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Report Bernard K DADZIE
The Communications Director of governing New Patriotic Party NPP, Mr. Richard Ahiagbah, has hinted that the conduct of former president John Dramani Mahama is a threat to Ghana’s democracy that need to be dealt with.
According to him, former President Mahama’s denial that he is actively accessing his emolument benefits is simply exploiting the sympathies of unsuspecting Ghanaians.
“There is no record anywhere that former President Mahama has been renounced or that the government has denied former President Mahama his emolument or entitlement. These bizarre and downright false claims by the former President speak to a grand electoral strategy driven by desperation and deception,” the NPP has stated.
Thus, to him, former President Mahama has brought his posturing to the Article 71 issues, creating the impression that given the political opportunity, he will amend it. However, this posturing on the repeal of Article 71 is inconsistent with the opportunities he had gotten to amend it when he had power as the Vice-President and President of this Republic effectively between 2009—2017.
He said former President Mahama is all talk and no action because he has had every opportunity to repeal Article 71 as President of this Republic, but he failed to do so.
Mr. Ahiagba added that the Constitution Review Commission set up by the Mills-Mahama administration submitted its report on 20th December 2011, and the government issued a White Paper accepting, among other things, the portion of the review relative to the provisions of Article 71.
Quoting from the White Paper an item captured under issue eight, he noted the determinization of the Conditions of Service of Some Public Officers by the President. “Government accepts the recommendation that an Independent Emoluments Commission should be established to determine the salaries, allowances and emoluments of all public officers, from the President to the lowest ranking public officer.”
He explained that Mr. Mahama became President in 2012, barely a year after the acceptance of the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission. All President Mahama needed to do was to present a draft bill to parliament, per Article 290 (2), to trigger the amendment process.
“But as the Talk Master General, former president Mahama did not act on the White Paper. Instead, he ignored the White Paper to create and benefited from emolument committees—two of them,” he stressed.
Mr. Richard Ahiagbah made this observation at a press conference organized by Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party NPP on September 14, 2022. It was held at party’s headquarters in Accra.
The press conference was to respond to former president John Dramani Mahama’s interview with Alfred Ocansey on TV3’s Ghana Tonight show, where he said that the government does not take care of his expenses as a former president and beneficiary of Article 71. He said he takes care of all his bills, including his rented office and staff salaries.
The NPP’s Director of Communications questioned whether the claims by the former President denying that his entitlements as provided for by law were not being paid, are true. He stressed that former president of the Republic of Ghana Mr. John Mahama was receiving all benefits he deserves.
“We have evidence of correspondence between former President Mahama’s office and the Chief of Staff contradicting his claims on the Ghana Tonight Show. We also have a letter from the former President’s office introducing his staff and who the State should pay. We have correspondences from the office of the Chief of Staff facilitating the payment of these salaries.”
According to NPP, there is something very cynical about the former President’s blatant falsehoods about his enjoyment of the privileges of Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution.
“We have assembled the relevant documentation that suggests former President Mahama is enjoying and has not been denied any of his article 71 guaranteed benefits,” the party claimed.
Mr. Richard Ahiagbah further disclosed that former President Mahama is the first living and serving President who added his spouse to the under-table payments, which used to be for widows of former Presidents only.
“How insincere and confused can a former President be if not for political mischief?” he wondered.
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