The owner and 2016 presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has every right to advise President-Elect Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on some of the necessary changes that need to be legally effected in order to make the country a more progressive and economically efficient democracy. But Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom has absolutely no right, whatsoever, to presume to cavalierly dictate policy ultimatums, or deadlines, to the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – (See “President, Vice-President Must Pay Taxes – Nduom Demands” 3News.com / Ghanaweb.com 12/30/16).
In principle, Dr. Nduom is quite right to observe that the President of Ghana, whoever that personality may be, and his/her deputy, may have unquestionable moral authority to enforce the tax laws of the country, if they were themselves obligated by law to pay taxes on their salaries and other executive perks. Presently, the 1992 Constitution that ushered Ghana into its Fourth Republican democratic dispensation exempts both the President and the Vice-President of our Republic from the payment of income tax. Such exemption is contained in Article 68 (5) of the most authoritative legal instrument of the land.
Dr. Nduom’s proposal is not in any way original, for it was part of the recommendations proposed by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) which was inaugurated by then-President John Evans Atta-Mills, late, in 2010. That was six long years ago. During the four years that President Mills’ former arch-lieutenant and immediate successor, President John Dramani Mahama occupied the Flagstaff House, absolutely no remarkable attempt was made to implement any of the major recommendations submitted by the CRC. And all this while, not much appears in the public record books indicating that Dr. Nduom had put up any serious legislative or political activist fight to get any of these admittedly progressive policy recommendations implemented.
Now, all of a sudden, in the wake of Nana Akufo-Addo’s 2016 landslide election victory, Dr. Nduom, who barely garnered 1-percent of the valid presidential-election votes, reincarnates himself as a radical social reformer. This is a man who spent at least 12 years in Ghana’s parliament. What I am clearly suggesting here is that if Dr. Nduom thinks that he can harass or pressure the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia Administration into doing his bidding or marching to his drum-beat, then the man who strategically and deviously sat “neutral” during the 2008 presidential-election runoff is grossly mistaken.
It is quite certain that a highly principled President-Elect Akufo-Addo, at some point during his first term in office, would initiate a policy move aimed at scrapping the constitutional article exempting both the President and Vice-President of Ghana from the payment of income tax. But such policy initiative will not be scheduled according to the time-table of Dr. Nduom and his minions and hangers-on of the so-called Progressive People’s Party.
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