Prof. Oquaye unhappy with council of state arrangement


Former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Aaron Oquaye says it is mistaken for the president to be tied up with the responsibility of appointing people to the Council of State.

wpid-Mike-Oquaye.jpgAccording to him, no president has any business in selecting members to serve on the body that advises the president on national issues.

Speaking Tuesday October 21, 2014 at the second National Dialogue Series in Accra by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the former parliamentarian said the concept of the Council of State is modelled on the Ghanaian traditional system of governance which is composed 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 Communications Minister noted.

He, therefore?recommended an immediate turn-around to the original concept and a stop to the current practice that allows the president to constitute the Council as enshrined established by Articles 89 to 92 of the 1992 Constitution.

?It?s a pity we have forgotten some of these things and we should go and do a ?Sankofa? (to reach 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.?

The Council of State in Ghana is a small body of prominent citizens, analogous to the Council of Elders in the traditional political system. It includes a former Chief Justice of Ghana, a former Chief of the Defence Staff and a former Inspector General of Police and the President of the National House of Chiefs. Each region of Ghana also has an elected representative.

The President of Ghana also elects eleven members. Members stay in office until the term of office of the president ends.
But Prof. Oquaye suggests a fairer representation to the Council which should include ?the owners of this country? who will be in office for a term, not more than six years.

?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.


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