Speaker Assumes the Presidency; As Akufo-Addo Performs Extraterritorial Duties
The Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt Hon. Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye has been sworn in as the Acting President of the Republic of Ghana as a result of the absence of the substantive President, H. E. Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and the Vice President H. E. Alhaji Mahamoud Bawumia, who are out of the country on extra-territorial duties and medical attention respectively.
As a result, Parliament was recalled by the Speaker pursuant to Order 42(3) and 13(2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament as communicated by the 1st Deputy Speaker of the House.
Article 60(11) and (12) of the Constitution of Ghana mandates the Speaker of Parliament to act as the Present in the event of the inability of both the President and the Vice President performing the functions of the President.
The Chief Justice administered the oaths of office (Presidential and Allegiance Oaths) to the Speaker at short ceremony in Parliament to usher the Speaker to his new role of Acting President until the arrival of the President into the country in accordance with Article 60 (11) and (12) of the 1992 Constitution which states that: “(11) Where the President and the Vice-President are both unable to perform the functions of the President, the Speaker of Parliament shall perform those functions until the President or the Vice-President is able to perform those functions or a new President assumes office, as the case may be.” “(12) The Speaker shall, before commencing to perform the functions of the President under clause (11) of this article, take and subscribe the oath set out in relation to the office of President.”
It would be recalled the President of the Republic has been called to extra-territorial duties to represent the country in the swearing in of the Liberian President elect, George Oppong Weah.
Members from both divide of the House duly congratulated the Speaker for his new role, and drew the attention of the House to the need for introspection by the House and the need for Constitutional amendments to forestall future constitutional crisis, with both the Majority and Minority agreeing to this.
Down memory lane, it would also be recalled that in line with the Constitutional provision, the Chief Justice, Theodora Georgina Wood, on two occasions in November 2016 swore-in the Speaker in the absence of President John Mahama and his vice Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, which resulted in the Speaker, Rt. Hon Doe Adjaho refusing to take the Oath on both occasions, refusing to be sworn in despite accepting to act as President.
Following the refusal, the Supreme Court in December 3, 2016, ruled on the matter brought before it by Chief Executive of Accra-based City FM, Mr. Samuel Atta Mensah, and US-based Ghanaian lawyer, Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare.
A nine-member Supreme Court panel chaired by Justice Sophia Akuffo ruled that the Speaker is obliged to take the oath of office as President whenever both the President and his Vice are out of the jurisdiction.
Story: Frederick E. Aggrey