On President Mahama’s pledge to abrogate ex-gratia, I have this to say:
1. It is only a fool who doesn’t change his mind. The idea of ex-gratia paid every four years is nauseating. It is that very greedy milking arrangement that allow some politicians and appointees to always cheat all other public servants, which has attracted severe criticisms from very well-meaning Ghanaians.
2. After enjoying it in the past, I am sure President Mahama has heard the criticisms that have been leveled against recipients and he is now vowing to discontinue such an arrangement. I am of the view that we should rather be applauding such a bold resolve whose implementation would require serious constitutional hurdles to be scaled over.
3. Unfortunately it appears the discourse on this is being led or shaped by a few greedy politicians who want to keep enjoying the dissipation of our meager resources on the unwarranted payment of pension to themselves every four years. Their argument in calling on President Mahama to refund his already used ex-gratia, to my mind, is quite cheap and disingenuous.
4. Legislations and policies do not take retrospective effect and this is a basic or elementary A.V. Dicey principle on rule of law. I do not honestly understand why in this country, we tend to allow a few not too smart people to lead very important debates with the support of the media. This hasn’t helped our democratic maturity and it is certainly a serious affront to our quest to extricate ourselves from the quagmires of poverty and under-development.
5. Why did we not ask for those who were murdered under the regime of Rawlings’ PNDC jurisdiction to be resurrected by Rawlings after Ghana’s Truth and Reconciliation Process? In Britain and other countries, there were laws that supported hanging and death penalties. When these laws were abrogated, why didn’t people ask for the resurrection of those who had been killed? When the current regime reversed the ECG-PDS deal, the revenues accrued under PDS were not refunded even when they legitimately have to refund those monies.
6. I support every move to ensure that we do not pay pensions to appointees and some public office holders every four years. As a teacher, I am entitled to pension only after I retire at age 60. Anyone who insists to be paid ex- gratia every four years, which is a form of pension, at this time when we have allowed our resources to be plundered, must not have a place in public service. I think John Mahama should rather be commended for resurrecting this thorny issue of national rape of the public purse by some politicians. He should be commended again for pledging to halt this greedy practice.
7. Those asking that he refunds what he’s already taken and consumed must lift the bar of their reasoning on this all important matter of national interest. If a witch repents and boldly confesses never to go back to his or her old ways, you don’t go demanding that he resurrect the human beings he’s already killed. Else we may be telling the person we are not interested in genuine repentance and change of mind from a negative practice. It takes a bold person to concede what he’s done as wrong and to promise amends. When this is done, we applaud the person rather than asking him or her to go back to re-right or repay what has already been destroyed or consumed.
8. Enough of important national discourse being shaped by greedy propagandists who always wants a certain bad status-quo to remain immutable because of the parochial personal benefits they stand to gain to the neglect of what is in the interest of the nation. Scrapping the payment of ex-gratia, it is to be admitted, would require quite some laborious efforts at amending a provision of the constitution. But this certainly should not be difficult for a person whose regime supervised the review of the entire 1992 Constitution. For where there is a will, there is a way.
PAV Ansah Street
Suro Nipa House
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