The Institute of Economic Affairs ( IEA), has said Ghana could have done better in the 2017 transition following the electoral victory of the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
At a review of the 2017 Presidential Transition on Tuesday, a Senior Research Fellow at the IEA, Dr. Michael Ofori Mensah, blamed the challenges that marred the transition process on institutional lapses.
“…While the law spells out clearly that the presidential estate unit should carry out an inventory, this was not the case. We did have an issue where we saw more or less a duplication of roles.
When the transition law was passed, it assumed that the presidential estate unit will take over the duties that were being performed by a unit called the prestige unit of the PWD, which looks after the presidential homes.”
“The Ministry of Works and Housing actually administers or looks after the Minister’s accommodation, but that assumption was perhaps false. There was a bit of turf guarding and so the Administrator General’ s office was effectively left out and did not have the means to carry out its statutory duty of taking inventory…”
He particularly identified the sale of government vehicles to outgoing functionaries, the brouhaha surrounding the post-office residence of President Mahama, the question of a vice presidential residence, and what he described as midnight decisions of the out gone administration, as consequences of institutional lapses in the transition process.
“While I must say former President Mahama did bring out a very brilliant directive, whereby he sought to stop the sale of houses and cars to the outgoing officials , this u-turn that was performed was quite most unfortunate at the time with the transition, which saw again the sale of cars to outgoing officials, and I believe that brought us back to 2009 to 2011, and more or less together with the Administrator General being under-resourced did come together to cause a few problems in the transition.”
“If the Administrator General had been resourced to do his job, and had been in control of the presidential estate, I think it will not be the prerogative of an outgoing administration or an incoming administration to decide who gets what. That will be the decision of the Administrator General and that is what contributed to the saga.”
Presenting the IEA’s position paper, Dr. Ofori Mensah called for a second look at the policy on the sale of government vehicles to outgoing functionaries.
Meanwhile, a former Minister of State and MP for Wa central, Rashid Pelpuo, said President Mahama was moved by the sympathies for his outgoing functionaries, to allow them buy off their official vehicles.
He said President Mahama had taken an earlier decision against the practice but was moved by the concerns of his appointees in the dying days of his administration to allow them purchase the vehicles.
Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, however called for a strengthening of the legal framework to ensure that transitions happen according to law.