Justice Sai writes……………………. So much talk of Article 71 over the week…

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much talk of Article 71 over the week. To fully appreciate the enormity of the problem the Article creates, you, first, need to understand the methodology that has been put in place for determining the emoluments under it. This is it:

The Article divides the top rulers of “the Ghana” into two broad groups. Group 1 – the Executive (the President, her Vice, ministers, deputies, etc). Group 2 – all the others who matter (the Speaker, MPs, CJ and all the Justices, EC, Auditor-General, etc).

The Article, then, requires the President, who’s the head of Group 1, to approve the emoluments of Group 2; and Parliament, the head of Group 2, to approve the emoluments of Group 1. 🔁

Now, if you’re familiar with the arid, cold, uncoloured, uncontextualised concepts of separation of powers (including checks and balances), you’re likely to conclude that this is a cool arrangement to limit and check the powers of each branch of the government.

However, if you’re little bit familiar with the Ghanaian culture of “scratch my back and let me scratch your back”, you’re likely to agree that the intention of the framers of the Constitution, whatever that might be, backfired at birth. Big time!

But this is the worst part: Article 71 is an entrenched provision. What this means is that you can only amend it by a referendum. Kindly stop, go, check Article 290(4) for the threshold for getting a motion through a referendum and come and continue reading.

Now, let’s assume that you have secured the votes to pass the motion for Article 71’s amendment. You’ll need SOMEONE to table the amendment proposal and set the process in motion. If you don’t know how this works, just look at what’s become of the CRC work.

Guess what – this SOMEONE, according to the case of Asare v AG (CRC), must either be the President (who, himself, is a leading beneficiary of the disaster) or Parliament and the Council of State (the other parties to the “scratch my back” arrangement).

As a matter of fact, everyone who matters in “the Ghana” is locked in tightly in this gridlock. Simply put, it is a constitutional gridlock with no real key.

Da yie.

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