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Importance of Article 71 of the Constitution for Good Governance, abuses and remedies 

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Constitution

Democracy according to President Abraham Lincoln is government of the people by the people for the people. For Democracy to survive in a Country, there is the need to ensure free and fair elections for the Political careers of Members of Parliament and the President, Prime Minister or Vice President etc. 

 

Political careers and the elections for the political careers must be such that all citizens with sound mind and of the minimum age threshold can participate. The Country also needs to put in place measures to ensure that Public Policy Making Offices in the Executive Arm of Government, the Constituent Representation and legislation (decision) making office of members of Parliament and Office of Justices of the Superior Court can entice committed skilled people from diverse walks of life. Lastly, the Country must ensure that the election of persons opting for political careers should be left to the people to study the various candidates (either as Independent or on the ticket of a political party) with the associated manifestos to decide who should be their Constitutional (political) Leaders through a free and fair elections.

 

So, a democratic practicing Country, like Ghana needs to ensure that there is no unnecessary barrier to political careers especially for Public Policy Making/Implementation and enforcement Office of the President, that of the Office of Vice President or Prime Minister if adopted and lastly the Constituent Representation and legislation making Office of Hon MPs etc.

 

Hence, there should be no discriminatory issues of Gender, Wealth status, paper or educational Qualification or retirement age for the Office of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister if adopted and Members of Parliament. This is the reason why in Ghana’s Constitution it is permissible for Hon Ms Akua Donkor regardless of her educational background and if her age is above 65 years  is constitutionally qualified to compete in a free and fair election with the Vice Chancellor of a University or a Professor/Teacher or a tycoon  or mogul like Mr Kwame Despite or Dr Dan Mckorley or astute politicians or statesmen like his excellency former President Mahama or his excellency VP Dr Bawumia or Hon Alan Kyerematen to be elected as the President of Ghana otherwise if she so wishes to be elected as Hon MP.   

 

To become Hon MP on the ticket of a Political Party especially the NPP and NDC, one has to register with the Party by payment of huge registration fee, compete in a costly party primaries, and if nominated as the Party’s Parliamentary Candidate, he or she has to cough huge sums of money for his or her campaign efforts. 

 

Report have it that not less than 60,000.00 Dollars may be needed for the total electoral (election) process for those who win to become MP and not less than 200,000.00 US Dollars if one is serious to be elected as President. When elected he or she bears very heavy encumbrances (financially, socially, politically, psychologically) for both Parliamentary duties and Constituency work. So, MPs are required to keep two offices and residences, one each at area of Parliament and at area of the Constituency.  Hence, logic or common sense will tell that since the State does not provide funds to the Candidates in other to prevent some persons to see political career election as an enterprise.

 

For the above reasons, the State must pay adequate compensation in terms of salaries, allowances and other related privileges at the expense of other job holders for them to lawfully recoup part of their investments in their attempt to contribute to good democratic governance of the Country for the public good.  Hence the reason for Article 71 of the Constitution and the reason it is an entrenched constitutional provision to arrest populism or to demand critical reasoning when it becomes a matter of public interest.    

 

The position of the Member of Parliament or the President of Ghana carries heavy responsibilities and for good governance, the State must make it possible to entice well-educated persons with excellent working experiences internally or outside (with International Bodies, International Corporate Institutions and in Advanced Countries) to opt for services to their Country by participating in the election to the political career of their choices. Hence the need for MPs or politicians to be given adequate compensation in terms of salaries, allowances and other related privileges at the expense of other job holders in the larger public services, 3 times multiplier effect recommended. 

 

Let me reiterate that as the price for good governance, Hon MPs or politicians must  be given adequate compensation in terms of salaries, allowances and other related privileges at the expense of other job holders in the larger public services  in order to entice high caliber and honest selfless citizens of Ghana globally with no dual citizens burden or those with dual citizenship burden to renounce it and also resign from their current official appointments especially from the academia like how the late Professor Mills did to compete with others in a free and fair elections regardless of the educational background of the other participants (illiterate or literate) to serve their Nation.

 

 Pay and responsibilities goes together, hence Logic or common sense demands that the State (the framers of any national Constitution) must put in place very good terms of condition of services in terms of salaries, allowances and other related privileges as a measure to motivate high caliber  citizens of sound mind and within the age requirement to opt to serve their Nation by vying to occupy Public Policy Making Offices of the President or Offices of legislation making/Constituents Representation as MP. 

