The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has denounced as completely baseless ex-President John Dramani Mahama’s latest allegations that the government does not take care of his expenses due him under Article 71 of the constitution.
Mr. Mahama alleged on Monday that he only receives his monthly pension, just like former President Kufuor, and pays his utility bills for his house and office, adding, “I live in my own accommodation so the state does not pay me anything for accommodation.”
He also asserted, “They haven’t given me an office, I rent an office in East Cantonments. I pay the rent myself. I pay for my own fuel; the state doesn’t give me fuel. I pay my own domestic staff. I pay my own medical bills, I pay my own air tickets when I travel, I’m travelling tonight [Monday] and I bought the tickets for myself and my wife.”
But the NPP has dismissed the allegations, accusing former President Mahama of “insincerity, inconsistency and lack of seriousness” on his part, and noting that his conducts “threaten our democracy, peace and security.”
NPP National Communications Director, Richard Ahiagbah, said at a press conference in Accra yesterday that “there is something very cynical about the former President’s blatant falsehoods about his enjoyment of the privileges of Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution.”
According to him, contrary to claims, the party has in its possession relevant documentations that suggest that former President Mahama is enjoying his benefits guaranteed under Article 71.
He said the ex-President’s denial of accessing his emolument benefits is simply to exploit the sympathies of unsuspecting Ghanaians.
“There is no record anywhere that former President Mahama has been renounced or that the government has denied former President Mahama his emolument or entitlement.
“These bizarre and downright false claims by the former President speak to a grand electoral strategy driven by desperation and deception,” Mr. Ahiagbah posited.
He stated that the impression being created by Mr. Mahama that when given the opportunity, he will amend Article 71 is inconsistent with his conduct in office as the Vice President and President of Ghana between 2009 and 2017.
“On this matter, former President Mahama is all talk and no action because he has had every opportunity to repeal Article 71 as President of this Republic, but he failed to do so,” the NPP Communications Director said.
He continued that the 2020 NDC presidential candidate is the first living and serving President who added his spouse to the “under-table payments,” which used to be for widows of former Presidents only.
Mr. Ahiagbah quizzed, “How insincere and confused can a former President be if not for political mischief?”
He added that from all indications, former President Mahama loves Article 71 “because he preserved it for himself when he got the golden opportunity to repeal it.”
For him, Mr. Mahama cannot be taken seriously today because he failed to act on the very provision of the constitution when he was the President, intimating, “if former President Mahama wants to be taken seriously, he should go ahead and repudiate all the Article 71 benefits he has gladly enjoyed from 2013 to date.”
“But trust me, former President Mahama will not renounce these benefits because he loves the provisions of Article 71.”
On illegal mining operation, popularly known as galamsey, the NPP National Communications Director said former President Mahama could not deal with the menace as leader of the country, recalling he, on October 22, 2020, promised to grant galamseyers amnesty if he won the election.
“Now contrast this amnesty position with what former President Mahama said on the Ghana Tonight show about President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo needing to resign because he vouched to fight galamsey, whatever the cost,” Ahiagbah pointed out.
He said Mahama is pounding the pavements about Article 71 in order to exploit the difficulties related to the global cost of living crisis.
“All former President Mahama is doing is what he has always done – to prey on the emotions of Ghanaians and leverage the resulting fear and worry for his politics. Mahama is not about the work; he is only about the talk,” he concluded.