The die is cast and it is no longer news that, former president John Dramani Mahama, will be on the ballot as the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress for the 2024 election.
Ghanaians seek change, things have to change, the current socio economic tailspin, must be arrested. Only a man who has been tried and tested and proven himself capable of the job, needs to rescue the country and that person is no other than John Mahama.
The problems of the country come 2025, when he takes the oath of office are severe. In vehicular metaphor, he is going to inherit a car without an engine. He needs money to fix the engine and oil the economy, but the country is broke, if not bankrupt.
Problems ranging from a serious debt crisis to educational crisis, and from cronyism to rampant corruption and a distressed currency, i.ie the cedi.
President Mahama was a gift that Ghanaians regretted losing, because he had shown in the four years that he was in office that, he can both think and work outside the box.
The economy is in shreds, corruption at the apogee, it is the reason why 2025, is a make or mar years for Ghana. However, whoever succeeds Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and without beating about the bush, when John Mahama, takes over from Nana Addo, he will need more than four years to reverse the mess created and set the country back on sound footing.
But the Elephant in the room is, can he take the oath of office more than three times?
According to Article 66 of the 1992 Constitution, Clause 1 states that. A person elected as President shall, subject to clause (3) of this article, hold office for a term of four years beginning from the date on which he is sworn in as president.
Clause 2, states that, A person shall not be elected to hold office as President of Ghana for more than two terms.
It is on record that John Dramani Mahama, was sworn in as the Vice-President of Ghana on January 7, 2009, and he remained so until 2012 when he took the oath of office as the President of the country, after the demise of John Evans Atta Mills. He won the election that year to begin his four year mandate, after completing that of his boss.
Unfortunately, he lost the 2016 election to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
He made another attempt in 2020, but was robbed of victory, a victory which was affirmed by the Supreme Court, although every objective and independent observer, could attest to the fact that, the law was skewed to favour the New Patriotic Party and its candidate.
Supporters and indeed Ghanaians have gone agog over the news that John Mahama, will be contesting again in 2024, and the presidency is his for the taking. However based on the provision in Article 66, Clause 1 and 2, will he be qualified to contest again and spend another four years in 2029, giving him a total of 12 years as a whole?
Will the law take retroactive effect?
The question to ask is; in computing the eight years tenure permitted by the law, should the first four years 2012 to 2016, be included or excluded in the computation? This is the hard nut to crack and seeming confusion.
However, as a layman, who is not vexed with matters of law, I submit most respectfully that the first four years, should not be included in the computation of his two term tenure of eight years under Article 66, Clause 2, of the Constitution, which did not state concurrently.
To do otherwise will mean that he is being deprived of doing eight continuous years, which was the intention of the framers of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court, which interprets the laws in this country, will certainly be called upon by mischief seekers to determine the eligibility of President Mahama to seek another four years mandate after 2028, when that time comes, it is my humble plea that, the Apex Court of the land, will consider both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution in arriving at their ruling.
Nothing can be further from the truth and that is the simple fact of the law that, president Mahama, in losing in 2016, has not fulfilled his two tenure of eight years and that, he has started on a clean slate come 2025.
The objective and the intention of the framers of the Constitution, will be defeated if we allow the provision to take retroactive effect.
Lawyers, always remind us the lay men that, there is no common sense in law, but on this occasion, Ghanaians not only call on the Law Lords to consider common sense, but the overall interest of the country, as the builder of nation (John Mahama), needs more than four years to correct the mess Akufo-Addo, his family and friends have created.
Expectations are high. Rightly so. 2024 has been roundly described as a make-or-mar year for Ghana. It’s one of the paradoxes of this republic that a system that should guarantee reasonable opportunities – an egalitarian system, if you like – still manages to produce political oligarchs.
The economy is in shreds; corruption at the apogee and they seem to be no end in sight. Nana Akufo-Addo, has become the proverbial monkey, he sees no evil and hears no evil. Corruption has become a competition among his appointees.
The task ahead is humongous and Ghana desperately needs the right people in government to get the right fixes.
John Dramani Maham, no doubt is the man for the job, but he certainly needs more than four years to do it.