A fellow at the Centre for Democratic Development, Ghana, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare, says the Clerk of Parliament may be in contempt of the law should he fail to declare the vacancy of any seat.

According to him, the Clerk should have alerted the Electoral Commissioner of the vacancies of some eats in Parliament after their occupants remained absent for more than 15 sitting days.

“If that hasn’t happened then indeed it’s a big problem, it’s a serious problem. The clerk should be a little worried because he’s teetering on the verge of violating his oath of office. He’s a constitutional officer and he’s obliged to follow the constitution,” he said.

His comments follow revelations that some Members of Parliament, notably the MP for Dome-Kwabenya, Adwoa Safo; the MP for Ayawaso Central, Henry Quartey and the MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong have been absent from Parliament for more than 15 sitting days.

According to the Professor, MP-absenteeism undermines the core purpose of Ghana’s representative democracy.

He stated that Article 97 (1) c which prescribed sanctions against MPs who behaved in such manner should be applied.

“Because Article 97 (1) c is not talking about excused absence, it’s talking about unexcused absence. An MP who just decides to take off without notifying the Speaker and even with that, the article gives such an MP room to do the right thing, because it says well,  you do that on the first day, there’s no consequence constitutionally, the seventh day no consequence up to the 15th day then there’s a consequence.

“Because on that date, we’re going to give you the last chance. And the last chance is, you must give the Committee of Privileges a reasonable explanation for your unexcused absence.

“If you allow that 15th day to pass, then the constitution assumes that you have vacated your office. It is very similar to what will happen to you, Evans. If you decide without notifying your boss at Multimedia or Joy not to show up for a number of days, then I can assure you that your job will not be waiting for you when you show up whatever your explanation is,” he said.