A private legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong, has observed that Presidents, both past and present, have resorted to making promises during State of the Nation addresses, thus going contrary to the constitution.
Mr Oppong remarked that “substantial parts [of the address] have been about promises instead of what is currently happening.”
“We may have missed the actual requirement of the constitution [Article 67] on this matter because it says the President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before a dissolution of Parliament, deliver to Parliament a message on the State of the Nation,” he said on The Big Issue.
The most recent State of the Nation address, by President Nana Akufo-Addo, contained a number of projections and proposals, notably when he spoke on sanitation, the creation of new regions, the state of the eastern corridor road, among others.
Mr Oppong stressed that there must be a clear difference between the budget statement, which is about projections, and State of the Nation, which should “be to state exactly how the state, the economy, the political environment is like.”
“…But over time, our Presidents have taken advantage and even highlighted more promises. It is becoming like a duplication of what the President does through the Finance Minister. The Finance Minister does this in November and then within two months or sometimes one month, the President too has to come and give the State of the Nation Address,” the lawyer added.
In his view, “the point is to state what it is because what he should do about it would have been stated by the Finance Minister.”
‘State of promises’
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, had earlier described the President’s State of Nation Address as a ‘State of Promises’ after the President’s delivery in Parliament on Thursday.
On the back of the Minority Leader’s comment, Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, said the President’s address was more of a campaign speech and all the president did was talk about what he is going to do instead of what his outfit has done so far.
“Virtually, he was just talking as if he was on a campaign trail, still making promises. Instead of him to be telling us exactly what he has been able to do in 2017, the President wasted all the time talking about what he was going to do,” he said.