Under Ghanaian law, the position of President of Ghana and Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces must not, at any point, be left functionally vacant. However, there appears to have been a vacuum created by the absence from Ghana of all three of the nation’s most powerful men.
President John Dramani Mahama is presently in Nigeria, where he has been holding talks with President Goodluck Jonathan over the raging Boko Haram terror campaign in Africa’s most populous state.
His Vice, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, is also in the United States’ City of Houston, Texas, where he has been attending an International summit of oil and gas experts.
Citi News sources say the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, is also presently in Korea on an official visit.
Checks show that in the absence of the three men, the power of state ought to have been provisionally handed over to the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, who [constitutionally] is the fourth in the line of succession to the Presidency – in the absence of the President, the Vice President and the Speaker of Parliament.
Checks, however, show that although the Chief Justice is in Ghana, she has NOT been sworn in as caretaker President, pending the return of the three men.
Speaking on the issue, Minority Leader of Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said the law doesn’t permit for anybody to act in the absence of the three.
“If the three [the President, the Vice President and the Speaker of Parliament] of them are absent, there cannot be any other acting president; that is the language of the constitution,’’ he said.
According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame constituency, the absence of the three top persons in the country is a serious matter.
He said the constitution does not provide for anyone else to act in the absence of the President, Vice President and the Speaker and also disputed claims that the Chief Justice should be sworn in as presidency in the absence of the trio.
‘’No; the constitution doesn’t make any such [provision]; in the pecking order of personalities of importance the constitution talks about the president as the first gentleman of the state and then in that descending order you have the Vice president, the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice in that descending order,’’ he noted.
He said; ‘’with respect to who assumes the presidency in acting capacity, the constitution stops at the Speaker of Parliament and does not go further to the Chief Justice.’’
‘’There is no provision in the constitution that allows for [the Chief Justice] to act in the absence of the President, the Vice President and the Speaker of Parliament,’’ he reiterated.
He, however, said the constitution rather has a statute that provides for the Chief of Defense Staff to take control in a war situation when the three personalities are absent.
But a former first deputy speaker of parliament, Freddie Blay held a different view from the Minority Leader.
He said the first vice speaker of parliament can act as president in the absence of the President, Vice President and Speaker of Parliament.