General News of Monday, 8 April 2013
Dr. Clement Apaak has described as “populist” comments by IMANI vice president Kofi Bentil, on that “the political class of Ghana loots the coffers of the country every four years, all in the name of ex-gratia”.
Kofi Bentil in an interview on the payment of ex-gratia to Members of the 5th Parliament of the Fourth Republic said the beneficiaries of these monies pretend to accept the ex-gratia only because it was recommended by a commission that is mandated by the constitution.
“They always hide behind something or somebody as if to say they really don’t like it but it is somebody that is imposing it on them,” he said.
Mr. Bentil, who discounted the claim that democracy is expensive, also added the current predicament that the country finds itself in is “a situation imposed by a leadership that is insensitive to its environment”.
However, Dr. Clement Apaak, the Convenor of the Forum for Governance and Justice believes MPs are unnecessarily being criticized.
“It looks as though the MPs are being singled out and the suggestion is being made that perhaps, they are getting something that they don’t deserve….when you look at the list of Article 71 office holders, it is a very long list and therefore if we are going to complain about the way we reward them, then perhaps we should be looking at the very law that create that very category that allows us to set up committees and institutions to determine what their ex-gratia and other benefits should be. And I think that is a much more practical and pragmatic approach than the populist way of trying to suggest that, perhaps, we have leaders who are not sensitive to the plight of the people,” he said.
Dr. Apaak, who was speaking on ‘PM Express’ on Joy TV, expressed “reasonable worry” over such posturing saying if it continues in that regard without putting things into proper perspective, it tends to suggest that whatever the MPs have been given is not deserved or they are not entitled to it.
“They are not just doing it because they don’t care about us or they feel superior to us. We have designated them, we have given them those positions and any of us can be part of Article 71….we seem so eager to complain and when we have the opportunity to correct the very same reasons that give us cause to complain, we don’t take advantage of that,” he lamented.
He advised that “rather than complaining, we should put forward credible alternatives and stop the attempt to demonize state institutions”.