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General News of Thursday, 19 January 2017

Source: Ghonetv.com

Council of State can dismiss ‘superfluous’ tag through reforms - Lawyers

Dr. Kwesi Jonah, Senior Research fellow at IDEG and Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo, former Attorney General have called for the Council of State to be reformed as the current advisory council is not nonpartisan, impartial and nationalistic in character.

Discussing the relevance of the Council of State with Nana Aba Anamoah on GHOne TV’s current affairs program ‘State of Affairs’, the two panelists agreed that the Council of State shouldn’t be scraped off as the intention that underpins its establishment were good except for the few infractions that has characterized the activities of the advisory council.

Both panelists expressed hope that a relook at the constitution with respect to the appointment of the 25-member advisory council and the powers as by law reposed in the president to have the discretion to choose whether or not to heed the advice of the Council of State will limit the partisan politics and partiality currently on display by the council.

They cited the release of the ‘Montie Three’ following the advice of the Council of state as a slap in the face of the Supreme Court and completely misguided.

In the current dispensation, constitutionally, it is the president who appoints majority of the members of the advisory council except the president of the National House of Chiefs and the regional reps.

This, according to Dr. Kwesi Jonah, does not promote transparency as the president is more likely to appoint members who will always do his bidding. He suggested that the composition of the council of state should include political party heads, heads of institutions with a paucity of the members, at most 11 made to be appointed by the presidency. This he believes will make council of state more relevant.

Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo disagreed with calls by the public to maintain the advisory body for subsequent use by other presidents and described it as unconstitutional. He further explained that so long as the power to appoint COS members rest with the president, the council will always be recomposed anytime, there is a change in government.

They suggested that government should appoint people who have rich experience in different sectors of the country for good advice on policies and legislations.

Dr. Jonah, on his part want the council of state to be releasing periodic reports on their work to enable the public to be attuned to its work so as to appreciate it relevance in the governance of Ghana.

Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo added that the operations of the council of state should not be shrouded in secrecy instead it should be detailed out to cap the public debate on the relevance of the advisory body.