The growing controversies surrounding Article 71 officers and their ex-gratia has attracted the attention of pressure group, Occupy Ghana, which called for the immediate review of the law on Wednesday.
The group made the demand after former President John Mahama wrote to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo withdrawing his request to keep his official residence as his retirement home.
According to Ace Ankomah, a member of the group, while speaking on Eyewitness News, insisted that despite the withdrawal of the former President’s request, Article 71 has to be reviewed in the spirit of fairness.
“Article 71 was meant for the good of the people of Ghana. It was not meant to give away state properties to various public officers. In our statement we are calling on the new President to begin this discussion and proposals so that we can apply Article 71 well…In this instance where successive Parliaments and Presidents literally at midnight dole out bundles of cash to themselves and share state properties is no longer on and that new Ghanaian is not prepared to take that anymore”, Ankomah said.
He further insisted that the economy of the country was presently unstable to support the demands of the Article.
“Politicians belong to a nation. They do not belong to a special class of human being. Have you ever seen any job where a person retires every four years and is paid a retirement benefit and is rehired almost immediately to serve another four years and earn a retirement benefit? This is Ghana. The nation is struggling financially. Every four years they take power, we vote them as MPs, they are made Ministers, they are paid their monthly salaries, when we retire them, do we have to give them money even if we revoted them? They should all contribute to SSNIT like us[Ghanaians]…Politicians are not better than us and so this four year cycle ought to stop. “
Article 71 office holders include the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court.
Others are Members of Parliament (MPs), Ministers of State, political appointees and public servants with salaries charged to the Consolidated Fund but enjoying special constitutional privileges.