Harvard Trained Lawyer and Academic Justice Sai, Just may have stoked the conscience of the current leaders of Ghana, literally with his deep seated thoughts on the latest national discourse on payment of salaries of the First and Second ladies.
President Akufo-Addo in June 2019, set up a five-member emolument committee to make recommendations to him and to Parliament on the salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities and privileges available to article 71 officeholders.
Under the chairmanship of Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu and which also had former Majority Leader and former Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Abraham Ossei Aidooh, the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Dr Edward Kwapong, the current Director-General of the Internal Audit Agency, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, and a former Managing Director, Donewell Life Insurance Co. Ltd, Mrs Stella Segbawu, the committee had two terms of reference.
They were charged to make recommendations in respect of emoluments and other privileges for article 71 officeholders, as specified under the Constitution; and also to examine any other relevant matter which the Committee deemed appropriate to its work.
Interestingly, one of their recommendations is that, they have requested for salaries and benefits for the First Lady, Rebecca Akuffo-Addo and wife of the Vice-President, Samira Bawumia, and according to the Information Minister, “That recommendation was then forwarded to the Seventh Parliament which then gave the approval and it is now to be implemented,” he stressed.
This news however, have sparked nation-wide disagreements and disgust at this, as many advances the argument that, Ghana is poor and we must not consider paying wives of current leaders, who already, are enjoying incremental allowances. What is even sickening is the fact that, the payments have been backdated to 2017, making them receive a bulk sum of money.
However, the fast rising Lawyer, Justice Sai, who is currently renowned, for that emphatic win for the #FixTheCountry group at the Supreme Court over the Ghana Police and Godfred Dame, the Attorney General, shared these on his Facebook page. He wrote that:
"This is fundamental: If the spouse is performing an official government/public function or task, then, he or she is entitled to be paid or remunerated as a government/public official. However, this, too, is fundamental - we live under law (not under man). Therefore, it is only law, not man, which determines who should perform an official government/public function in the first place.
So the question, I think, should be this - which law requires or permits a spouse, qua spouse, of a government/public official - including the President or his/her Vice - to perform an official function? Once we find the law, then, we can, using the general legal framework for remunerating public officials, find how and how much to pay the spouse of the government/public official in question.
Without a clear and proper law in place, we can wake up one day and realize that all manner of persons are on the government/pubic pay roll and taking all manner of remunerations. That, I think, is the issue. Then comes in the big question - on what basis should the spouses of some public officials be paid, qua spouse, and the spouses of others - MPs, Speakers, CJs, MMDCEs, CEOs, General Managers, etc - not be paid? Da Yie," he wrote.
Commentary following his write up, have included the following:
Francis Bondzi-Simpson writes "Given the manner in which we elect our politicians, laws can be written to justify anything. The question that needs to be answered has to do with morality, and not legality. Remember, Apartheid was legal. The powerful can make anything legal."
Saddique S Theophilus writes "Ghana damirifa due. Kafra"
Alex Asare writes "When we get a polygamous president, who will have more wives in customary way, which of the wives will be paid, or all the wives will qualify for salary?"
Issah Mohammed writes "The spouses are perhaps paid with the taxpayers money for serving them in the bedroom. Upon providing them all the assistants, cooks, messengers, we still have to pay their wives. What a country?"
Ukarsha Salisu writes "I just don't know where they are going with this 'fraudulent' recommendation. Herh Gh eeh smh or as usual it's intended as a diversionary tactic from current 'hot' issues"
Di Stefano writes "This is fundamental!!!"
Banks Srem-sai Kirchhoff Philip writes "Thank you, good explanation, this also means that bills, proposal or law making is a way of fixing the country, spouse to be paid is a way of fixing the country in bosuu's head. this is fundamental."
Many are therefore calling on the current leadership to show leadership, and even reject this new proposal.
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