The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has congratulated the newly inaugurated Members of the Council of State and urged it to fulfill its mandate to the benefit of Ghanaians.
A statement issued by CDD-Ghana and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday said prior to the constitution of the current Council of State many well-meaning Ghanaians raised legitimate questions about the performance of past ones under the Fourth Republic with some canvassing for its scrapping all together.
“As the debate continues, the Council has to live up to its potential as a tool of horizontal accountability in Ghana’s democratic politics as prescribed by the 1992 Constitution,” the statement said.
The statement said moreover, as current estimates suggest, the state would spend at least GHC3.9 million on salaries per year, at the rate of GHC13,000 a month per council member in addition to other benefits including official vehicles, state security, and ex-gratia at the end of the four years as Article 71 Office Holders.
“It is, therefore, important that Ghanaians get some return on this investment,” it said.
The CDD-Ghana acknowledged the current constitutional arrangement limited the Council’s role to an advisory and consultative one and urged them to be guided by the experience and activities of previous councils.
“For example, the new Council of State should avoid the mistakes of the immediate past Council that was perceived to have tacitly endorsed egregious presidential decisions, like the pardon granted to the infamous “Montie three” or the public endorsement of presidential candidates in competitive elections by individual council members,” it said.
It said Article 91(3), for example, invites the Council on its own initiative to “consider and make recommendations on any matter being considered or dealt with by the President, a Minister of State, Parliament or any authority established by the Constitution.”
This provision envisages that the Council of State would serve as ‘the conscience of the nation’ and in that regard be proactive in the service of the nation rather than wait for a request from the President before it acts.
The Center, therefore, entreated the Council of State to institute periodic briefings to the public on its work and create platforms to engage the public on issues of national interest.
“CDD-Ghana believes that as public debates about the utility of the Council of State rages on, the newly sworn in members who have taken an oath to serve the nation will discharge their duty with honour and integrity so Ghanaians will be the beneficiaries during their tenure,” the statement said.
“Finally, CDD-Ghana will be watching closely how the new Council of State performs and will periodically draw their attention to omissions and deficits to aid them in the fulfillment of their mandate,” it said.