Former UN Senior Advisor, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah, has descended heavily on critics of the First and Second Ladies over the recent brouhaha on allowances given them by the state.
He said those critics, and indeed Ghanaians, should not underestimate the work that the spouses of the President and Vice President do.
Citing the likes of Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings and her 31st December Movement, he said the First Ladies put in tremendous work to contribute to the development of the nation.
“If you come to the present First Lady, Madam Rebecca Akufo-Addo, certainly we can quickly recall her work in Kumasi putting up a maternity building in a matter of a year and many other tremendous things that she is doing,” he cited on TV3 in an interview on Midday Live on Tuesday, July 13.
For him, the work of the presidential spouses should be looked at independently of their husbands.
Ghana’s First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Second Lady Samira Bawumia, after public debate about allowances they receive from the state, decided to refund all the monies since 2017.
The debate on the issue was stirred by a recommendation by a committee which was tasked by resident Nana Akufo-Addo to review the emoluments of Article 71 officeholders.
The committee led by Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu recommended that the spouses of the President and Vice President should be given monthly salaries equivalent to some ministers.
But on Monday, July 12, Mrs. Akufo-Addo announced her decision not to benefit from this arrangement.
Hajia Bawumia on Tuesday also stated a similar stance.
Prof Agyeman-Duah noted the issue should have been how were they going to be paid instead of the turn the matter took.
“I think these ladies under pressure have decided to give up these allowances.”
He stressed: “In a way, I think, we have not been very fair to the First Ladies in terms of going beyond the framework of the criticism, which is the legality of placing them under Article 71, for others to come for some kind of vicious attacks on these innocent ladies.
“That in itself is not good. I think we would have to be a little bit reflective when it comes to these critical issues.”
He attributed the rancour to the “divisive” politics in the nation “which tends to turn everything into politics”.
“That has been our problem and I think we have to find a better way of managing this particular issue.”