Lawyer and broadcast journalist with the Multimedia, Samson Lardy Anyenini on Thursday’s evening described the institution of Council of State as “useless”.
Samson’s said this on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana (GEG) hosted by ace broadcaster, Paul Adom Otchere on the topic : petition, vetting and politics.
“…that council of state what is the use? I am not talking about the people who are there. That structure what is the use? It is useless… It lays further layer of filter. for example in the appointments committee. Where is the evidence of what they do?”, he quried.
“And when in Richard Sky versus the Attorney General which was consolidated together with the Ghana Bar Association versus the Attorney General, on the question of advice of the council of state. The Supreme Court said – you know – the president is not bound by the advice. It just finished it for me there. That we don’t need it. Is a waste on the public purse”, Lawyer Samson emphatically stated.
There has been argument over the relevance of the Council of State institution in Ghana, with some calling on the authority to scrap it to save the country’s meager resources that are being “wasted” on the body.
It will be recalled that in 2012, a U.S.-based Ghanaian economist, Professor George Ayittey also called for expungement of the structure from the Constitution and scrap it from the Ghanaian system.
According to him, the Council of State has outlived its relevance, emphasising that it was a duplication of parliament and therefore a drain on the state’s coffers.
“I think it has outlived its usefulness. It was [created] way back in 1992 when we had presidential elections that were alleged to be fraudulent and the NPP boycotted the parliamentary elections. So that resulted in a de-facto one-party state and parliament role is to provide oversight over the executive. Because it was a one-party state, Western donors insisted that some kind of body should be created to advise the president”, he argued.
Again, the overlord of Dagbon, Yaa Naa Abukari Mahama, recently advocated for the body to be scrapped and replaced with an Upper Chamber.
Yaa-Naa said the chamber should be made up of eminent chiefs and distinguished Ghanaians with the power to consider certain bills before they are sent to Parliament.
The king made the proposal in an address at the grand durbar of chiefs and people of Okyeman on in the Eastern Region Saturday, to climax the 20th-anniversary celebrations of the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin.
“It is high time Ghana amended its constitution to replace the present Council of State with Senate or Upper House…composed of prominent chiefs, distinguished Ghanaian men and women with the power to consider certain bills before Parliament,” the pulse.com.gh reported.
In December 2016, peacefmonline.com also reported that, vice president of policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, Kofi Bentil appealed to President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to use the NPP’s parliamentary majority to scrap the Council of State.
According to him, the continuous existence of the council is taking an unnecessary toll on the finances of the country and, therefore, must be abolished.
The Council of State in Ghana is a small body of prominent citizens, analogous to the Council of Elders in the traditional political system, which advises the President on national issues.
The Council of State was established by Articles 89 to 92 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana: “There shall be a Council of State to counsel the President in the performance of his functions.”