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Opinions of Thursday, 5 January 2017

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

It is not merely a question of common sense

President John Mahama President John Mahama

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

If there is, indeed, a Presidential Transition Act 845 on the governance books, as Prof. Ransford Gyampo is claiming, then there is absolutely no need for the latter’s fellow political scientist, Dr. Richard Amoako-Baah, to be invoking the faculties of common sense and morality as guidelines for the conduct of the members of the outgoing Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – (See “Apply Laws with Common Sense and Morality – Dr. Baah to Gov’t” 12/24/16).

What we, pundits, need to be doing right now is to be revisiting the Presidential Transition Act 845 and making the relevant suggestions and recommendations for the Mahama cabinet appointees, including our lame-duck president himself.

And where necessary, we need to be advising the incoming Akufo-Addo Administration on some of the measures it could take to hold the reckless cabinet appointees of the Mahama government, including the recently evicted Chief Resident of the Flagstaff House, to account shortly after the New Patriotic Party (NPP) assumes the democratic reins of governance on January 7, 2017. Merely appealing to the “conscience and common sense” of the Mahama appointees would not amount to the clichéd hill of beans.

For over the last 8 years, if the Mills-Mahama and, subsequently, the Mahama/Amissah-Arthur gangs showed an abject dearth of any highly prized leadership qualities and skills, it was definitely conscience and common sense. And the overwhelming majority of the Ghanaian citizens who voted to boot the National Democratic Congress out of the Flagstaff House, and for the most part our august House of Parliament, have good reason to heartily pat themselves on their backs and jubilate without any reservations or inhibitions whatsoever.

Indeed, the reckless administrative conduct of the key operatives of the Mahama government makes more than tenable the position of aggrieved voters and critics who firmly believe that the Mahama regime had not actually won the 2012 general election, especially the presidential election, and that the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel that adjudicated the case had callously and cynically played fast-and-loose with the sacred laws of the land.

That the Wood Supreme Court has a lot of work to do in order to regain a remarkable modicum of its lost credibility can hardly be gainsaid. But, of course, this grim aspect of our collective national narrative deserves another column of its in the offing.

If as Dr. Gyampo claims, there exists a Presidential Transition Act or Act 845 governing the conduct of the outgoing Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress, then, of course, it is incumbent on all justice-loving Ghanaians to apply the tenets of the Presidential Transition Act to determine whether President Mahama’s rush to the naming of substantive appointees for cardinal civic institutions like the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) are appropriate, in view of the fact that the man awarding these appointments will be shortly exiting the scene and will thus not have the chance to work with the newly appointed heads of these major institutions.

What also makes these appointments reek of bad faith and punitive for the incoming Akufo-Addo government, is the fact that these positions had been vacant for quite some time now. Which, in effect, implies that President Mahama had not deemed them to be priority areas requiring prompt attention. And so why rush to name substantive heads for CHRAJ and the NCCE, if Mr. Mahama felt comfortable enough to work for more than twelve months without substantive replacement appointees for these institutions?

Or is it merely because having been convincingly defeated at the polls “The Builsa Way,” President Mahama sees these patently nose-thumbing eleventh-hour appointments as his most vindictive parting shots?

Justifying these appointments on the cynically “equalizing” fact of the J. A. Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party government’s having done the same on his watch, reeks of nothing short of the inexcusably infantile, criminally absurd and the absolutely unacceptable.

One hopes that the incoming NPP-dominated Parliament would move with deliberate speed to revoke any civil and public-service appointments deemed to be primarily politically motivated. And then the House may need to revisit the detailed contents of the Presidential Transition Act 845, to ensure that no leader or senior member of the executive branch of government plays reckless with this otherwise administratively salutary law in the foreseeable future.

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