Flagbearer of the People’s National Convention, Mr. David Apasera has expressed disappointment in the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the suit against government for a sum GH¢ 9.2 million to be paid to some 40 retired MPs.
The decision, according to the former MP for Bolgatanga, is a sad one because the exclusion of Members of Parliament from the pension package, as available to colleague members of other branches of government, is detrimental to the democracy of the country.
“The weakening part is that MPs become so depressed and stressed out, which more often than not results in death, because they can’t even visit hospitals to seek medical treatment, and they are denied a pension. It weakens the democracy that we have.
“The parliament will continue to grow weaker as compared to other Parliaments in other domains because when you leave Parliament as an MP, you must be able to survive,” he said.
The Supreme Court, through a unanimous decision, earlier justified its decision stating that the constitution did not intend to create pensions for MPs but gratuities, which it also explained is different from pensions.
The judges, therefore, ruled that it was unconstitutional for the Chinery Hesse Committee set up by President Kufuor in 2008, on which the lawsuit is premised, to have sought to create a pension package for MPs.
But the PNC flagbearer maintains that the Consulting Assembly never implied that legislators should be barred from receiving pension packages either.
“MPs have no specific tenure of office, due to which a pension package cannot be recommended without a limitation. So what was decided was that the Committee on Emoluments decides what is best for MPs and the President’s exception. So the Committee defined salaries to include pension, which was within its constitutional train,” he noted.
“If it is that today the Constitution is against us, the Supreme Court is the sole ruler in cases concerning the Constitution. But we’d meet and decide what other options are there for us to pursue,” he added.