The Founder of the CeDI-AFRICA Foundation, a civil society organisation, Mr Ohemeng Baah, has observed that the problem of Ghana is not leadership but accountability.
“We can elect the best of people into government but if we don’t hold them accountable, then we would continue to move in this cycle.”
He said it was sad that the politicians forgot their mandate when elected, adding that, “we don’t pay them to explain problems, but solve problems.”
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Mr Baah was speaking at the launch of the foundation in Accra yesterday.
He said the foundation was not a vehicle for partisanship but rather, the promotion of the interest of the vulnerable and the down-trodden.
Later at a forum, a member of the foundation, Lawyer Francis-Xavier Sosu, took a swipe at the payment of what he described as huge rent allowances to MPs.
According to him, such allowances constituted, “a breach of the trust reposed in the Parliamentarians.”
“They are elected to protect the interest of their constituents yet, they, by those advances, sin against the very principles of services and representation of the constituents whose interests they stand for,” a member of the foundation, Lawyer Francis-Xavier Sosu , said at a forum in Accra.
Dubbed the ‘Citizen Alert Forum’ and under the theme, “Measuring the Payment of Huge Rent Advance to MPs against the Standard of Leadership, Integrity and social Justice,” the forum examined why the payment of such rent advances were detrimental to the principles of equity and social justice.
Ever since reports of the payment of GH¢50,000 as rent allowance to MPs were made public, there has been a huge public outcry about the issue.
The GH¢50,000 rent allowance is a 60 per cent increment in the allowance given to MPs of the last Parliament. The total amount for all 275 MPs will amount to GH¢13,750,000.
While some critics have described the payments as a misplaced priority, some of the MPs say the cash was justified as some of them had no accommodation in Accra.
Mr Sosu observed that the principles of standards and integrity were very important in leadership asking, “With the rent advances taken by our MPs against the prevailing conditions in the country, can they be said to be men of integrity or hypocrites who stand for one value and practice the other?”
“They represent constituents with various rent problems; payment of two years rent advances which are contrary to the Rent Act and yet they never found it expedient to make recommendations for the resolution of those issues.”
“However, they comfortably accept rent advances levied on the public purse which goes ahead to deepen the social inequality in the country. How much rent advances are given to other public sector workers? How equitable and justified are those payments?” he asked.
He wondered how the payments of the rent allowances to MPs were consistent with the values and principles of social justice when Ghanaians suffered in the hands of landlords and yet the rent laws were not enforced to the latter.
Story by Seth J. Bokpe