John Dramani Mahama, the former president, called Martin Kpebu’s comment that he should return all ex gratia that had been paid to him in the past after he promised to cancel it as silly.
On March 4, when Mr. Mahama addressed supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Volta region, he stated, “I said categorically that when we come into office we will cancel ex gratia for the executives because the president is in charge of the executive, so he can cancel it for the executives.” However, he went on to say, “You have to persuade the other arms of government to see that there is no fairness in continuing to pay ourselves ex Why should we continue to accept ex gratia when the rest of the public and civil services do not? The economy is in trouble. Therefore, I stated emphatically that we will cancel the excursion.
“Then a lawyer, who ought to know better, said that I ought to refund all the ex gratia we had taken in the past to show Ghanaians that we are serious about canceling it. He doesn’t even know the principle in our constitution that says you can’t pass retroactive legislation if you pass legislation today; it doesn’t affect what happened in the past. What he says is a little silly because it is similar to saying that because we have introduced free SHS, all of us who paid school fees in the past ought to be refunded. That demonstrates how absurd his statements are.
According to Mr. Martin Kpebu, it makes sense to ask Mr. Mahama to return the ex gratia he received after he has stated that he will cancel the ex gratia payment if he wins the next elections as President.
Mr. Kepbu stated that Mr. Mahama should repay all payments made to him as a sign of commitment.
Mr. Kpebu stated, “Mahama made money while he was president, so he should look within himself and say look ‘I will return it,'” on the Key Points program on TV3 on March 4. He ought to return it because in these national elections, hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent. Where did that money come from? Because they made money, the reward is small. Therefore, he ought to simply inform the public that “I have grown older, I think I have become wiser, I am returning the money.” He ought to return his ex-gratia. “You know Dan Kwaku Yeboah of Peace FM, I believe he is the leading campaigner for Mr. Mahama to return his ex-gratia. I agreed that it made sense when I looked at it. Mr. Mahama ought to reflect on his actions and return the money as a demonstration of good faith and commitment. Number two, the change he ought to place into compositions.”
Justice Abdulai, a law professor, has also advised Ghanaians to be “measured” in their optimism regarding political pledges to end ex gratia, which was enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
Mr. Abdulai, who is also a lawyer, stated that the procedure will be extremely cumbersome for any president who promises to end ex gratia for Article 71 office holders.
He said in an interview on March 2 with Noble Crosby Annan of Media General, “Scrapping ex gratia will be very difficult.”
This follows former President John Dramani Mahama’s promise that if he is given the opportunity to lead again, he will end ex gratia.
When Mr. Dramani Mahama announced his candidacy for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidency in 2024, he said, “The payment of ex gratia to members of the executive will be scrapped.”
“In 2025, the necessary constitutional steps will begin in earnest to implement this. He added, “We will also convince members of the other arms of the government to accept its removal.”
However, Mr. Abdulai, who teaches at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), stated that the constitution, not a president, determines the emoluments of ex-gratia recipients.
He added, “This is not a decision made by Parliament.”
He stated that the entire constitution might need to be reviewed before an amendment can be made.
He warned, “For all of us who have hope, we should be measured in our hope.”
Mr. Abdulai stated that a referendum would need to be held, for example, to change this, and that “the entirety of Ghanaians will have to come together” would be responsible for the repeal rather than a single president.