CJ, A-G, Speaker, Majority and Minority Leaders are being lawless – Kweku Baako


Chief Justice, Georgina Wood; Attorney General,Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong; Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho; Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin; and Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu have been accused of being “constitutionally lawless” in what has become the swearing in fiasco.

This is the position of Kwaku Baako Jnr, Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper as he adds to the debate on the refusal of the Speaker of Parliament to take the presidential oath on two occasions.

He told Samson Lardy Anyenini, host of Joy FM/MultiTV current affairs programme, Newsfile on Saturday, the collective decision was “embarrassing. It doesn’t inspire confidence in nation building”.

The Chief Justice failed for the second time in three days to swear in the Speaker of Parliament as demanded by Article 60 (12).

The Speaker first declined to take the oath on Wednesday with this explanation: “Honourable members, Leadership in consultation with the Chief Justice and the chief legislative officer at the Attorney General’s Department this morning in my lobby.  After careful reading of the relevant provisions and the oath I took on the 19 th  September 2013, I arrived at the conclusion that it would not be necessary to subscribe to another presidential oath.”

This triggered a huge controversy, but not even that and the numerous advice from some legal luminaries could move the Speaker of Parliament to rescind his decision. He repeated the action on Friday, November 7, 2014 when the President was in Nigeria and Vice in India.

But Mr. Baako has suggested that the failure of the Chief Justice, Attorney General, and both Majority and Minority Leaders to prevail on the Speaker to take the constitutionally mandated obligation is a disservice to Ghanaians.

“These are very, very experienced people, and solid knowledge of the law…I think this was an exercise in constitutional lawlessness… it is mind boggling.”

He further stated: “Why should they decide that the three or four of them have the mandate and authority to sit at certain place and decide that look we are reviewing this convention or this is what the law says, we are interpreting it, and we are enforcing it, we are operationalising it. That is not the way to build a nation.

He questioned: “…Is it within their mandate to have come together and decided that this practice is just not good, this is just a practice that is worrying so this is the right approach?…It’s an exercise, I repeat, in constitutional lawlessness.”

He re-emphasised that the issue has come up in court before in the Asare v Attorney General [2003-4] SCGLR 823, and the Supreme Court upheld, “the purposive interpretation to be given to Article 60 (11) is that where both the President and the Vice-President are absent from Ghana, they are to be regarded as unable to perform the functions of the President and thus the Speaker is obliged to perform those functions.”

Mr. Baako is therefore demanding that the Chief Justice, Attorney General, Speaker of Parliament and both Majority and Minority Leaders should offer a public apology.

He said whatever reason, though unknown, that they assigned to it, to perpetuate what he considered wrong on Friday, was “irritating, annoying, it’s an insult to our sensibility as a people”.

But Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu offered what he called a “practical solution” to the challenge.

“Let’s try and avoid the president and his vice being out of the country at the same time,” he suggested.

In his opinion, the Speaker should have sworn the oath again for avoidance of doubt. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com| Isaac Essel | [email protected] | twitter @isaacessel

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