The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has raised further questions with the swearing-in of the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye as acting-President by calling for an amendment to the schedule of oaths for an acting President.
Mr. Iddrisu, called for Oath of Allegiance to be removed from the schedule after the Speaker took the oath of office to act as President for the second time in six days.
After Prof. Oquaye’s first swearing-in last Sunday, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, made similar suggestions, saying future Speakers of Parliament, who may have to act as President should only need to take only the Oath of Secrecy.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament today [Saturday], Mr. Iddrisu, made reference to Section 3 of the Oaths Act which is against the repetition of Oaths.
“Must the Speaker of Parliament repeat the Oath of Allegiance? My position is, Section 3 of the Oaths Act of 1972 is against the repetition of oaths. Just within the span of less than 10 days, the same Speaker of Parliament who swore an earlier Oath of Allegiance and swore one just a few days ago is being made to swear another oath of allegiance. In my view, that is legally needless and at best, unnecessary. Mr. Speaker, this Parliament must rise to the calling that under article 93 of the constitution, the power to legislate and make laws is ours and we must jealously protect and safeguard it,” the Majority Leader submitted.
Section 3 of the Oaths Act says: “No person who has duly taken the Oath of Allegiance or the Judicial Oath shall be required again to take that oath on appointment to any other office or on any other occasion… No person shall be required to take any oath on appointment to any office unless that oath is different from or in addition to an oath duly taken by him in respect of any other appointment.”
The swearing-in is mandated by Article 60 (11) and (12) of the 1992 Constitution and has been necessitated by President Nana Akufo-Addo’s trip to Addis Ababa for the AU Summit.
The Vice President, Dr. Bawumia, is also currently in the United Kingdom on medical leave after being taken ill last week.
The Speaker will be clothed with Presidential powers until Wednesday, 31st January.
Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak, expressed his displeasure with the summoning of MPs for the second swearing-in of the Speaker of Parliament in less than a week to Citi News.
According to Dr. Apaak said the processes prescribed by law were inconveniencing several MPs who had made other plans.
He said bluntly this current arrangement was unsustainable.
“As I speak to you, myself and many of my colleagues have engagements and activities in our constituencies and we are to leave, and yet we are expected to come back to the House at 8:30 am to swear in the Speaker as President. I don’t think it is sustainable.”
Controversy over swearing-in
The law concerning the swearing-in was breached by a former Speaker of Parliament, Doe Adjaho in 2014, when he refused to 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, Edward Doe Adjaho, violated Article 60 (11)-(12) of the 1992 Constitution when he declined to be sworn in to act as President.
The apex court 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”.