President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo will not continue to wield power as the Commander in Chief and first gentleman of the land even if the Electoral Commission (EC) is unable to conduct the 2020 presidential and parliament elections due to the outbreak of the global pandemic, the Coronavirus, Majority Leader of Parliament has disclosed.
While addressing members of the House after presenting the business statement, Mr Kyei–Mensah-Bonsu intimated that, although there was no clear cut provision in the constitution on who becomes president in the event of unforeseen circumstances causing the EC to not hold elections, Nana Akufo-Addo had already hinted of not staying on beyond his mandatory term.
He disclosed that the president had revealed in previous engagements that he did not have any intentions of staying on as president after January 6, 2021, if the EC fails to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in December due to the Coronavirus which presently has no end in sight.
“The President does not intend to stay one day beyond the constitutional mandate given to him up to the midnight of January 6, 2020, and has strongly urged that whatever must be done in the current circumstances must be done,” he said.
The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs response came on the back of concerns by Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu on the need for the House to invite the electoral body to provide updates on their preparedness ahead of the December polls this year.
“The independent EC, created under Article 45 of the Constitution, owes members of this House and Ghanaians a duty, hence they must be summoned to appear before the House to give their roadmap as to their preparedness in view of COVID-19.
“Our democracy has evolved and our democracy will survive COVID-19,” he said, saying that “if we cannot get them to come and brief the Committee of the Whole at least they must come to the Special Budget Committee,” he noted.
Mr Kyei Mensah Bonsu, however, stressed that regardless of whatever happens with the EC, the president was bent on stepping down once his tenure was over and had already assured Ghanaians to that effect.
“So Mr Speaker, we all have to look up to the Electoral Commission to put in the required measures for the conduct of the elections,” he said.
“Because the Constitution we all do recognise is a bit ambivalent beyond January 7, 2021 when elections cannot be conducted,” he said, claiming that the Constitution was also not clear who should be the President in times of unforeseen circumstances.
“There is a bit of ambivalence and some lacuna except to say that for Parliament in the event of any emergency, provision is made expressly under the Constitution to have the life of Parliament extended by one year and in any event not more than four years.
“In the 12 months, who becomes the head of state? Is it Speaker in the absence of the President or the Vice President? That is a bit troubling to us as a nation,” he added.
Graphic reports that the legislator pointed out that in any event, the Constitution provided that when the Speaker acted as the President in the absence of a President or a Vice President, elections must be conducted within three months to elect a President.