The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye will later today [Sunday], January 21, 2018, be sworn-in as acting President of Ghana.
This follows reports that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will be leaving for Monrovia later today, to attend the inauguration of Liberia’s President-elect, George Weah, on Monday.
Ghana’s Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who would have ordinarily taken over as President, is unwell and is on medical leave in the United Kingdom after he left the country last Friday on the advice of his doctors.
A statement issued by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, recalled Parliament for an emergency sitting on Sunday at 2:30pm for the swearing in of the Speaker as acting President.
“In exercise of the power conferred on the Speaker by order 42 (3) of the standing orders of the Parliament of Ghana, I, Honourable Joseph Osei-Owusu, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, pursuant to order 13(2) do hereby summon Parliament to sit on Sunday, 21st January, 2018 at half past two o’clock in the afternoon at Parliament House, Accra for the swearing in of the Right Honourable Speaker as Acting President of the Republic in accordance with article 60(11) and (12) of the 1992 Constitution,” the statement added, but did not give further details.
According to Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, the Speaker of Parliament must be sworn-in in the absence of the President and Vice President.
Article 60 (11) and (12) of the 1992 Constitution 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.
When the swearing-in of a Speaker was breached
The law was breached by a former Speaker of Parliament, Doe Adjaho in 2014, when he refused take the oath of office as acting President at a point. Both President Mahama and his Vice Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, had traveled outside the country at the time.
This compelled the Managing Director of Citi FM, Samuel Atta-Mensah, and a United States-based Ghanaian lawyer, Prof. Kwaku Asare, to file a suit at the Supreme Court, to among other things, seek an interpretation of Article 60 (12) of the 1992 Constitution, which requires that the Speaker takes the oath of office each time he is to act as President.
The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, declared that the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Edward Doe Adjaho, violated Article 60 (11)-(12) of the 1992 Constitution when he declined to be sworn in to act as President when President John Dramani Mahama and Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur travelled outside the country in November 2014.
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 Speaker is obliged to swear the oath each time he assumes the Office of the President. There is no ambiguity in articles 60 (11) and 60 (12),” Mr Justice Sulley Gbadegbe, who read the court’s decision, said.