A former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Ocquaye has described the appointment of Council of State members by a sitting President as a very wrong practice.
As per the country?s constitution as enshrined in Articles 89 to 92, the President is tied with the responsibility of appointing people to the Council of State, which is a small body of prominent citizens, similar to the Council of Elders in the traditional political system whose main duty is to play advisory roles to the President.
Its composition includes a former Chief Justice, a former Chief of the Defence Staff and a former Inspector General of Police as well as the President of the National House of Chiefs. Each region of the country also has an elected representative with members staying in office until the term of the president expires.
But Prof Ocquaye believes no President has any business selecting members to serve on the body that advises him on national issues.
Speaking at the second National Dialogue Series in Accra organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the former Minister of Communications said the Council of State concept is modelled on the traditional governance system of the country which is made up of independent-minded persons who are also heads of clans.
?We?ve made a big mistake. No president has any business choosing members of the council of state?Not even one should be appointed by a President. The example is not from Britain or America; it lies in the internal Ghanaian traditional system of governance,? the former Parliamentarian noted.
He however, called for an immediate halt to the current practice that allows the President to constitute the Council.
?It?s a pity we have forgotten some of these things and we should go and do a ?Sankofa? (go back) quickly before our things get spoilt. In Ghana there is no tribe or culture of which the chief chooses members of his council?In fact, they themselves are sub-chiefs or heads of lineages [who] come to the council with independent authority and for that matter they become a counter-veiling power.?
Prof. Mike Ocquaye also advocated for ?the owners of this country? who will be in office for a term, not more than six years to be given a fair representation to the Council.
?We can have a powerful institutional representation and those people will go there as of rights. No president appoints them. Before the president comes there, they are there over their six-year term. These are very, very important counter-veiling authority measures which I believe constitutionally, we have missed and we must, therefore, go back to them,? he underscored.
Ekow Annan/Live FM
[email protected]/twitter: ekowskare