Mr Speaker, I am guided by the comments of the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation. Let him also be guided that between 6th January and today, something ought to have happened as a requirement but that has not. I maintain that strongly, but we would compare notes, since this is not meant to be the only issue.
Finally, let me request you to indulge me for just one more minute. There are some happenings in this country that I think this Parliament must proactively and preemptively take ownership of and correct for the good of our democracy tomorrow.
On 16th March, 2016, we had Hon Edward Doe Adjaho, sworn in under article 60(11) by the then Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood. On 9th November, 2010, the Speaker of Parliament, Hon Joyce Bamford-Addo, was sworn into office under article 60 (11) by the Chief Justice and also on 1st October, 2010.
On 19th March, 2008, the Speaker of Parliament, Hon Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi- Hughes, was sworn in under article 60 (11). On 24th February, 2003, Hon Peter Ala Adjetey was sworn into office under article 60 (11) by the then Chief Justice, Mr George Acquah.
We saw the penultimate on 24th July, 2012, when Vice President John Mahama was sworn in. In all these instances, the Chief Justices have had to rely on an amendment of a version of the presidential oath.
Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I would refer to the attachment of the Constitution. On page 205 of my Constitution, as you rightly noted before you took this high office on behalf of Mr Speaker, the presidential oath is problematic. It is problematic because it says, “having been elected”. When is Mr Speaker deemed to have been elected as President of the Republic?
Mr Speaker, the Chief Justices have struggled probably with Parliament to say that in compliance with article 60 (11) of the Constitution.
Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, I have just referred to the oath and I would want to quote it for emphasis, so I would request your guidance.
The Presidential Oath starts, and it reads:
“I……………………having been elected to the high office of President….”
So, if the Hon Speaker is to assume the office of the President, the Constitution in article 60(11) and (12) requires and makes reference to a Schedule, and that Schedule is constitutionally problematic. This is because -- but they have all done well. All the Chief Justices have avoided what may be a constitutional hiatus -- they have used their own words to manage it, but this Parliament must take ownership.
If we would have to amend this Schedule, we would do so accordingly to avoid a future constitutional crisis. This is because if an oath is administered and the words in the oath are not in tandem with what the Constitution itself requires one to do in article 60 (11) and (12) --
Mr Speaker, these days, people walk freely to court invoking the Supreme Court's interpretive jurisdiction. That is a problem.
Mr Speaker, secondly, we realised that two oaths were administered to Professor Mike Ocquaye by Her Ladyship the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo.
Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, she administered the Oath of Allegiance. The Hon Speaker has already subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath Act is against repetitiveness of oaths. We would need to take a collective decision as Hon Members of Parliament on how Parliament must walk this particular path.
Mr Speaker, I discussed this with the Hon Majority Leader and he had some ideas, but we would need guidance. We must prepare for any eventualities as a country, but those eventualities must be dictated and guided by the Constitution and the laws of Ghana, in order that if there are any legal defects, Parliament would be clothed with the mandate and authority to correct them.
Mr Speaker, if the Chief Justice comes to say, ‘‘in compliance with article 60 (11)'', but article 60 (12) says --
Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote article 60 (12) and rest my case so that the Hon Majority Leader would share some of his views on this.
“The Speaker shall, before com- mencing to perform the functions of the President under clause (11) of this article, take and subscribe the oath set out in relation to the office of the President.”
Mr Speaker, this refers to the oath I referred to even though I essentially disagree with the notion of an acting President. I believe there cannot be an alternate President. The person only assumes responsibility to perform the functions of the President.
This is because we cannot have two Presidents at the same time. That is not acceptable, but I believe this Parliament must wake up and avoid a possible future constitutional crisis because we do not know what to do when we are confronted with this. I have not said that in the past it was done rightly, neither have I talked about the present.
Mr Speaker, we have done well as a country in managing this transitional arrangement, but we should deepen it, maybe, by a review of the Constitution, a reconsideration of the Schedule of the Oath to reflect the words that we would want to use.
Mr Speaker, I accordingly submit.