 

  The need for the State to put up measures to ensure full time commitments of Hon MPs etc requires the payment of, adequate compensation against the associated risks (economic, political, social and psychological)  for the attainment through election process to  the affected Offices of Public Policy Makers as in the Executive Arm of Government or Office of the Constituent Representation/ legislation making of the Hon MP and against the risks during his or her tenure of Office and after leaving office in order to ensure the security of the dignity of the individual who opts to serve his or her nation as a Public Policy Office holder or Hon MP cannot be over emphasized.  Hence Hon MP unlike other employees of the State must be given adequate compensation at least 3 times multiplier recommended   

 

Based on the Political History of Ghana and some Countries, the framers of a Constitution must provide good compensation to ensure no Head of State and to some extent a Member of Parliament will wish to stay longer in Office thus deprive good governance.  Hence, as stated good compensation or emoluments must be an entrenched constitutional provision as stipulated in Ghana’s Constitution so as to motivate a President to leave office after four years or compete in a further free and fair election for a final (second) tenure of office if he or she so desires without manipulating or rigging an election or tampering with the Constitution in order to stay longer than permissible by the Constitution.

 

Critical thinking on the matter will tell that the Hon MP is an employee of the voters nationwide including the other job holders say a teacher, so in order to ensure good governance for Public good, that is for the whole of the nation, the MP who has to go through process which entails huge financial, political, social and physiological burdens to become a MP and maintain the dignity of the MP. Hence, the State has or the electorates have the responsibility to ensure adequate pay in order to maintain the dignity of a MP, as the price for good governance for the State.  Above all, nothing prevents the other job holders say a teacher to also compete with others like how Teacher Hawa Komson metamorphosed from the teaching career to that of the costly Constituent Representation and law making career of the Hon MP. 

 A Member of Parliament unlike a teacher has to keep two residences and two Offices, one each at the location of Parliament and at the location of his or her Constituency. These two offices must have adequate staff to support him or her in his Parliamentary and Constituency duties respectfully. Hence, he or she suffers the burden of a high cost to keep dignified residences and Offices near Parliament and at the Constituency. So the State must pay adequate compensation. Hence Article 71 meant to fulfil this.

Hon MPs have to travel between the location of Parliament and location of the Constituency hence they are burden with the cost of the vehicle which is procured through a loan from a Bank which must be recovered from the monthly pay, then cost of fueling, servicing/maintaining it. He has to meet the wages for the driver and the office staff. So the emoluments payable to the Hon MP must factor these matters. Hence, the constitutional provision of Emolument Committee to be set up by the President for the determination of the emoluments of Office Holders as in Article 71 is the best arrangement since the cost on the committee may be negligible as against the recommendation of the Independent Emolument Commission as made Professor Raymond Atuguba and others. 

Professor Atuguba and others recommended Independent Emolument Commission like the Office of the Special Prosecutor is going to be our usual brand of adding cost to cost. This is going to be so because unlike the Emolument Committee as in the Constitution which may do its work within maximum of one month hence a temporary character thus it entails very low cost in terms of provision of facilities and sitting allowances as against the Independent Emolument Commission which like the Office of the Special Prosecutor will require the provision of mighty offices with elevators, air conditioners, provision of very expensive vehicles and other assets in addition to huge monthly wages of the staff. It is high time, we do proper appreciation or risk assessment of issues for us to stop adding cost to cost with superfluous permanent institutions.

 The ugly noises that the teacher or other job holders and the Hon MP should receive the same emolument must be halted with a sound response that unlike the Teacher, the MP is required to do a lot of travels to attend meetings at Parliament, District Assembly, the Disaster Committee when necessary and meetings with the Constituents as well. So, he has to have a good car, driver etc at his cost as well as  research resources hence staff at his or her cost to support him or her. 

The MP has to attend social functions including, Religious functions and visit to emergencies (flooding, fire or accidents) in his or her Constituency or functions of his or her electorates at distant areas in the Country. So beside the lot of travels, the MP is required to make reasonable donations at weddings, naming ceremonies and funerals of his or her electorates which may include functions of the teacher who is one of his or her electorates, at wherever the function will take place in Ghana in order to keep in touch with his or her people. This will be so, if he or she really wants to be regarded as caring MP and or wants the electorates to renew his or her tenure of office in the next election. So, the framers of the Constitution did a very good job for the Country with the provision of Article 71.

The MP may be required to make cash donation to or support people (may include the poor teacher) lining up at the gate of the residence of the MP and this stressful period may be the time  the teacher may be relaxing with the spouse or watching TV. Hence MPs put their lives on hold for public office.  So as the price for public good or good governance, the State is required to provide a reasonable compensation to meet the cost of being MP and as well as compensation to make it possible for the MPs to resettle almost close to their previous positions if not possible to maintain the current form.

Research on how former MPs transit to life after politics was conducted in 2022 by Mathew Clarks, then the ProVice Chancellor of Researcher Development of Deakin University in Australian. He did so with Amy Nethery (a Senior Lecturer in Politics and Political study) and two others as commissioned by Victorian State Parliament on what happens when MPs lose their seats. 

