Former President, John Dramani Mahama, says allowances for the spouses of Presidents and Vice Presidents, are already provided for under the budget of the Office of the President.
In a statement responding to the debate on the recommended emoluments for allowances for the spouses of Presidents and Vice Presidents, Mr. Mahama explained that these allowances date back to the Rawlings administration.
“Some recommendations were made to provide allowances to the spouses of the President and Vice President and additionally, as a gesture of reconciling with our past, the spouses of former Presidents and Heads of State.”
“Since this convention was established by the Rawlings administration, issues in respect of allowances of the spouses of the President and Vice President and spouses of former Presidents and Heads of State have largely been handled administratively and provided for under the budget of the Office of the President,” he added.
Mr. Mahama further explained that the practice thus far had been that, for the advocacy and humanitarian roles they play, some expenses of the spouses of the President and Vice President in carrying out their expected roles are funded by the Office of the President.
He said this includes fuelling of vehicles, security, clerical staff, stationery, hosting of local and foreign guests, and all such expenditures.
“The distinction must be made, however, that this is separate from allowances payable to spouses of the President, Vice President, former Presidents, former Vice Presidents, and former Heads of State.”
In a statement, Mr. Mahama suggested that the Akufo-Addo government is attempting to “sneak the First and Second Ladies into the article 71 office holders’ group”, saying “This is clearly problematic.”
He argued further that the new emoluments are tantamount to altering an entrenched clause in the constitution without due process.
“Article 71 is an entrenched clause in the 1992 Constitution, and nothing short of a referendum can be used to amend or vary that clause as per article 290 of the Constitution,” he explained.
“The Committee, and indeed the government, cannot use a short-cut to circumvent well laid-out constitutional rules,” added.