A private legal practitioner Lawyer Kwame Akufo has questioned the swearing-in of Speaker Joyce Bamford Addo to act as president at a time when the sitting president John Mills is still within the jurisdiction.

He said the act is in breach of the 1992 constitution of Ghana.

The Speaker was sworn in on Tuesday by the Chief Justice Georgina Wood with the explanation that her power to act as president will take effect 7:00 am Wednesday by which time the president would have departed for Nigeria.

The Vice-president who would have taken over from the president is already in the Czech Republic attending a business forum.

This has necessitated the swearing-in of Justice Bamford Addo in line with Article 60 (11) of the 1992 Constitution which says “Where the President and the Vice-President are both unable to perform those 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.”

Majority Leader Cletus Avoka in justifying the swearing-in of the Speaker, whilst President Mills is still in the jurisdiction said the act is not unconstitutional.

He said the act does not mean there are two presidents in the country, explaining that the Speaker’s power to act as president only takes effect after the president is out of the country.

But Mr. Akuffo insists there is no aspect of the country’s constitution that says the speaker’s power to act as president can be deferred once she has been sworn-in.

“Under the constitutional practice that we’ve had in this republic, as soon as you swear an oath you assume the office. This is the first time that oaths are being sworn that power pursuant to the oath is being postponed by some constitutional thinking.

“I don’t know where that constitutional thinking is coming from,” he added.

He said the only reason for violating the constitution is that Members of Parliament cannot be assembled before 7:00 am tomorrow to witness the swearing in of the Speaker and that is not sustainable.

“Members of Parliament have taken an oath to respect the laws of this country, to serve the people of this country. It cannot be too tedious that once or twice or once upon a time they are called to be in Parliament House at 6:30. That cannot be too tedious.”

He found it intriguing that the MPs at the time of the visit of President Barack Obama were on the floor around 7:00 am but will violate the country’s constitution because they claim it will be an inconvenience to arrive on the floor of the House early to swear-in the Speaker.

Play the attached audio for excerpts of the interviews

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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