cheap popularity and buffoonery by some of our compatriots, and educate them that the risks factors considered in the determining the compensation for a teacher during negotiating is different for that for Member of Parliament who must prepare for the next election, take care of his driver and staff, visit his Constituency, attend social activities like funerals et pay his car loan because by virtue of his stature he needs a cross country vehicle, pay for the fuel and servicing of the vehicle.

The Teachers may be holding a dual citizenship which he is not required to renounce, but the MP has to renounce it. Some of the teachers maybe his electorates/his party delegates for his re-election or a member of his party or simply within his or her constituency, so he may pay some honorarium to them. It is true that some people entering public service for reasons other than financial compensation but with the believe in making difference in the improving of the lives of the citizens but that does not mean that they should be made not to gain or to be compensated adequately for their performances. Example, President George Washington of USA, when he was elected as the President of USA, he announced that he would forego his constitutional compensation but Congress of USA did not allow him to do so. So he was paid his salary and provided with his other entitlements and he was told that the State is required to pay him, that is a mandatory requirement but what he does with his pay should be his cup of tea. It is for this reason that ex-President Donald Trump was forced to receive his pay as the President of USA but handed over everything 100% to charity.

Reduction of the number of Article 71 Office Holders

No one can change or alter the architecture of the Public Policy Holders in Ghana or Article 71 Office Holders, the Constitutional prohibits altering the architecture so there shall be a Chief Justice, the Chairperson of EC and his two Deputies etc, no President can change this state of affairs

How to reduce the huge government expenditure

Reduce the number of Minister and Ambassadors A critical thinking or logical reasoning or risk assessment of the state of affairs, will simply revealed that we can reduce the number of some public policy office holders like the number of the Ministers to not more than 35 Ministers, considering the need for 16 Regional Ministers. The framers of the Constitution made it clear that there shall be not less than 10 and not more than 19 Ministers of State. Why we have more than 50 should tell the looting scheme to satisfy financiers, family and friends etc. Folks, the USA has only 15 Minsters of State designated as 15 Secretaries, So, we do not need any amendment to adhere to the maximum number of 19 Minsters of State granted by the Constitution. So we should be comfortable with 35 Minister of States including 16 Regional Ministers/Chairman of Regional Security Council/ Chairman of Regional Coordinator Council. We need to maintain the system of Regional Ministers to be akin as Governors in USA or Nigeria. Also, the number of Ambassadors can be reduced.

Number of MPs; - The number of MPs can be reduced drastically by re-engineering or redesigning of the Constituencies to get about 100 or 140 Members of Parliament. Thanks to God Article 47 is non-entrenched clause, so we can easily do something about.

Justices of Supreme Court-The framers of the 1992 Constitution provided for the Chief Justice, and not less than nine other Justices of the Supreme Court at Article 128 which they made as non-entrenched Clause. So we can reduce the national budget by acting appropriately with the number game for the appointment of the Justices A total 11 Justices including the CJ may be ok.

Presidential Staffers The most serious elephant in the room affecting our National Budget is the Presidential Office Act 1993 (Act463) which gives the President the unlimited power to appoint all categories of Presidential Staffers without recourse to the financial implication to the State. Despite this, Article 195 (1) of the Constitution gave room for appointment of persons as Public Officers contingent on the requirement stated in the Constitution. So we need to get Parliament to repeal/ nullify the Presidential Office Act 1993 (Act463) otherwise we should provide a ceiling and not a blank cheque for the appointment of Presidential staff.