Article 71 is an albatross around our neck; We’ll hold you to your words to review it – IEA’s Kwakye tells Mahama

John Mahama

The Director of Research at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Dr John Kwakye has sided with former President John Dramani Mahama on his promise to review Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution, a constitutional provision which has become a subject of controversy in the country.

Article 71 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution determines the salaries and allowances of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary paid from the Consolidated Fund would be determined by the President, on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by him and acting upon the advice of the Council of State.

Mr Mahama reignited debate on this Article after stating that the government has only paid him GH¢230,000 for salary arrears and denies receiving GH¢14 million as ex gratia.

He further promised to review this if the National Democratic Congress (NDC) comes to power.

Mr Mahama said “The only payment that was made to me by government, Accountant General, was my salary arrears of 230,000 cedis in 2013. I will show it [bank statement] to you first, and later if you want we can call a group of you journalists. Of course, I don’t want to publish my bank statement but I can put it before you and you can look through all the payments and see if there is a 14 million cedis payment. I didn’t receive any such payment.”

In a tweet responding to Mr Mahama, Dr John Kwakye who earlier called for an amendment of this Article said “Article 71 is a financial nuisance for the state. Why should First Ladies–present and retired–be paid salaries and other benefits?

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“Do we know that First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) is never paid a penny, simply because “she doesn’t hold an elective office?

“If former President Mahama says he would repeal Article 71 if he comes to power, we should support him and hold him to his word.

“Article 71 is an albatross around the country’s neck. It is a financial killer for the country. Why should former First Ladies be paid salaries and other benefits?”

Tamale North Member of Parliament, Alhassan Suhuyini has also said that a lot of people make the mistake to associate Article 71 office holders to only lawmakers in Ghana.

He says it is not not.

It goes beyond Members of Parliament, he said.

He further suggested that the constitution should be amended to ensure that the President sets up a committee to determine the emoluments of Lawmakers right at the beginning of the tenure, not at the end.

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This is his view with deal with the confusion surrounding the emoluments.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana