Speaker Adjaho cannot be President – if SC judgement renders position vacant

Speaker Adjaho cannot be President - if SC judgement renders position vacant

Edward Doe Adjaho, Speaker of Parliament

Permit me to use your platform to draw the attention of our dear country to the fact that contrary to the widely held view, under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana the Speaker of Parliament, presently Doe Adjaho, cannot be President of the Republic in the event of any of the scenarios possible under the impending verdict of the Supreme Court in the pending Election Petition case.

It suffices to mention that short of predicting the outcome of the case and without intending contempt of the apex court of the land, it is widely believed that the Supreme Court could come to any of the following decisions:

1. Declare that President Mahama was validly elected (maintenance of the status quo)

2. Annul the votes in contention as prayed by the Petitioners and declare Nana Addo Danquah as President.

3. Declare that the Elections lacked credibility and order a re-run or that Nana Akuffo Addo even after some annulments could still not have the required numbers to be declared President and therefore a re-run.

Under Article 60 Clauses 11,12 & 13 of the Constitution, the Speaker becomes or acts as President where the President and Vice President are unable to perform the functions of the President.

Particularly under clause 13 of Article 60 the Speaker becomes the President where both the President and Vice President are unable to perform the functions of the President as a result of death, resignation or removal from office.

The constitution did not include the scenarios possible under the election petition as enumerated above in the situations under which the Speaker can act as President. And that in my respectful view interpreting the relevant articles to bring in such scenarios would amount to conjuring interpretive magic which province is that of only the Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court declares that the election of the President was invalid it would be as if the President was never elected at all and was never a President although Article 64 (2) of the constitution saves his acts before such declaration.

The President would not be leaving office in that case under any of situations contemplated under Article 60 (13). It would certainly not be removal from office since that is not what is before the Supreme Court; neither would it be resignation nor death. It would be a pure case of nullity. He would have been never a President and neither would there have been a Vice President.

Doe Adjaho can therefore not step in as President under any of the possible scenarios from the anticipated verdict.

The question is who would lead the Nation in the interim pending the election and/or swearing in of a new president as the case may be ? There appears to be a lacuna or in some sense a crisis which the constitution or even C.I. 74 did not anticipate.

It is my humble opinion that the Supreme Court could incorporate this issue in their judgment should it be necessary as part of Consequential Orders.