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Opinions of Thursday, 24 December 2009

Columnist: Alliance For Accountable Governance (AFAG)

Ex-Gratia Discrimination; Potentially Polarizing

A nation that fails to honour her heroes is not worth dying for. But why must anyone die for a nation that will fail in the end to recognise the role and deeds of persons who risk their lives, image and reputation of their families in the service of their nation? Indeed he or she who suffers in the name of the nation must be given their due to encourage all and sundry to follow suit.

The framers of the 1992 republican constitution in recognition of the above position saw it wise to recommend emoluments and a retirement package for some public officers after they have left office. This list include senior public servant who may never have done politics nor held political office.

Any student of Ghana’s political History could recount the unfair treatment meted out to President Limann, the manner in which President Rawlings awarded himself state facilities before leaving office and the wrenching pain with which we have retired President Kuffuor.

Of what good is it to extend courtesies to some leaders while denying other?

1. Is it the case that the MPs who have received their ex-gratia for service within the same regime as President Kuffuor got theirs for agreeing to pass a budget of hardship just a few days back?

2. is it the case that we find the former President undeserving of his due which we have and continue to accord Mr Rawlings?

3. Does President Mills expect to be accorded any rights and courtesies upon leaving office?

4. Does anyone think that by such hostilities we can attain a truly reconciled nation as we all crave for and of which President Mills professes to be father?

5. Are we setting any good example for the youth?

6. If we feel uncomfortable about anything in our constitution must we not courageously expunge it instead of going on treadmills’ regarding the execution of constitutional obligations?

AFAG has not been involved in the debate on the ex-gratia as we have agreed to disagree on content of both the Green street and Chenry Hesse committee reports.

However, recent developments are not fair.ie, paying ex-gratia to MPs and provision of office facility to the 2nd lady without honouring the end service package which is constitutionally due the former President.

We bemoan this situation,deems it unfortunate as It is unpleasant,potentially tension generating and can further deepen the already fractured society.

We are therefore urging President J.E.A Mills to use this occasion of the birth of Christ to take a bold step towards reconciliation, love themselves as their neighbours, forgive if there were any ill treatment meted out to him by the previous regime and let’s see a greater collaboration between the President and former Presidents in the coming year.

Indeed,we must uphold the principles of equity,equality and fairness at all times.

Thanks and God bless us all.

*James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr*

*Leading Member*

*024 453 5472*