Professor Mike Ocquaye
The Second Deputy Speaker, Hon. Mike Oquaye, has described the dismissal of Government Statistician Grace Bediako as not only unusual but a directive likely to raise suspicion about the intention behind it.
Prof Mike Oquaye, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for the Dome/Kwabenya constituency, in a reaction to the order on the Government Statistician and her deputy to proceed on leave, said the action could be construed as an attempt by government to manipulate population figures.
To support his stance on the issue, he explained that in order to strengthen state institutions there should be no arbitrariness in dealing with such bodies.
He pointed out that ordering heads of such institutions and their deputies to proceed on leave as in the case of the Statistical Service is to “seriously tamper with such institutions.”
Such a decision, he explained, could only be resorted to under grave circumstances and even then he added “government should let us know.”
In the absence of the foregone, he pointed out the action could be perceived as part of a process for manipulation to favour the government.
Prof. Oquaye added that this flouted all tenets of good governance, constitution and democracy. He wondered if Madam Bediako was asked to proceed on leave so that the figures of the population census, which was recently held, could be manipulated to achieve electoral advantage since the results were yet to be released.
The action, he said, was particularly a serious one in an election year because the creation of constituencies had a bearing on population, adding that government could be in the process of creating districts with a view to creating constituencies out of them for electoral advantage.
“In Ghana, the order to proceed on leave we know is tantamount to dismissal. It should be viewed seriously by people of goodwill,” he said.
The MP also shared some thoughts on the president’s assignment for the Economic And Organised Crime Office (EOCO), regarding the Woyome debacle.
According to him, under a written constitution, when a specific function is given to particular authority to perform and as he put it “while that authority of the institution is seized of that matter, no other person or authority can be established by the executive to perform that same function which has been prescribed for that particular authority.”
He also noted that if this was not done, this constitutional provision could be usurped at the caprices of the executive, undermining the doctrine of separation of powers.
Prof Oquaye stated that the anomaly could also give room for abuse by the executive, explaining that only Parliament, under the circumstances, should perform this task of probing the issue at stake.
By A.R. Gomda