Majority Leader in Parliament, on Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu
The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has stated the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer for the 2020 elections John Dramani Mahama’s promise to review some provisions of Article 71 in the 1992 constitution is just a political promise.
He stated that based on the above, former President Mahama had every opportunity to repeal Article 71 as President, but he failed to do so, hence his posturing to the Article 71 issues that when given the political opportunity he would amend it was all political gimmicks to hoodwink the electorate to vote for him.
“I’m surprised to hear from no other person than someone who has once been a President going for a referendum only on Art.71 emoluments knowing very well it’s impossible”, he said.
Speaking on Kumasi-based radio OTEC FM’s morning program hosted by Captain Koda on Monday, September 9, 2022, the Majority Leader who doubles as the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs questioned why Mr. Mahama did not review the law during his tenure as President, accusing him of failing to implement the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission in 2012.
According to Hon Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu who is also MP for Suame, regarding the issues raised by former President Mahama on Article 71, Mr. Ahiagbah said Mr. Mahama’s position on the repeal of Article 71 was inconsistent with the opportunities he had to amend it when he was the Vice-President and President between 2009 and 2017.
“What former President Mahama is saying today cannot be taken seriously because he has already failed Ghanaians on this matter,” he said.
Mr. Mahama reignited the 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 the 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.”
But Hon Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu insisted that former President John Mahama cannot easily review emoluments for political office holders under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution.
He said although the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) can propose the amendments of it, Parliament could take about six months to deliberate on it before forwarding it to Ghanaians for a referendum.
The MP emphasized that it is not an easy thing to amend that part of the Constitution. He however said, the MPs would even be happy to be placed under the single pay structure, and their salaries will appreciate.
He disclosed the Parliamentary Affairs Committee had started a debate on it in 2019 and a team had been established for consultations to move the agenda forward for its total amendment.