Will Mills Repeat Oath

President John Evans Atta MillsCurious Ghanaians are beginning to ask whether President John Evans Atta Mills will go through another ritual of swearing the Oath of Office, having fumbled with the previous one he took under the administration of Chief Justice Georgina Wood on January 7.

The probing question was prompted by the fact that President Barack Obama of the United States had gone through another oath-taking because of a previous faux pas.

President Mills, during the administration of the Oath of Office even as the words were read to him from a text he was holding, occasionally asked for repeats by saying “pardon” and in some instances clearly bungling the words he was asked to repeat.

He was obviously having challenges with both his auditory and sight senses, prompting a national security operative on hand to take part in the procedure.

While some words did not come out well, the then president-elect appeared to be improvising the words associated with the swearing of Oath of Office for the presidency as enshrined in the Constitution.

The man who is now his Spokesperson, Hon. Mahama Ayariga, in defence of his boss, explained that the Chief Justice was too fast for the president-elect.

Even before the Obama precedence, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Hon Isaac Asiamah, MP for Atwima Mponua requested for a repeat administration of the Oath of Office, considering the challenges the President encountered.

Considered a sacred procedure with an important place in the Constitution, swearing the Oath of Office is the climax of the procedures preceding the assumption of office of a president.

When President Obama faltered too a few days ago while being taken through the procedure, albeit in a subtle manner, White House minders made him go through the ritual once more.

Although without the classic Abraham Lincoln Bible which he used earlier, Obama went through the procedure again in a segment of the White House, without the glare of TV cameras.

The blunder was detected when Chief Justice John Roberts of the US was interrupted by Obama midway through the procedure by repeating his name and swearing.

Next in the oath is the phrase, “that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States”.

Roberts had rearranged the order of the words, not saying “faithfully” until after “president of the United States”.

Obviously confused, Obama stopped abruptly at the word “execute”.

The Chief Justice, in a bid to remedy the goof, repeated the phrase by inserting “faithfully” in the right place but without repeating “execute”.

Matters took another plunge when Obama repeated Roberts’ original incorrect arrangement…“the Office of the President of the United States faithfully”.

Although a White House official admitted that the anomaly did not unmake Obama president, caution demanded that Chief Justice Roberts re-administer the oath.

While some experts think a repeat is really not necessary, others consider doing it again okay and would not spoil the broth.

Two US presidents before Obama, history shows, went over their Oaths of Office.

The repeat procedure was simple and took place in the Map Room of the White House with the Chief Justice saying it was going to be done slowly.

It is doubtful whether or not Prof Mills will repeat the oath-taking procedure, but the Obama do-over would serve as a basis for a discussion of a subject which appears to have been confined to the backburner of Ghanaian history already.

By A.R. Gomda