This Research was regarded as the most extensive study throughout the world. So based on the sad findings of the situations of some MPs, the Researchers came out with the title of their Report as ‘Everything has gone’. Thus spoke of the miserable situation of persons who served their nation as legislation makers and their Constituents as their Representatives in Parliament as in their Hon MPs for   executing Parliamentary duties especially deliberating and enactment of laws and oversight responsibilities over both the Executive Arm of Government and Judiciary through the doctrine of separation of powers among other functions.  

 The research covered 33 Parliaments around the World and the interviews with psychologists concluded  that MPs who leave office unexpectedly may experience devastating emotional, psychological and financial challenges, because no one thinks he can lose an election/reelection  bid, hence losing the seat becomes  (a). Big shocks, (b). Psychological distress (experiences of mental illness or depression) following departure from Parliament especially the first two years. The research revealed that some former MPs reported of depression with some former MPs reported that adjustment took up to six years. Lastly (c) Some reported of the difficulty to get jobs due to employers or firms etc in an avoidance of any perception of political biases.  

We all saw the very miserable state of former President Liman before he died, he was depending on the wages of his loyal wife. Reportedly pushing his Peugeot car more than once on different days which suggested that he could not replace the battery of the car.

 Never again, should the State treat a former Head of State like that. This might have informed the framers of the Constitution to come out with Article 71.  Thus the compensation or the Salary etc must be adequate to maintain qualified persons during their tenure of office and after office. The resignation of Ms Josephine Nkrumah as Chairperson of the NCCE for a job elsewhere should be a lesson to tell us of the need to further improve on the emoluments of Article 71 Office Holders, if we want to attract and retain experts to ensure good governance. 

So, we should applaud the framers of the Constitution for an entrenched Constitutional provision which   provides an assurance of financial independence awareness status to the President, Hon MPs and the affected pubic office holders, thus affording the assurance of their dignity or stature both in public and private. Thus the  State must ensure  an affected candidate in an attempt to serve his or her  Nation, he or she is not made to be impoverished and thus susceptible to acts of corruption and other vices which might jeopardize the public interest and National image. 

The compensation for Public Policy Office Holders must be very dignified so as to entice those who are independently wealthy and are proficient to opt to serve in the affected positions if so elected or appointed to serve their nation. Hence, the huge emoluments for the Article 71 Office Holders with MPs entitled to gratuity after four years as stated at Article are the price for good governance. 

So, the Constitutional intention of Article 71 on a special arrangements on the emoluments of Public Policy Office in Parliament (for the Speaker, Deputy Speakers and Hon MPs), the Executive Arm of Government including the Independent Executive Constitutional Bodies and the Chief Justice and the Justices of Superior Courts  is to attract and retain candidates with the skills, knowledge and experiences needed to sustain and improve the Democracy in Ghana by ensuring the efficient and effective application of the doctrine of separation of Powers.

 

The political policies of the Executive Arm of Government and the deliberations with final decisions (legislations) by MPs have serious repercussions on future generations as well, so among others, the need for the State to offer competitive compensation as essential means to entice high caliber and honest selfless citizens of Ghana with committed (loyal) skill from diverse walks of life cannot be over emphasized. Hence one of the relevance of Article 71.

 

From the above, it should be very clear that responsibilities of MP with the associated risks and the need to ensure good governance requires special emoluments for MPs. This will help to entice high caliber and honest persons thus requirement to entice certain qualities play a greater part in the determination of the compensation for Hon MPs and Public Policy Makers etc. So, those with the ugly noises on the vast differences between emoluments of Article 71 Office Holders and that of a teacher or a Professor need to revise their notes. Since one of the aim is to entice the teacher or the Vice Chancellor of a University to resign to compete to be elected as President or Hon MP or nominated as Vice President and not the President or the VP or Hon MP to resign to compete to be appointed as the Vice Chancellor of a University or Secretary General of the TUC that is if with the required criteria.

 

The framers of the Constitution must be applauded with their very strong reasons for the provision of Article 71 of the Constitution of Ghana and for ensuring that it is an entrenched clause to prevent populists or people without critical mindset to amend it easily.

 

 The problem with Article 71 may be due to the failure of the Parliament of Ghana to come out with appropriate legislation in line with the provision in order to streamline it to prevent it abuses without a sign of amendment of the Clause. It is envisaged this failure has caused the abuses of this provision by some of the Regimes of the Fourth Republic.

