A Justice of the Court of Appeal, Professor Dennis Dominic Adjei, has called for an amendment to the constitution to prohibit the President from dismissing a public office holder he has appointed without consultation with the Public Services Commission.
He said the President appoints public office holders acting in accordance with the advice of the governing council, through a consultation with the Commission; hence, it will be ideal for the President to go through the same process before dismissing a public office holder.
“Ministers of State are appointed by the President with the prior approval of Parliament. Majority of ministers are appointed from Parliament. The President appoints deputy ministers in consultation with a minister of state, with the prior approval of Parliament.
“If there would be any amendment to the constitution, it should consider placing fetters on the President’s power to dismiss without consulting the body or bodies whose advice was sought before the appointment,” Justice Adjei said this last Friday in Accra, at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial lecture.
He was speaking on the topic “Bolstering other arms of state as counterweight to Executive power” organised by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS), as part of the Academy’s 2021 Founder’s Week celebration.
Justice Adjei said the President also appoints the chairmen and members of the independent constitutional and other bodies, namely; the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice and his Deputies, the Auditor-General, the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator; the chairman and other members of the Public Services Commission, the Lands Commission, the governing bodies of public corporations, a National Council for High Education among others, based on the consultation with the Council of State.
He added that, chairman, deputy chairmen and other members of the Electoral Commission acting with the advice of the Council of State were also appointed by the President, stressing “the time has come to control the unrestrained powers of the Executive to deepen the nation’s democracy”.
“The objective for creating the independent constitutional bodies will be defeated where the President has unfettered powers to dismiss public office holders without assigning any reason.
The independent constitutional bodies whose chairperson and members may be dismissed by the President without any reason are susceptible to become rubberstamps and unable to perform the functions for which they were created,” Professor Adjei said.
He explained that, the Council of State was established by the Constitution to counsel the President in either consultative or advisory capacity, adding “the role of the Council of State was to put a restraint on appointments made by the President in that the President is either required to consult them or seek their advice”.
“The Council of State is made up of eminent personalities including a retired Chief Justice, a retired Chief of Defence Staff of the Armed Forces of Ghana, a retired Inspector-General of Police, the President of the National House of Chiefs and a representative elected from each region to represent the 16 regions of Ghana, and 11 members appointed by the President,” Professor Adjei said.
BY BERNARD BENGHAN