Speaker sworn in as Acting President

Prof Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament

Prof Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has been sworn into office as the Acting President of the Republic of Ghana, at an emergency sitting of Parliament in Accra on Saturday.

This is the second time in a week the Speaker would be acting as President of the republic.

While President Akufo-Addo is attending the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in the Ethiopian capital, Adis Ababa, his vice, Dr. Bawumia, is on “medical leave” in the United Kingdom.

Sworn in by the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, the Speaker took the oaths of the office of President and allegiance in accordance with clause 12 of Article 60 of the Constitution.

Professor Oquaye’s earlier swearing in was described as “absolutely unnecessary” by the Minority which contended that absence of the President and his Vice did not mean being unable to perform.

The Minority maintained that the repetitive swearing in of the Speaker anytime the President and his Vice were   out of the country was a waste of the tax payers’ money.

The constitutional exercise is to fill the void created by the absence of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia from the jurisdiction.

The elevation of Prof. Oquaye to the high office of President is in line with Article 60(11) of the 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”, the article reads.

Meanwhile, the NDC Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, has served notice that he would be seeking a review of a Supreme Court ruling which says that the Speaker ought to be sworn in anytime the President and his Vice were out of the country.

“As constitutional as it is, I think it’s completely unnecessary and the Supreme Court did Ghana a disservice when it ruled that the Speaker has to be sworn in each time the President and Vice are out of the jurisdiction,” Ras Mubarak told journalists in Parliament.

“When the president travels outside of Ghana, does that render the president incapable of performing the functions of president?” he queried.

He said: “I’ve given an indication to [my] legal counsel to apply to the Supreme Court for a review of the decision that got us having to come to Parliament each time the President and Vice are out.”

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision in December 2015 ruled that the decision by then Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, not to be sworn into the office for a second time as Acting President was a violation of the 1992 Constitution.

 

Mr. Adjaho on November 5, 2014, refused to be sworn-in as acting President arguing that the Presidential oath he took on September 19, 2013 when he acted as President was still in effect.

That decision prompted two Ghanaians, Samuel Atta Mensah and Professor Kwaku Asare, to evoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court leading to that ruling.

 

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