 

The abuse of the Article 71 of the constitution started under the regime of President Rawlings with the passage of the law, the Presidential Office Act 1993 Act 463, Legal Service Act and gave the President a lucrative avenue to employ unlimited number of persons and gave room for nepotism etc. It also balloons the national debt or budget with the introduction of parallel civil and public services (institutions) with huge numbers of appointees as Presidential Staffers, some with questionable qualifications. This resulted in a further abuse of it by subsequent regimes with the ballooning of the number of Presidential Staffers due to mistrust of the personnel in the existing civil and public service institutions and a way of cooking jobs for the boys and girls of the political party of the Regime. 

 

The Presidential Staffers and others fall under Article 71 Office Holders and as such had to be paid huge salaries and pension gratuity or end of service benefit or disengagement allowances and with some of them enjoy the benefits of allocation of movable assets especially vehicles at the end of session of Parliament/Tenure of Office of a Regime or a President. This madness in Ghana’s Political history of creating parallel Institutions by various Regimes has resulted in a very huge burden on the Consolidated Fund. Hence, Parliament must either repeal this very dangerous law or fine tune it for acceptable number of Presidential Staffers etc and delineate their benefits. 

 

So, due to the abuse of this Constitutional provision on the emoluments of Hon MPs and Public Policy Holders and others, the issue of the emoluments paid to the Hon MPs and Public Policy makers (Office Holders) especially Hon Members of Parliament and others as under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution came to the limelight in 2009 due to the then alleged outrageous emoluments planned to be paid to the Article 71 Office Holders who served in the last leg of the regime of President Kofour. 

 

The abuse of the Constitutional provision on the compensations for Article 71 Office Holders with a planned outrageous payments was detected in 2009 by the Regime of President Mills.  The NPP regime of President Kofour also abused it with the initiation of the seemingly illegal payments of allowances to the First and Second Ladies (past and present) based on the recommendations of Chinery-Hesse Committee which were approved by the regime of President Kofour.  

 

Folks the contentious situation of the alleged planned compensation to be effected to the Article 71 Office Holders in 2009 led to the regime of President Mills to set up in 2009, the Ismael Yamson Committee to review and it duly reviewed the emoluments as recommended by Chinery-Hesse Committee. If this was/is true then the greediness of the regime of President Kofour and not the framers of the constitution should be blamed for the state of affairs that nearly led to the outrageous compensation as recommended by the Chinery-Hesse Committee as alleged.   

 

 So, based on the report of the Yamson’s Committee, the State paid 20 percent less than what was recommended in the Chinery-Hesse Report. It was therefore based on this background that the regime of President Mills was motivated in June 2010 to commission a five-member Emolument Committee chaired by Professor Marian Ewurama Addy to come out with recommendations on the Emoluments of Article 71 Office Holders that could withstand scrutiny. 

 

The Professor Marian Ewurama Addy’s committee did a good job with a point award system for the payment of the emoluments.  The President was used as reference point or the principal anchor and so the committee came out with points for the Vice President, Speaker, the Chief Justice and these three officers were used as anchor for the three branches of government, namely the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, thus the Committee awarded points to be used in the determination of the salaries and gratuities for all the Article 71 Office Holders. 

 

Furthermore, President Mills in 2010 set up a Constitutional Review Commission to consult the citizens of Ghana on the operation of the 1992 Constitution and come out with recommendations for the amendments of any of the provisions of the 1992 Constitution. Thus including the emoluments of Article 71 which should also reflect international best practices and ability to pay.

 

It is heartwarming that Emoluments Committees set up in the Fourth Republic and the Constitutional Review Commission set by President Mills in 2010 all did not see anything wrong with the special constitutional arrangement on payment of emoluments, so the strongly recommended the retention of the emoluments paid to the Hon MPs and affected Public Policy Office Holders. 

 

The only differences were that the members of the CRC due to their Ghanaian DNA or trademark recommended for the usual adding cost to cost, when they recommended the setting up of very costly  Independent Emoluments Commission which will thus necessitates the provision of very costly offices and residential accommodations with so many air conditioners and may be elevators, cars, huge wages and allowances of the Chairpersons, Members and wages of staff and domestic attendants, as against the brilliant idea in the Constitution of a temporary Committee thus limiting the Committee to sitting allowances and the usage  of temporary Offices.   

 

It is interesting to note the report of the CRC, indicated that then sitting members of the Independent Constitutional Bodies (NCCE, CHRAJ, EC etc) claimed that they were not fairly treated with the Constitutional payments and wanted a better system as against what was/is provided by the constitution. They were of the view that it was not adequate, so it was not strange that Mrs. Josephine Nkrumah, a Chairperson of the NCCE had to resign for a better paid job elsewhere.

