Nothing Wrong With Mahama’s Travels

KWADWO MPIANI jpgA former Chief of Staff in the Kufuor administration, Kwadwo Mpiani, has defended President John Mahama’s frequent travels outside the country.

Mpiani told Accra-based Citi FM last Friday, that if work required that the President should travel, then he should do so.

He said he did not believe that the President would just get up and be travelling for its sake.

Mr Mahama has come under a lot of flak for his recent travels. He is currently on an official visit to the Rome.

Before this latest trip, he had already been to Burkina Faso as ECOWAS Chair to help resolve the political turmoil in that country,Ghana’s northern neighbour, following the ousting of President Blaise Campaore by a people’s uprising.

Shortly after he returned home he took off to Nigeria last Friday and from there headed for the Vatican.

All these travels came on the heels of an earlier two-week sojourn in the UK, Denmark and Norway.

Opposition legislator, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, weeks ago, accused the President of being a “visiting president” in his own country.

Mpiani, however, said President Mahama’s trips, just as the much-criticised trips of former President Kufuor, were not unnecessary travels, to attract such uproar.

While on his Burkina Faso and Nigeria trips, Mahama’s Deputy, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur was also on an official trip to India.

The Speaker of Parliament acted in his stead without being sworn in. He argued that an earlier swearing in ceremony in September last year still held sway.

According to Article 60 (11) of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution: “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.”

Also Article 60(12) of the Constitution states that: “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 the President.”

Some lawyers, including Kwame Akuffo and Prof S Kwaku Asare, have accused the Speaker of treason by not subscribing to the presidential oath of office and yet acted as president.

However, a former president of the Ghana Bar Association, Sam Okudzeto, has argued that once the Speaker was once sworn in as acting president last year, he need not be sworn in again at a different time since the first swearing in gave him the “power of attorney” to act as president anytime that both the President and his Deputy are not around.

Okudzeto rubbished claims of treason levelled against Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho.

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