The Minority in Parliament has described as “unconstitutional” continuous swearing in of the Speaker of Parliament as the acting President whenever the President and the Vice President are out of the country.
They have therefore; served notice they will be heading to the Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of the decades old practice.
“Yes, I think that we have engaged in constitutional illegality, an unconstitutionality all these while by reading into article 60 (11) of the word Absent which clearly is not part of that provision,” Minority’s spokesperson on Constitutional and Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Inusah Fuseini told Starr News’ Parliamentary Correspondent Ibrahim Alhassan Friday.
In 2014, Edward Doe Adjaho, then Speaker of Parliament declined to be sworn in to act as President when President John Mahama and his vice Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur travelled outside the country.
The Supreme Court, however, in a unanimous decision, in 2015 declared the action of the Mr. Doe Adjaho as a violation of article 60 (11)-(12) of the 1992 Constitution when he declined to be sworn in.
The nine-member panel, presided over by Mrs Justice Sophia Akuffo, also averred that the “Speaker of Parliament shall always, before assuming the functions of the Office of President when the President and the Vice-President are unable to perform their functions, take and subscribe to the oath set out in relation to the Office of President.”
The position taken by the Supreme Court, according to Mr. Fuseini, is flawed thus the Minority’s resolve to challenge it.
“I think that we must have a definite pronouncement on this matter because it will become an embarrassment,” he told Alhassan explaining that “because now that the Vice President is not available and nobody knows when the Vice President will come and the President will continue to perform the functions of the office of the President, within territory and outside territory you can be sure that we will continuously be called back to this house to swear in the [Speaker].”
“The Minority is prepared to take the matter up for a definite pronouncement because there is no alternative President in this country,” he maintained.
Speaker of Parliament, Mike Ocquaye is expected to be sworn in as acting President tomorrow (Saturday) as President Akufo-Addo leaves for this weekend’s AU Summit in Ethiopia while vice President Mahamadu Bawumia continues his sick leave.