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An open letter to the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

 119152054 Nanaakufoaddookay The president of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Tue, 13 Jul 2021 Source: Richmond Wardie Darko

Akufo Addo: Protect the public purse and strengthen the judicial arm of government.

Mr. President, I hope this letter reaches you promptly. In the spirit of patriotism, and recalling your inaugural address to the lofty office of President, in which you admonished us to be citizens, not spectators, I am freely sharing my views on public issues affecting our country.

But before that, I would like to commend you on cleaning up the mess in the financial sector that you inherited, saved the deposits of 4.6 million depositors, the decline of GDP growth to 0.9% in 2020 as a result of COVID-19, implemented the One District, One Factory initiative, scholarship increased

by 70%, enhanced public services through digitization, abolishment of numerous taxes, restoration of teacher and nursing training allowances, successfully exited the IMF program, implemented Free Senior High School and Free TVET Education and among others. This an incredible achievement and I am proud of that!

Mr. President, I did have faith in you and your government, particularly in your effort to combat corruption and defend the public purse as promised in your manifestos. However, your government has expressed to ordinary Ghanaians that corruption is the order of the day in governing the nation.

Ghanaians were elated when a member of the simple minority was elected as Speaker of Parliament in the person of Alban Sumana Kingsley Bagbin but it is evident that, it's a shared job of both majority and minority to loot the public purse. I wonder if all the power struggle was to

come and depict these? It's amusing to see some MPs sue over Presidential spouse's salaries. They should have launched a lawsuit against the $28 million loans for their automobiles.

We should not utilize the authority of incumbency to smuggle allowances for the spouses of Presidents. Is their existence recognized in Ghana's Constitution? What is the logic behind paying the First and Second Ladies on official salaries?

Mr. President, I am not a sexist, nor have I chosen to disregard the First and Second Ladies' contributions in this country. Ministers have scheduled responsibilities, so we need to know what First and Second Ladies' responsibilities are if they are to be paid as Cabinet Ministers.

I am upset with Parliament's Emolument Committee for allowing this; First and Second Ladies should not be captured under Article 71. As quickly as possible, the Committee should rescind its decision. If they regularize

this, what about the Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice's, and Electoral Commissioner's spouses?

Yes, for a fact I know that in the 1999 and early 2000s, the then President of the Republic, Jerry John Rawlings (the late) made payments to the former first ladies as compensation for their service to the country and loss of their husbands during the revolutionary periods. Mr. President, I see no importance that paramount chiefs and queens are also on official salaries.

The nation has become a great fiction that there are no clear procedures. There are so many contractual breaches in your government in the course of their official duties. Yes, judgment debt arises with every change of government, and according to an answer cited in the order paper of parliament in 2019 from the finance minister in response to a question by Hon. Abdul Aziz

Mohammed, you've paid $283 million in judgment debt.

Contract breaches account for 73.1% in this country. What circumstances have resulted in so many judgment debt payment slaps in Ghana?

This debt has despoiled the state and impoverished us, and it has become a lucrative source of revenue for your government. In a time of economic crisis, this is not a wise way to spend taxpayers' money. What's worrying is that there seem to be no repercussions.

This year alone, your government has incurred a judgment debt of $255 million, and debts in my knowledge, come with exorbitant interest rates. I'm not accusing your government of judgment debt; nonetheless, it's clear that this is a systematic problem in this country and it stems from the legal

arm of government failing to be proactive in its investigations with the public purse.

Mr. President, the constitutional rights and freedom to assemble and demonstrate as enshrined in the constitution has in recent times been negated by members of the security and has to an extent stemmed in the bloodbath of few innocent citizens whose only crime was seeking rectitude for the late Kaaka in Ejura. I must say that it is in the right steps to probe into the murder of Kaaka but you must not do away with the aftermath of Kaaka's murder. To draw your attention to it, it was widely televised, where we saw armed security officers aiming and shooting at unarmed civilians.

This cannot be condoned and must be redressed accordingly under the laws of ethics, human rights, and the laws of Ghana. A functional justice system is crucial to peace and development, let justice prevail!

Ghana must be fixed now and forever!

Recommendations and conclusions

Execution of government business:

1. Implement strict adherence to the National Procurement Laws, digressions at all levels should carry hulking consequences for the responsible public official(s).

2. Ensure that skilled legal specialists who understand the nebulous nature of government procurement are consulted before committing to contractual commitments .

3. Continuation of projects when there is a change of government and there should be a National Agenda.

4. Before any government enters into a contract with a private entity on behalf of the state, important stakeholders should be involved, and contracts should be reviewed and approved by all key stakeholders.

Reforms in the Judicial system:

5. The rules of enforcement of human rights and making the Human rights Commission the Human Rights Court, specifically should have a weight of a High Court.

6. Fix reasonable fees for filing of cases to avoid restriction to justice because of high fees.

7. To effectively execute its mandate as a Legal Aid Commission, resources should be given to provide legal assistance to the indigent.

Thank you.

Signed

Richmond Wardie Darko

(A concerned citizen)

Columnist: Richmond Wardie Darko
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