MY TAKE ON THE TRANSITION PROCESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA, JANUARY 2017.
Let me use this singular opportunity to convey my sincere good will congratulations to HIS EXCELLENCY NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO ADDO, the president of the REPUBLIC OF GHANA. I am the happiest person today not because you have ascended the highest throne but because Ghana has demonstrated once again to the world that we are rapidly advancing our democratic credentials. Every patriotic citizen should be a proud and happy person for this solidarity, harmony, diversity in strength as well as nationalism against self-centeredness.
Nonetheless, I have ordinarily noticed some critical issues that deserve attention in our quest to advancing our enviable democratic dispensation. My piece is to succinctly point out some of these observations which I believe many legal and political pundits would have noticed too.
Firstly, I observed that incoming members of parliament as it were, were sworn in after the Rt. Hon Speaker was elected. My confusion is that, once they were not sworn in, they were not legally recognized as members of parliament so how could they have exercised any voting Right?
In my view, I think there is a need for amendment of portions of the standing orders and the constitution to create room for the CLERKwho before the election of the speaker acts as the chairperson for proceedings, to swear in the incoming members of parliament before proceeding, to conduct elections on the speaker and his two deputies.
Again, between the time that the new parliament is inaugurated and adjourned and the time that the president elect is to be sworn in, the state technically is naked without a president and that could be dangerous. Fortunately, I was vindicated when the minority leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu mentioned same. Something should be done to close that gap. I have the strongest conviction that the seventh Parliament will do something to fill up that I consider a constitutional loophole.
More importantly, I need to raise issues on the swearing in of the vice president elect before the president elect. For now, it is legal because it has been a long standing convention not only in Ghana but other countries. In my ordinary analysis, we should have a second look at it. The President elect should first make his covenant with the state and then, the vice. I say this because; the role of the vice president is more of an assisting role. Also his authority only comes after the authority of the president. Besides, what would happen in any event that the president Elect is unable to take his oath after the vice has been sworn in? Yes I know the vice will be acting as the president while that of his, becomes vacant? In the absence of the president, the vice steps in as explicitly stipulated in article 60of the 1992 constitution. In my understanding, the president is first and the vice is second. Let me put it this way, once there is no head, there is no tail. There should not be any circumstances where we have the tail first and then the head.
There is another issue we should not treat lightly because of the sanctity and the spirit of our national constitution. During the oaths of both the Vice President and the President, certain portions in the oath were replaced. For instance, the VICE PRESIDENT pronounced “SOVEREIGNTY" as "INSOVEREIGNTY". Also the president Nana Akufo Addo replaced “WELLBEING" for “WELFARE" I believe it was not deliberate but believe me, in other jurisdictions, the PRESIDENT would have to retake the oath as in the of USA where President Obama was asked to retake the oath. These are issues people can raise legal queries against in the near future as we grow. We need to meticulously prepare people who are to go through such constitutional mandated events to avoid such a legal murder.
Also, such a state function is very important beyond the investiture but to solidify the commitment to our democratic transition in the face of the citizenry and the world. In my humble view, outgoing Presidents should have the opportunity to give keynote addresses as part of outgoing governments support to the incoming governments. This is more important than the show of gestures and handshakes. The speech of guest speakers should come before that of the number one gentleman of the land. In the recent case, president Nana Akufo Addo spoke and had to sit for a long time waiting for others to deliver their speeches. Per standard protocol, the president should climax the ceremony with his speech and not any other speaker(s).
More so, on the aspect of the speech, the PRESIDENTdelivered a very inspiring and statesmanlike speech. I must thank him for that wonderful and visionary speech. However, there is one thing that would have gone unnoticed but for the inquisitive nature or otherwise the proactive nature of the media. Soon after the speech, it was discovered that the speech was plagiarized from different speeches. In fact, this has brought embarrassment to the nation and I must say, I am very disappointed at the speech writer of the PRESIDENT. The issue has been all over the international media. I think such a crime and intellectual theft is avoidable and those who caused it must be sacked immediately to avoid any future embarrassment of that sort. Such a crime has never happened in the history of Ghana. It is absolutely unprecedented and smacks magnanimous incompetence and national shame.
Another thing that has been conspicuous and consistent is the degree at which political party fanatics display political colours at such events. The colours are not only showcased by these party activists but they use such partisan cloaks to heckle and mock candidates who loss elections. This is not good for such a state function. If care is not taken, such platforms could be reduced to political party programs in the future. To paint such programs truly statutory, certain rules must prevent political parties from such partisan acts.
Those are my observations and suggestions and I stand for any corrections on any of the issues I raised since some issues are legally oriented that I might have misjudged.
I take solace in the fact that we are improving every day and the world is learning from us. Citizens must know that governance is a collective process and not a one man job. Unfortunately, when political parties are in opposition, they see it differently but quick to call for support as soon as they gain power. The NPP boycotted the 2013 Presidential inauguration but today they call on all and sundry for support. I congratulate the NDC and all political parties for contributing greatly to the success of this 2017 presidential investiture.
Political parties should contribute and work in the collective interest of Ghana and not start advocating for it after winning political power. That is the only way we can build a more advanced enviable democratic dispensation in the near future. It is time to work. For me, as a citizen, I am more than enthused to serve mother Ghana. I shall loud government when the need be and constructively criticise when the situation demands. In going forward, tolerance, constructive criticism, peace, unity, nationalism, patriotism and true citizenship are key fundamentals that we must pull together and work with all the time for the love of GOD and NATION BUILDING.
LONG LIVE GHANA.