Speaker’s Non-Subscription To Oath Supported

The Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho, did the right thing by not subscribing afresh to the presidential oath of office, while both President John Mahama and his Vice Kwesi Amissah-Arthur were out of the country, Head of the Department of History and Political Science of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Dr Richard Amoako-Baah, has argued.

“Though I am not privy to the details of why the Speaker refused to take the presidential oath, I will start by saying that he did the right thing,” Amoako-Baah said in an article on the matter.

Mr. Edward Doe Adjaho, within last week, acted in the President’s stead twice, without freshly subscribing to the oath of the presidency.

He argued that his September 19, 2013, subscription to the same oath administered by Chief Justice Georgina Wood, when both the President and the Vice President were out of the country, still held sway, as such it was unnecessary for him to be sworn in afresh.

That interpretation was reportedly reached after consultations among the Chief Justice, the Speaker, Attorney General and the two leaders of Parliament.

President Mahama travelled to Burkina Faso on Wednesday, while his vice, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, was also in India on an official visit. Mahama returned home shortly and then took off to Nigeria on Friday.

He is currently on an official visit to the Vatican for which he left Accra on Sunday. All these travels come on the heels of an earlier two-week sojourn to the UK, Denmark and Norway.

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 argued that the Speaker committed treason when he held himself as acting president without taking the presidential oath of office, and thus could be impeached.

Dr. Amoako-Baah, however, disagrees. According to him: “There is no provision in the 1992 Ghanaian Constitution that says that anytime both the President and Vice President are absent from Ghana, the Speaker must be sworn in as acting president. There is nothing like that.”

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