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General News of Saturday, 11 November 2017


Two Ghanaian Professors scold MPs over 'discriminatory' Major Mahama Bill

Two Ghanaian professors based in the USA and Canada, S. Kwaku Asare and Edward Akuffo, respectfully have lashed out at Parliament for passing a 'problematic' Major Mahama Bill that discriminates against other service personnel who suffer the same fate.

According to them, “rule of law requires that laws are made pursuant to the generality principle, which provides that when laws are made they must apply to broad categories of people and must not single out individuals or groups for special treatment.”

Professors S. Kwaku Asare and Edward Akuffo who registered their protest in a statement sent to the media believe "Parliament erred in passing a bill that singles out Major Mahama’s family for settlement. Respectfully, we are therefore calling on the President not to give assent to the Major Mahama Trust Fund Bill. Rather, we urge Parliament to replace the Major Mahama Trust Fund Bill with a Security Personnel Survivors’ Benefits Bill that provides predictable, timely and easy to access benefits to the families of security personnel who die in the line of duty."

Parliament last Thursday passed the Major Mahama Bill, November 8, 2017, into an Act, giving effect to the President’s pledge to establish a memorial trust fund with a GHC500,000 seed money in honour of the deceased officer.

Trustees of the fund would also be expected to source for money into the fund.

A memorandum that accompanied the bill states “it has become necessary to draft this bill considering the circumstances under which the officer died while on a national duty”.

It explained the fund would cater adequately for the widow, Barbara Mahama until she remarries and also cater adequately for the children.

Per the memorandum, all money intended for the welfare and upkeep generally, and particularly the education of the children were properly administered by a Board of Trustees who had a fiduciary relationship with the beneficiaries of the fund and the country.

While the decision was highly welcomed in June this year, some people have begun criticising the government for such a fund on grounds of unfairness to families of other security personnel who died tragically in the line of duty.

Debating the bill before its passage, some members of parliament pushed for the bill to be broadened to cater for the families of all security officers who have perished while serving their country but that was rejected.