 

This resignation of Lawyer Mrs Nkrumah as Chairperson of the NCCE for a job with ECOWAS speaks volume that the package of emoluments by the framers of the 1992 Constitution may not be enough to attract and retain talented or skilled or professional persons say, a seasoned lawyer,  the Vice Chancellor of a University or the President of UTAG  or the Secretary General of the TUC  or a Medical Doctor or Senior Officer in the Military  or COP of Ghana Police  to resign to compete for or willing to be nominated to occupy  as Public Policy Office Holders. Hence, it may also not arrest the idea of Public Office Holders resigning to take job elsewhere. 

 

So, as stated since, 2009 the emoluments paid to Article 71 Office Holders has been on the front burner and has recently motivated two Presidential Candidates for the upcoming election to have a mistaken belief that it must be cancelled and they have made a promise to do so if elected. 

 

This is very unfortunate for such astute Statesmen who should know better that pay and responsibilities go together and the need to entice high caliber persons like the Vice Chancellor of University to compete to be elected as MP or be prepared to be nominated as Public Policy Makers with the associated encumbrances or risks are also some of the factors that made the framers of the Constitution to come out with the brilliant provision as Articles 70 and 71 of the 1992 Constitution.

 

 A thorough appreciation of the situation, would inform one that the intention of the framers of the Constitution has been abused by various regimes in the Fourth Republic particularly the following regimes (a). Regime of President Rawlings for the addition of Presidential Staffers and other associates as stated. (b). That of President Kofour for an attempt to make an outrageous payment to the President etc as well as the seemingly illegal introduction of the payment of allowances to the first and second ladies by his regime and lastly (c). The attempt by the regime of President Nana Addo to upgrade the seemingly illegal allowances payable to first and second ladies (past and present) to the salaries of a Cabinet Minister. It need to be noted that the sitting First Lady and sitting Second Lady returned the payment when they were induced by public sentiments. 

 

Thanks to the framers of the 1992 for making this provision an entrenched one that will elicit a national debate to be followed with laborious processes for the amendment of Article 71  of the Constitution, which will culminate in the final organization of a very costly Referendum throughout Ghana on the bill for the amendment, which requires a threshold of at least forty percent of the persons entitled to vote, voted and at least seventy-five percent voted in favour of the passing of the bill.  

 

Globally, the terms and condition of service of a teacher or medical Doctor or a Vice Chancellor or Secretary General of the TUC cannot be the same for one occupying a high office of President or MP or other Public Office created by the Constitution for good governance. The President and MPs represent the image and integrity of the country globally and therefore regarded as first among equal citizens like the Vice Chancellor of a Varsity or the Secretary General of the TUC. 

 

So, there is a demand for critical, sound and intelligent reasoning or thinking on the issue(s) of the emoluments before taking action on the amendment process to appreciate why the framers made Article 71 as one of the entrenched clauses, so as to make the entrenched provisions difficult to amend. 

This is further fortified by  the framers of the 1992 Constitution, 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 in yes in favour of the passing the Bill for the amendment of the provisions. A further security measure, the framers of the 1992 Constitution made this difficult when they made the Amendment of the Constitution chapter 25 etc as entrenched provision as at (r) of Article 290(1)

Our Constitutions or national laws do not allow financing of political parties or Presidential or Parliamentary Candidates for the obvious reason of not allowing people to see the affected elections as an enterprise to make money from the State. So the framers want political parties or Candidates to finance their campaign or political (electoral) effort and rewarded when elected.  So, one may use his or her lifetime savings, sell a property or take a loan to do so. So it should be appreciated the reason why the State should provide good emoluments to Hon MPs as provided by the Constitution and this should be secured by entrenched clause.

 It must be noted that the Constitutional provision does not talk of ex-gratia it rather talked of only emoluments and gratuity for a very good reason.

 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. Thus nothing as ex-gratia in the equation to be cancelled as alleged by the Presidential hopefuls, because the public policy office holders are paid their entitled emoluments. 

 

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. Newly elected MPs of a new session of Parliament in Ghana take the pay of the previous MPs of the last session of Parliament and get adjustment of their pay hence accumulated back pay or pay arrears at about the end of tour of a Regime or after almost the end of a full session of a Parliament.

 It is a normal 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 may be in order to arrest the possibility inflating their pay or do not get adjustment if the economy is not properly managed by them. 

I think this practice must be maintained to ensure the President and MPs etc work hard to improve the economy including cost saving measures and recovery of irregularities in the Auditor General Report which are detected as thievery or looting schemes so that they could be rewarded for good work with adjustment of their pay, so they get in addition to lawful gratuity pay arrears as savings that may help in their future undertakings. 

