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Speaker of Parliament sworn - in as Acting President

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye
Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, was today (Sunday) sworn in as the acting President of Ghana an emergency sitting of Parliament.

The swearing in administered by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Sophia Akuffo, was in conformity with the constitutional requirement, which provides for the swearing in of the Speaker in the absence of the President and the Vice President.

 President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is attending the inauguration of George Weah as President of Liberia, while Vice President Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia is on medical leave in the United Kingdom (UK).

 Article 60(11) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that: "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.”

 Prof Oquaye took the oaths of the Office of President and allegiance in accordance with clause 12 of Article 60 of the Constitution.

 MPs on sweating in

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the absence of the President from Ghana was not the same as being unable to perform the functions of the President.

He said if President Akufo-Addo was performing extraterritorial responsibility as President of Ghana, Professor Mike Oquaye would hold the fore for him within the country.

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 Mr Iddrisu said Clause eight of Article 60, which mandates the Vice President to act in the stead of the President anytime he was away of the jurisdiction, be read in tandem with Article 60(11).
He, therefore, called for a national retrospection in connection with the 'inconsistencies' in the Constitution.

 The Majority Leader, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said Speakers who acted in the absence of Presidents ought not to be made to take the oath of allegiance since same had been taken before taking office as Speaker.

 Speaking with journalists after the function, the MP for Bawku Central MP, Mr Mahama Ayariga, said it was "absolutely unnecessary" to swear-in the Speaker to act in the stead of the President.

Regarding the oath of office, Mahama Ayariga said an illegality had been perpetuated by the altering the Presidential oath.

 He said the Presidential oath explicitly talked of an elected President and not an acting President.

That, he said, suggested that there should have been two separate oaths provided in the Constitution to address the inconsistencies.

 "This oath's wording has been altered and the person who administered the oath is the Chief Justice. So I am presuming that it is the Chief Justice who altered the oath in order to fit the circumstances".