General News of Sunday, 28 August 2016
The Council of State has been described as the most useless institution in Ghana following their advice to President Mahama to grant pardon to the Montio trio.
According to a cross-section of Ghanaians, the Council of State by its advice has proven beyond reasonable doubt that, the institution is useless and are a partisan circle and so it should be scrapped off.
However a governance expert Dr. B.B.B Bingard speaking in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm thinks otherwise.
The Council of State from his point of view is relevant but it would be more relevant if they are elected and not appointed.
”The Council of State is very relevant but the extent it is relevant is that; you’ve got to ask yourself how its being constituted…To get the benefit of the Council of State, we have to elect them and not for them to be appointed by the president. After all what is the role of the Ministers to the President? They are supposed to be advising the president on policy issues.”
Dr. Bingard explained that because they are appointed by the president, they owe their allegiance to him, thereby making their work lack independence.
He said, if we want the Council of State to be more effective than what we see today, they need to have their independence and the only way that can happen is to review how they are constituted.
”Why can’t we elect two Council of State members from each region; why does the president needs to appoint them?”
In his view it makes no sense to appoint a former IGP onto the Council of State when the current IGP who is also a member of the National Security advises the president all the time on security matters.
”If we do not look at how they are appointed into the Council of State, it becomes difficult to determine how they work…About half of the members are appointed by the president, so to make them effective, lets elect them.”
He also took a swipe at the current parliament stressing that, it has become so divisive such that one hardly finds a majority member supporting a minority issue, vice versa. And so in view of that and within that context, we need to have a Council of State being a collection of individuals who are a little more experienced and would be very bold to call the president to order when he goes wrong.”
When asked if he supports those calling for the Council to be scrapped, he said, the current state under which we have the Council of State is unproductive and that he does not see the difference between their work and that of the Minsters.
”It will be very difficult for them to go contrary to what the president want them to do. Definitely if the president is going to appoint people, he will appoint people who would think the same way he does. So at the moment, if we need an effective and an independent Council of State, then i think we should look at the composition and come again. Otherwise, i think currently it is not serving a useful purpose. They may be serving a purpose but not useful as i would have expected it.”