 Short of fear of inflation, there is nothing wrong with the bulk sum payments at the end of 4 years of service because  part of the bulk amount is pay arrears as result of adjustment of cost of living allowances for the 48 months in Office  or up to the end of the duty tours of affected persons.  

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 the pay of Article 71 Office Holders is adjusted at the end of the tour of a regime or full session of Parliament or every 4years of an Administration. It’s a labour Policy that severance award is payable when ones employment comes to end or is severed or terminated. 

So the issue of the severance award or gratuity as provided at section 4 of Article 68 and Article 114 of the Constitution is payable to the President and Hon MPs respectively on leaving Office.  Gratuity  is payable to MPs who have served as Members 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. Thus a Member of Parliament is paid a back pay or pay arrears as result of an adjustment of cost of living allowance that is pay variances between the old and new pay for the 48 months as a Member of Parliament plus the payment of gratuity which in some countries maybe 20% of his total pay received for the 48months. 

 

In Ghana, according to the June 2020 Professor NtiamoahBaidu Committee, ordinary MPs are paid a monthly salary of GHC28, 000.00 translated to 2,333.33 US Dollars per month if the rate is GHC12.00  to 1US Dollar. This tell that our MPs are poorly paid. 

Out this amount that he or she is to pay for the vehicle loan and meet incidental expenses on some of the constituents, who may demand assistances in times of sickness, school fees, funerals, rents, etc this thus take a lion share of the MPs pay package. 

 

The payment made to MPs in Ghana who incidentally have huge burdens as stated above more than their Counterparts in other Countries including Nigeria.  Since, among others MPs in some countries, are paid end of session gratuity, if one  happens to lose his or her seats is paid loss of office payment as well as Financial support through both Winding-up budget and Winding up fund to wind up their activities including closing of office and payments to their disengagement staff. 

In Nigeria,  MPs are paid not less than 100,000.00 Dollars per month and some reports speak of a total of  1.5 Million Dollars per year, this include what Ghanaians may termed as outrageous allowances.  In Nigeria under the Remuneration Packages for Political, Judicial and Constitutional Bodies, a Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission is established to  deal with the remuneration packages for political, and Judicial Office Holders, the Chairpersons and Members of Constitutional Bodies,  pays severance gratuity after completion of tenure.

The Fiscal Commission Act of  Nigeria,  under regular allowances,  payments to MPs include of entertainment allowance ,allowance for accommodation and domestic staff, security allowance, newspaper and periodicals  allowance,  leave allowance, Utility allowance, constituency allowance, security, house maintenance allowances,  allowance for special assistances, legislative aids allowance,   recess allowance.  You may wish to authenticate this assertion, so Google for an article by Patrick Dele on Pay of National Assembly September in 2020 as published in the Nigeria Vanguard news.

 In Kenya by Parliament Pension Amendment Act 2019, former MPs are paid pension or gratuity of a sum equal to 31 percent of basic pay for the served session. In Seychelles, the National Assembly Emoluments Act 4 of 1993 which was revised in 2014 speaks of fifty percent of the total salary to be paid for the session the member served.

In UK, the basic pay of MP as at April 2023, was 86,584 British pounds, they also received cost of running an office, employing staff, allowance for moving between Parliament and Constituency etc this was enacted by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority of UK. Google for payment to Annette Milton former MP for Guilford in UK.

Australian MPs received 217,000 Dollars in July 2022 with a pension scheme termed as Parliamentary superannuation or retirement or departure benefits for former MPs, Office Holders and Ministers under Superannuation Act.

In New Zealand, the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 indicated that in addition to wages paid to MPs, the Speaker, Leaders of the Opposition, the Prime Minister, Minsters, Chairs of Committees and certain other roles, the Authority provided/provides for constituent allowances, entertainment of visitors,  Secretarial Assistance with staff and secretarial assistance for the discharge their duties. According to the Authority, the allowance was/is to cater for the cost that falls on MPs because of their representative role. It even include Travel allowance for their families. 

Section 74 (4) of  1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone which constituted a  Finance and Development Committee which determines salaries and other terms of conditions of the Speaker, two Deputies Speakers, Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Whips, MPs. By this section 74 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, MPs were paid Office allowances to establish office at the Constituency to handle issues at the constituency level and for an Office close to Parliament.  

MPs in Sierra Leone reportedly received Vehicle loans of the equivalent 15,000 dollars at the beginning of every new Parliament to be paid within the life of that Parliament, then mileage allowance of Le2,000.00 per mile  to and from Parliament and  to the HQ of each constituency once a month when Parliament  or oversight committee are in session.  Also an entitlement of allowances against the burden of maintaining two homes (Constituency and location of Parliament).  

