A former Member of the Council of State, Dr. Nii Kotei Dzani is worried over what he describes as the politicization of the country’s Council of State.
Dr. Kotei Dzani said political parties have gradually infiltrated the Council.
Speaking to Citi News on the back of recent debate on the payment of ex-gratia for Council of State members, Dr. Kotei Dzani said the presence of politics is not helping the Council of State as in some cases it leads to low quality of the members.
He added that there is often undue influence of political parties in the constitution of the membership of the Council.
“Sometimes the quality of the Council of State is not too good. I have served on the Council of State and you realize that political parties, especially the ruling government, always try to influence those who serve on the Council of State. They try to influence who becomes a member or served on the Council of State so you realize that the Council of State becomes like an extension of parliament, so partisan and that is where the issue is,” he said.
The decision of a former member of the Council of State, Togbe Afede to return ex-gratia paid into his account at the end of his service, has triggered a national debate with partisan twists.
Some analysts have said that the commentary that has followed Togbe Afede’s action exposes the fact that the Council has been heavily politicized and the need to restructure it, although some have argued that it be completely scrapped.
A private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu recently noted that the Council of State has become redundant due to political infiltration and needs to be restructured.
The Council of State is a small body of prominent citizens, elected from across the council, and advises the President on national issues.
“They [Council of State] are not that robust, and it’s because of the composition how they get in there. The Council of State, the institution created by the Constitution, doesn’t live up to the billing. We’re expecting a robust Council that counsels the President,” he said. – CNR