A private legal practitioner, Daniel Sagu Osei has called for the abolition of the Council of State, describing it “as an irrelevant institution draining the national coffers”.
According to him, the institution’s loss of relevance was as a result of the governance system practiced in the country adding that “it is just duplicating the work and functions already being performed by Cabinet and the Attorney-General”.
The Council of State was created by the Chapter Nine, Article 89 of the 1992 Constitution while Article 91 of the same constitution grants it the powers to “advise the President or any other authority in respect of any appointment which is required by the Constitution or any other law to be made in accordance with the advice of, or in consultation with, the Council of State”.
Explaining his position at the ‘Thought Leadership Debate’, organised by Joy FM on the relevance of the institution yesterday, Mr. Osei said the Council was set up to mediate political impasse between the President and Prime Minister.
“According to proposals by the Committee of Experts on a draft constitution for the country, the institution was to “serve as a buffer institution between the Prime Minister and President, who may be of different political ideologies”, he said.
That, he noted was later enshrined in the 1992 Constitution tasking it to undertake roles and responsibilities that were not binding on the President.
With Ghana practicing the Executive Presidential system of government, Mr. Osei was convinced the Council of State was operating in a vacuum because its very foundation was no more in existence.
“The current constitution has no provision for a split executive. There is no political impasse for the Council to resolve. We don’t need them,”he argued.
He said the cost incurred by the nation in running the Council of State was estimated to be GH¢15.6 million annually, which, he argued, could be better used to provide social amenities across the country.
Rather than scrapping the institution, Senior Partner, Bentsil-Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah Law Firm, Kojo Bentsil-Enchill said the Council must be strengthened to be able to deliver on its mandate, adding that some interventions by the Council, he believed, accounted for the peace and unity in the country.
He bemoaned the destructive tendencies of Ghanaians, arguing that such state institutions require the support of the citizenry to be able to function appropriately.
“The Council has acted in diplomacy to build consensus to dissuade the President on unwise decisions as well holding forums to build friendliness and foster unity”, he said.
By Claude Nyarko Adams