One does not have to be a bar-certified attorney or a political scientist to be able to accurately interpret Articles 89-92 of Ghana’s 1992 Republican Constitution. These articles, as many of our readers may already be familiar with, deal with the establishment and composition of the membership of the Council-of-State, a primarily advisory body of some of the best and brightest Ghanaian citizens that advises the President of Ghana on political appointments and other matters verging on the governance of the country.
Writing about this subject has become necessary in view of the largely gratuitous controversy that has swirled around the designated cabinet and other highly placed appointees that President-Elect Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has publicly announced his intention to working with in his incoming government that takes over from the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on January 7.
The latest legal expert to join the fray is Mr. Sampson Lardy Anyenini, who also doubles as a program host on the Accra-based Joy-Fm’s multimedia network (See “Akufo-Addo’s Appointments Improperly Made – Anyenini” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/6/17). Mr. Anyenini clearly appears to be inordinately addicted to the bureaucratic snarl that a purely theoretical and literal interpretation of the country’s 1992 Constitution appears to impose on President-Elect Akufo-Addo. We must also promptly underscore the fact that the alleged impropriety, or breach, for which President-Elect Akufo-Addo is being vehemently carpeted by the likes of Mr. Anyenini never emerged under the National Democratic Congress’ tenures of Messrs. John Evans Atta-Mills and John Dramani Mahama, respectively.
But what is even more significant to highlight here is the fact that per the mandate of the country’s Fourth-Republican Constitution, the tenure of the present membership of the Council-of-State effectively ended with the December 7, 2016 landslide election of Nana Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), respectively, as President-Elect of the Democratic Republic of Ghana and the ruling party of the country. We also need to bear in mind the fact that of the 25, or so, members that make up the Council-of-State, 11 are directly selected by the sitting President of the day. The 14, or so, remaining members are either ex-officio members or members seconded from each of the 10 regional houses of chiefs, plus the President of the National House of Chiefs, who is also an ex-officio member of the Council-of-State.
I don’t know the precise process by which “a former Chief Justice of Ghana, a former Chief of the Defense Staff and a former Inspector-General of Police” are appointed, but it clearly appears to me that the incumbent President also has the privilege of appointing these three distinguished civil and public servants as well, or at least being heavy involved in the decision-making process.
If the preceding observations have validity, then it well appears that President Mahama appointed at least 14 of the members of the present membership of the Council-of-State. If so, then what is the logical and/or “constitutional” basis for Mr. Anyenini’s implicit argument that, somehow, President-Elect Akufo-Addo has absolutely no right to reconstitute the membership of the present Council-of-State, but instead commit the decidedly scandalous blunder of political suicide of having appointees of his predecessors and arch-ideological opponent vet and/or decided for him the caliber of aides or cabinet appointees he needs to work with?
Is the foregoing some form of political trap or a “constitutional” coup d’état that Mr. Anyenini and his ideological ilk believe that they can hoodwink Nana Akufo-Addo and his ideologically aligned and more legally experienced associated into falling for? Dear Reader, you just be the judge.
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