The Presidential Transition Bill has been passed into law by Parliament.
The bill was passed after going through the Consideration Stage on the floor of the House Wednesday.
First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ebo Barton-Odro, who presided over the business of the House pronounced the Bill passed after the Third Reading of the document.
“Hon. Members, the Presidential (Transition) (Amendment) Bill, 2016 duly read the Third Time and passed,” he declared.
President John Mahama now has to assent to the Bill for it to come into force.
The Bill seeks to amend the Presidential (Transition) Act, 2012 (Act 845) to address the loopholes identified in the Act and ensure an effective and smooth presidential transition.
The Bill provides for the situation where the transition involves only an incumbent President who has been re-elected as President.
In such a case, the new law demands for the establishment of a 13-member Transition Team within twenty-four hours after the declaration of the results of the presidential election in accordance with Article 63 of the Constitution.
Among the persons to form the Transition Team are: (i) the head of the presidential staff appointed under the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463), (ii) the Attorney-General, (iii) the Minister responsible for Presidential Affairs, (iv) the Minister responsible for Finance, (v) the Minister responsible for the Interior, (vi) the Minister responsible for Defence, (vii) the Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs, (viii) the Minister responsible for Local Government, (ix) the Minister responsible for National Security, (x) the Head of the Civil Service, (xi) the Head of the Local Government Service, (xii) the Secretary to the Cabinet, and (xiii) the National Security Co-ordinator.
The Transition Team has within six weeks of the declaration of the results of the election in accordance with Article 63 of the Constitution to operate.
Where the incumbent President is re-elected, the Advisory Council will be constituted by the President who will select two persons in addition to the Speaker of Parliament.
The new law also empowers the Administrator-General to evict by order of a Court a person in occupation of government premises.
The Minister responsible for Justice is given power to make Regulations for the effective implementation of the Act.
When Act 845 was first implemented, some challenges were experienced. Arguments were advanced to the effect that, even though Act 845 makes provision in section 1 for the transfer of power to an incumbent President re-elected for a second term, it appears vague in some respects and needs elaboration.
In the case where an incumbent is re-elected, Act 845 simply states that the President shall designate members of the Transition Team. A limit was not set on the size of the Transition Team.
Furthermore, Act 845 did not make provision for the tenure for the tenure of office of the Transition Team.
Sections 11 and 12 of Act 845 which deals with the issue of the swearing of members Parliament and the election of the Speaker forty-eight hours before the inauguration of the President were overlooked and not operationalized in the last presidential inauguration in January, 2013.
Also, Act 845 provided for the appointment of an Administrator-General to be responsible for the management of the estate, assets as well as the transition process. The Administrator-General was not visible in the transition process. Moreover, Act 845 saddles the office of the Administrator-General with a range of duties but does not empower the office to deal with possible breaches.
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