In some Countries like Nigeria, MPs take a monthly pay of not less than 70,000.00 US Dollars equivalent in Naira, they are paid regular allowances which include Constituency Allowance, Office Expenses, Residential Allowance, Office Staff Allowance so it was alleged that a MP got not less than 1.5 Million Dollars in a year. You may Google and read this at   … 

  So, the Constitutional requirement that MPs should be paid gratuity during the changeover every 4 years is a very good arrangement and  be supported by all who pray for good governance.  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 yellow 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 % to 30% of total payment received in the tenure of office. 

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.

Reduction burden of high cost to the State  

No more than 60 Ministers;   It is strange when you hear of amendment of the Constitution when the real problem is Parliament not living up to expectation by supporting Constitutional provisions with legislations. So Parliament should rise to the occasion by coming out with a law for not more than 60 Ministers and not more than 16 Regions in Ghana effective 07 January 2025. 

 

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 of the public policy makers office holders like the number of the Ministers to not more than 60 Ministers including the 16 Regional Ministers. We need to maintain the system of Regional Ministers to be akin as Governors as in USA or Nigeria, so we need 16 Regional Ministers to be Chairperson or head of Regional Security Councils and the Regional Coordinating Councils, Chairperson for Regional Disaster Committees  etc. 

 

Not more than 140 MPs: We may also see to the reduction of the number of Hon MPs by realignment of the Constituencies to say 140 Constituencies as was the state of affairs or number of seats before it was increased to the current 275 Hon MPs. So reengineering of the number of Constituencies is recommended. Thanks to God, Article 47 which is on creation of Constituencies is non entrenched Clause and it only give guidelines on Constituencies and did not specified the number of Constituencies, so let us see to the reduction of Constituencies.  

 

Abolish seemingly superfluous Office of Vice President

The Constitution of Ghana speaks of three Constitutional Advisory panels the Council of State, National Security Council and the National Development Planning Commission. The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) used to be the Ministry of Economy Planning for the formulation of economy plans and policies for national economy development hence thus to support the President in the managing of the economy through advisory role. 

 

The NDPC is therefore the constitutionally mandated Economy Management Team to advise the President on economy Policies of Ghana. Unlike the 1979 Constitution the 1992 Constitution alienated the Vice President to be the Chairman or Member of the NDPC for the very good reason that an illiterate is eligible to compete to be elected as President or Vice President. 

 

Dr Bawumia is 100 percent correct that the VP is a driver mate or he should have said the VP Post was/is like a Spare tire as in USA political jargon, because according to America Politics the Vice President is like a spare tire only useful when the President is not there just like spare tire becomes useful when a tire is not available for usage.  

 

The story of a Vice President as a spare tire first happened in USA’s Politics when Vice President Franklin Roosevelt of USA suddenly became President of USA, when President William McKinley of USA was assassinated, so Vice President Roosevelt took over as President and he also appointed the then Speaker of Congress namely John Nance Garner as the Vice President of USA. Vice President John Nance Garner saw that the Constitution made him to be sidelined and described his position as a spare tire when he regretted for leaving his original post of the Speaker of the Congress to become the Vice President of USA with Roosevelt as President.

 

A study of the Constitution of Ghana as amended in 1996 among others to reduce the status of the Vice President of Ghana, then Vice President Ackah to the driver mate or passenger status, when the Parliament of Ghana in 1996 under the NDC Regime of President Rawlings removed or denied him the Vice President from chairing the Defence Council, the Police Council and Prison Council as recommended by the Framers of the Constitution and as approved in a Referendum in 1992.  

 

The Political History of the Fourth Republic of Ghana speaks volume of the status of the VP as simply as a driver mate because per the Constitution, which situation was worsened with the 1996 Amendment disrobed or undressed the then Vice President naked and made him a driver made to the vehicle called Ghana. That is only to be given assignments at the pleasure of the President

 

It must be noted that per the 1996 Amendment of the Constitutional, it is unconstitutional  for the Vice President to chair the Defence Council, Police Council etc without an appointment letter from the President, who by the amendment in 1996  is at liberty to appoint anyone  to do so, that is at his pleasure. 

 

So, Ghana’s  Vice President cannot be a co-driver or a Spare driver as proclaimed by ignorant persons because the constitutional intention for the VP is for the VP to accord pleasant or 100 percent loyalty to the President since the buck stops with the President as the only one person as the driver of Ghana.  The amendment in 1996 buttressed the position.

 

So per the Constitution of Ghana with the amendment of 1996, the VP without a minute of hesitation must be a Yes Sir Master no problem at all times subordinate or appointee to the President.  This is even a simple logic or common sense in Politics since the President and VP do not get the same emoluments and the Constitution does not grant gratuity and other perks to the Vice President on retirement as stipulated under Article 68. Note Security Guards on Standby and guards on duty or the two drivers in STC Bus that is the outgoing drivers and the spare drivers as the return trip driver in the buses of STC take the same pay but the driver mates or the bus Conductors gets less pay or allowance. 

