Be bold, tell us to cancel allowances for all 1st and 2nd Ladies - Kweku Baako to NDC

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako 2021 Seasoned Journalist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako

Thu, 15 Jul 2021 Source: peacefmonline.com

Seasoned Journalist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has slammed the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for opposing the payment of salaries to the sitting President and Vice President's wives, Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Samira Bawumia.

A report by the Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee set up by President Nana Akufo-Addo, in its recommendations, stated that a salary equivalent to a Cabinet Minister who is a Member of Parliament (MP) should be paid to the First Lady while her husband is in office and a payment of salary equivalent to a Cabinet Minister who is not a Member of Parliament (MP) should also be made to the Second Lady while her husband is in office.

NDC opposition

But the NDC has mounted a strong opposition against the Committee's recommendations arguing that the First and Second Ladies are not Article 71 public office holders, so not entitled to salaries.

Per the Constitution, Article 71 officeholders only include the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court as well as Members of Parliament (MPs), Ministers of State, political appointees and public servants with salaries charged to the Consolidated Fund but enjoying special constitutional privileges.

Due to the backlash from the opposition party and a section of the general public, both the First and Second Ladies have refunded their allowances.

1st/2nd Ladies' allowance refund

Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo has issued a Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited (CBG) cheque for GH¢899,097.84 as her refund of all allowances received since 2017.

Mrs. Bawumia has also indicated she will follow suit by retuning an amount of ¢887,482 as allowances received from 2017 till 2021.

Meanwhile, there are calls on the former First Lady, Lordina Mahama, wife of Ex-President John Mahama to also refund her allowances from 2009 but no response yet from her.

As pressure mounts on Mrs. Mahama, some NDC members argue she is not obliged to return her money because hers is an allowance and not salary, claiming their problem is with the wives of the President and Vice President to be given salaries.

Kweku Baako replies NDC

Addressing the issue on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo' programme, Kweku Baako called out the double standards of the NDC.

Known to be a man of records, Kweku Baako read some records proving that, although President and Vice President's spouses are not practically captured under Article 71, they are however integrated for benefits spelt in the Article 71 provision.

He stressed that this has since been a normal practice, adding that, on the emoluments for public office holders, salaries include First and Second Ladies' allowances.

He, therefore, wondered why the NDC would be against Mrs. Akufo-Addo and Samira Bawumia receiving salaries but support the payment of allowances to Lordina Mahama.

To him, the NDC should be bold and call for complete cancellation of allowances for all First and Second Ladies including Lordina Mahama if indeed they claim to be principled on the matter.

"You're talking about the unconstitutionality of bringing in First Ladies and Second Ladies - the spouses. You're raising the red flag and the red flag you're raising, you're raising it within the context of a legal argument, a constitutional argument. So I ask you, allowances for the spouses, where is the legal or constitutional base? None whatsoever!"

"So, if you want it scrapped - zero option - say so. That's the point I'm making. If we feel it was wrong then and it is wrong now and that it is unhealthy, your argument should be from that perspective, but don't come and create the impression that ours was allowances," he stressed.

Source: peacefmonline.com
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