Mahama Mad Over Ex-Gratia Refund
Former President John Dramani Mahama
Former President John Dramani Mahama went acerbic on Saturday, launching scathing attacks on those who have questioned his promise to abolish ex-gratia for Article 71 officeholders if re-elected.
Some cast doubt on Mr. Mahama’s sincerity and commitment to cancel the ex-gratia payments, which he has received for the past 27 years as a four-term MP, Vice President, President, and ex-President under the constitution.
Martin Kpebu, a private legal practitioner, demanded that the former President refund all of his ex-gratia payments to the state in order for Ghanaians to take his latest promise seriously.
However, the ex-President, who became enraged by the criticism, responded by dismissing the lawyer’s request for a refund as “silly” while speaking to supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Volta Region at the weekend.
He explained, “I said categorically that when we [NDC] come into office we will cancel ex-gratia for the executives because the president is in charge of the executive, so he can cancel it for the executives.”
“But then you have to persuade the other arms of government to see that there is no fairness in continuing to pay ourselves ex-gratia when the ordinary worker does not receive it, because you are the leaders, you must show by example.
“If the economy is in crisis, why should we continue to take ex-gratia when the rest of the public and civil services don’t take it? So, I said categorically that we will cancel the ex-gratia.
“And then somebody who should know better, a lawyer, he said, then I should refund all the ex-gratia we took before to show Ghanaians that yes, we are serious about cancelling it.
“He does not even know the principle in our constitution that says that you can’t pass retroactive legislation. If you pass legislation today, it does not affect what happened in the past. What he says is a bit silly because it is like saying because we have introduced free SHS all of us should go and get a refund of our school fees that we paid in the past. That is how silly what he is saying is,” Mr. Mahama fired.
Baloney & Foolish
In 2010, Mr. Mahama joined the fray of public figures and politicians who force-feed the citizens with their lamentable litany of cheap insults and denigration, and abject diatribe, while he was Vice President, when he used words like “baloney” and “foolish” to describe moves by some opposition parliamentarians to prevent the amendment of the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill in Parliament.
Mr. Mahama asserted that it would be foolish not to amend the bill to permit the government to use petroleum resources as collateral for loans in light of the nation’s infrastructure challenges.
By Ernest Kofi Adu