Former President John Dramani Mahama who is desperate for power again appears to have stoked fire over the payment of the Ex-gratia to Article 71 officeholders.
The former president who is trying to rebrand as an old wine in a new bottle is touting to scrap ex grata even though a similar promise had been made before when he was a president.
Mahama had promised to scrap the retirement benefit given to top government officials under Article 71 officeholders, known as ex-gratia in the next NDC government when in an unlikely event Ghanaians vote for him.
According to the former president who is still enjoying the ex-gratia, his government will start the constitutional processes to scrap ex-gratia in the first year of his administration.
“The payment of ex-gratia to members of the executive under Article 71 will be scrapped. And the necessary constitutional steps to abolish that payment will start in earnest in 2025. We will also begin the process of persuading the other arms of government other than the executive to accept the removal of this ex-gratia payment,” he said at his campaign launch in Ho, the Volta Regional capital on Thursday.
Mr. Mahama enjoyed an ex-gratia when he became a Member of Parliament for Bole-Bamboi, Deputy Minister for Communications, substantive Minister, Vice President, Acting President, and then President to date.
Interestingly, former President Mahama who once said Ghanaians have short memory forgets where, last year he and his relative, Madam Adishetu Bawa (Joyce Bawa) were fighting about ex-gratia.
Even his wife Lordina refused to return her monthly salaries paid her as the current First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and Samira Bawumia did.
Mr. Mahama forgets that on January 10, 2010, the late President, J.EA. Mills, inaugurated the Constitution Review Commission, which had Prof. Raymond Atuguba, his executive secretary as a member.
The Commission presented its proposals/report to late President Mills on 20th December 2011 a key proposal from the Commission was on ex-gratia.
The Commission proposed that the current structure of ex-gratia be scrapped and an Independent Emoluments Commission (IEC) be created to determine and review all emoluments of all public officers in the context of the prevailing economic condition which the Mills/Mahama government accepted.
In October 2011, the late Prof. J.E.A. Mills set up the Professor Ewurama Addy Emoluments Committee for Article 71 office holders as expected.
During the inauguration of the Committee, the late Prof. Mills proposed to the committee to scrap the current arrangement which enjoins the state to build houses for Presidents of the country after they have served their tenure. And he said that should start after his tenure.
From 2011 to 2016, the proposals from the CRC were never implemented neither was the scrapping of ex gratia.
The IEC show up again in 2015 when Mr. John Mahama, then President asked for the support of Organized Labour to abolish ex-gratia to be replaced by the IEC.
As if that was not enough in January 2016, Mr. John Mahama, as required by the constitution formed another emoluments Committee headed by Professor Dora Francisca Edu- Buandoh, with Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, Dr. William Baah Boateng, Mrs. Norkor Duah and Mrs. Lydia Lariba Bawa (Who Mr. John Mahama had appointed as Commissioner of Insurance in 2013, a related sister to Joyce Bawa) as members.
Mr. John Mahama had forgotten about the scrapping of ex-gratia and his advocacy for IEC after he increased his salary in 2012 and 2016, even though he had said in 2015, May 10th to abolish it.
He also forgot how hard the economy was and rather the committee he formed proposed a 10% salary increment for him and others.
Currently, Mr. Mahama is enjoying the following benefits as his ex-gratia package such as a monthly salary of GHC 45,000, Full office space well furnished with Communication gadgets and 4 staff, two Security Personnel with cars, International Travel Fully funded 4, twice a year, two vehicles with a chauffeur and changed every 4 years, an amount of Ghc9,123 paid by the government for his accommodation monthly, free Medical Care and payment of his four staff every monthly.
-BY Daniel Bampoe