Governance in Ghana Doe Adjaho calls for review of swearing in speaker as acting prez

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The Speaker of Parliament Edward Doe Adjaho has called for the review of constitution provision that calls for the swearing in of the speaker of parliament as the acting president in the absence of the President and the Vice President.

The speaker lauded the idea behind the constitutional provision but said the practicality of summoning parliamentarians at certain times become difficult.

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Doe Adjaho said this in parliament at a symposium organised in memory of the late speaker of parliament Justice J.F. Annan.

Adjaho in December 2015 was declared by the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision to have violated Article 60 (11)-(12) of the 1992 Constitution when he declined to be sworn in to act as President when President John Mahama and Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur travelled outside the country in November 2014.

The nine-member panel presided over by Justice Sulley Gbadegbe said there was no ambiguity in articles 60 (11) and 60 (12).

“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),” Justice Gbadegbe said.

Commenting on the ruling for the first time, the speaker said he was following the precedent of Justice Annan, who served as speaker for two terms and took the oath as an acting speaker once during the two terms he was the speaker.

"So I thought I should go by his precedent and that landed me in the Supreme Court," he said.

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He also cited an instance where had to politely turn down a request from the vice president who was travelling to Nigeria for him to be sworn in as acting president.

According to him, it was on a Saturday and it was going to be difficult for him to summon MPs to undertake the exercise.

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