Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party(NPP) Richard Ahiagbah has said the party has no position on repeal of Article 71.
Ahiagbah was speaking in an interview on Citi FM with Umaru Sanda Amadu after he criticized the former President Mahama’s promise to repeal the Article 71 in the 1992 constitution.
The former President, while speaking at a meeting with NDC lawyers 3 weeks ago reiterated that the review process of the constitution which began under late President Atta-Mills will continue saying issues concerning the payment of ex-gratia is on the radar, should the NDC win power in 2024.
“The next NDC government must commit to the implementation of the review of the 1992 Constitution, which was begun by President John Evans Atta Mills of blessed memory” he said.
Asked what his party, the NPP will also do about it, since they are attacking Mr. Mahama, Ahiagbah said the NPP party has no position on the matter yet.
“My position is not to determine for the party what it’s position is on Article 71. My role is to articulate the position of the party when it crystallizes but I don’t determine the position”,
Asked why they will criticize Mahama’s position without having their own position on the unpopular Article 71, Mr. Ahiagbah admitted the party has no official position on whether to repeal the Article 71 or not.
“Currently the party has no position on the repeal of Article 71. That I can say for now. When the party takes a position, I will mention it.”, he said.
Two weeks ago, while addressing a press conference, Richard Ahiagbah said the former president’s contention on the amendment of Article 71 is a sham as it benefits him to a great extent.
“Mahama became president in 2012, barely a year after the acceptance of the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission. All President Mahama needed to do was to present a draft bill to Parliament, per Article 290 (2), to trigger the amendment process. But as the talk master general, former president Mahama did not act on the white paper,” Ahiagbah stated.
Ahiagbah however failed to convince Citi FM listeners in the later follow up interview.
Abronye chases Mahama
A Regional Executive of the NPP who leads a group dubbed the Patriotic Forum for Accountable Governance (PaFFAG) first started the crusade against Mahama over Article 71.
Abronye stated that the former President could not be trusted because the white paper on the Constitutional Review Committee report was issued by the Mills/Mahama administration which accepted that ex-presidents and persons who fell within article 71 be paid ex gratia.
PaFFAG also claims Mr. Mahama benefited personally from Article 71 and his latest talk was “a political gimmick and a lie”.
“Ghanaians cannot trust him for that since it is a fact that John Mahama cannot review ex gratia because from 2012 to 2016, he and his government, family, appointees and cronies are the most beneficiaries of end of service benefits in the Fourth Republic of our nation,” it said.
Addressing a press conference in Accra today, the Executive Director of PaFFAG, Kwame Baffoe, popularly known as Abronye, said “No former President and his appointees have ever benefited from end of service benefits and its accompanying emoluments like John Mahama has done.”
As for the NPP, Richard Ahiagbah has said it has no official position on repeal of article 71.