 

So, the Constitutional intention for the combination of a President and a Vice President by the framers is to give the VP zero executive powers and give the President, full executive powers (Civil wing Authority of the Country) and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (the Military wing Authority covering all armed elements of the State including the Police since they are armed).   This thus create a sense of a driver mate and a Driver to cultivate 100 percent loyalty or Yes Master no problem from the VP. People should not confuse this political or constitutional arrangement with the sharing of executive powers as in the combination of a Prime Minister and President sharing executive sovereign powers hence codrivers for the vehicle (a Country).

 

It is politically and constitutionally wrong to term the Vice President as a spare driver or codriver, the VP is rather a spare tire in the democratic governance system or the Executive Presidential System as measure to ensure total loyalty to the President as the one with National Executive Authority and the only one who delegates sovereign executive authorities to subordinates excluding the Vice President who is simply a Spare tire or Driver mate as proclaimed by his Excellency VP Dr Bawumia.

 

The VP when the President is away or the Speaker of Parliament when both the President and VP are out of the Country  takes over as President is applicable, only act as a titular President (zero or no teeth to bite) hence he  cannot make any executive changes or appointments unless authorized by the substantive President. 

 

People must  reason why the framers of the Constitution made it permissible for the Speaker of Parliament who may come from the Opposition Party or the Chief Justice to act as President when the situation opens up as in the Constitution. This is so because the affected appointee be he or she as the Vice President, the Speaker or the Chief Justice only plays acting role whilst the President is outside so the affected acting President is with no tooth to bite, hence driver mate or spare tire.

 

 The VP when he takes over as acting President can only make executive changes appointments if and only if an emergency situation exist and the President is out of contact or and when the VP assumes as substantive President on the death, removal or resignation of the President and after swearing in with an Oath of the Office of the President by the Chief Justice to complete the unexpired period of his boss or as stipulated in the Constitution. 

 

People should understand why ‘driver mate’ JDM as Vice President Mahama on the death of President Mills had to take the Oath for the Office of President on 24 July 2012 before Parliament which was administered by the Chief Justice to take over the Office of the Executive President at the Castle.

 

Co-driver does not need to be sworn or issue with a Presidential license by both Parliament and the CJ again.  ‘Driver mate’ JDM was therefore issued with a license to complete the tour of Driver Mills (since he was Mills driver mate), and not as his (Mills) Spare Driver or Co-Driver. 

 

  Let me reduce stress with a joke that JDM is disqualified to bid for the Office of President, because he is an ex-President twice and the Constitution abhors third term ex-President, thrice President that is thrice payment of gratuity hence a looming constitutional crisis. So let us accept Prophet Timothy Bawumia’s analogy in order to resolve the crisis.   

 

The political history of the fourth Republic has revealed toothless VPs or sidelined VPs this is supported by abundant documentary evidences of the wives of two ‘driver mates’ of Ghana or Vice Presidents of Ghana who went  down on their knees and persuaded  their husbands not to resign by pushing them to soldier. Documentary evidence by Joy news and TV3 showed the wife of a driver mate and the husband roaming on the street of London with the wife by his side motivating him to cool down. 

 

Folks the three sidelined VPs of Ghana as stated above did not demo as Spare drivers or co-drivers to the Driver, because a co-driver  who would have put up a challenge to a fellow driver by resistent. Hence VPs in the Fourth Republic exhibited the features of a driver mate.    

 

This tells that we should grow with critical mindset and do away with the Office of the Vice President and like the Constitution of South Africa, the President should nominate a cabinet Minister otherwise members of the Cabinet should nominate one of them to act as President as and when necessary.  

 

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, so a total 11 Justices including the CJ may be ok.

 

Presidential Staffers Article 195 (1) of the Constitution gave room for appointment of persons as Public Officers contingent on the requirement as stated in the Constitution hence the source of parallel institutions to both the Civil and public services. As a result, 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. 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.

Fellow Compatriots, let me conclude by saying once again that we need to stop acts of populism/cheap popularity 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 a Member of Parliament who must take care of his driver and staff, have an office at his Constituency, visit his Constituency, attend social activities like funerals et pay his for a good car loan because by virtue of his stature he needs a cross country vehicle, pay for the fuel and servicing of the vehicle. 

The MP is prevented to be a dual citizens, forced to conduct a seemingly restrict life etc, conduct research etc. He needs to build a war chest of funds to prepare for the next election or start a difficult new life associated with possible depression.   

On the other hand other job holders like, 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 the MPs 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. 

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