Manasseh Azure Awuni, a well-known investigative journalist, has stated that it is demeaning to ask former President John Mahama to refund ex-gratia payments he has received in the past for promising to eliminate ex-gratia payments.

During the beginning of his campaign to become the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama had stated that he would end the ex-gratia payments that are made to Article 71 workers, who are entitled to the payments.

However, members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and other individuals, such as lawyer Martin Kpebu, have requested that he first return the ex-gratia he has previously received in order to demonstrate his commitment to putting the promise into action.

“The fact that John Mahama has benefitted from ex-gratia doesn’t mean he cannot have a different opinion about it today,” Manasseh Azure Awuni argued in a piece on the subject.

His previous administration had more than 60 ministers and deputies, but that doesn’t mean he can’t think differently about how many ministers should be. I won’t make fun of him.

Ghanaians have a strong opinion on ex-gratia. It appears that everyone agrees that it is wasteful and should be eliminated, particularly for political officeholders. A potential president should be encouraged to do so and more if he or she wants to eliminate or reduce its beneficiaries. I won’t make fun of him. I won’t say that he should repay what he has gained. That is disparaging the talk.” In addition, he stated, “John Mahama deserved to be encouraged in his attempt to right wrongs in the context of our endeavors to construct a better society.”

Citizens and civil society have a responsibility to be critical of those in positions of authority in order to establish a robust democracy. They are also obligated to support those who attempt to implement policies that serve the public interest. I will encourage John Mahama to implement additional policies that will restore political sanity. We can enforce them on him and his administration if he wins,” he added.

In the meantime, activists from the NPP and the NDC are fighting over whether or not John Mahama should reimburse past exgratia payments made to him.