Veep’s Assembly Members extension directive illegal – Amoako Baah

General News of Wednesday, 11 March 2015


Prof Richard Amoako Baah

The head of Political Science Department at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has described as unconstitutional a directive by the Vice President for the Attorney General to extend the tenure of the incumbent Assembly members.

Dr Amoako Baah said issues of law are not resolved by administrative fiats and directives.

Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said the directive to the Attorney General, which is to take effect in the next three days is to pre-empt gaps in the management of the affairs of District Assemblies before new members are elected.

Plans to hold local level elections on March 3 were stopped by the Supreme Court after the Justices ruled that the Electoral Commission violated the Constitution in preparations towards the polls.

With the tenure of the current Assembly members ending on Friday, government is running against time to avert a constitutional crisis.

Speaking at a conference of Regional Ministers in Elmina in the Central Region, the Vice President said it was time to think outside the box to resolve the crisis.

“We need to re-strategise as to how best to manage the circumstances that we are confronted with,” he said.

While directing the Attorney General to supervise the extension of the current tenure of Assembly members, he said: “The lesson for me is that next time we have to be very diligent in the way we plan things so that we don’t get stopped halfway in the management of various [elections]”.

But speaking on Joy FM on Wednesday, Dr Baah said the directive by the Vice President is a flagrant violation of the country’s constitution.

He said Assembly members are not appointed; they are elected and so no authority, however superior, can instruct the Attorney General to appoint Assembly members into office.

“Just because something is prudent doesn’t make it legal,” he said. He would rather District Chief Executives are made to take supervisory responsibility of the various assemblies until July when Assembly elections are held.

But the head of programmes at the National Commission for Civic Education Sam Akuamah said the vice president’s directive is a fantastic idea.