ACILA calls for constitutional amendment to limit ministerial appointments

Research and education think tank, Africa Center for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), is calling for a constitutional amendment to limit the number of ministerial appointments a president can make.

In a statement, ACILA said that even though the framers of the 1992 Constitution might have opted to give the president of Ghana flexibility by not limiting the number of ministers that a president could appoint in Article 78 (2), however, the wide disparity in appointments by previous and current administrations, along with the cost burden on the state require that the number of appointees should be limited to protect the public purse.

Article 78(2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides that “The President shall appoint such number of Ministers of State as may be necessary for the efficient running of the State.”

The statement follows the appointment of 110 ministers and deputies by President Akufo-Addo and public outcry about the exponential increase in the number of appointees and the cost burden on the state in salary and ex gratia payments.

The minority in Parliament has described the appointments as “elephant –sized appointments” and has called on the president to reduce the number of appointees. Some civil society organisations, including CDD-Ghana and IMANI, have also urged the president to cut down the size of the ministerial and deputy ministerial appointments.

But President Akufo-Addo has defended the appointments, saying that the challenges Ghana faces are unprecedented and require that the 110 ministerial appointments be made to address the challenges.

On what could be a reasonable number of ministerial appointments, ACILA said that guidance could be taken from Article 76(1) of the 1992 Constitution which caps the number of Cabinet ministers at 19, adding that increasing the number three-fold would put a cap on ministerial and deputy ministerial appointments at 57, or even round up the number to 60.    

It said that a constitutional amendment of Article 78(2) could read “The President shall appoint not less than ten and not more than 60 Ministers of State for the efficient running of the State.” 

ACILA is incorporated under US law as a 501(c) (3) research and education, non-partisan, and non-profit think tank and under Ghana law as a non-governmental organisation. ACILA’s focus areas are democratic governance, rule of law, international criminal justice, international human rights law, and monitoring African states’ compliance with regional and international instruments.