By Stephen Odoi-Larbi
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Joyce Bamford-Addo, was yesterday, sworn in as the Acting President of the Republic of Ghana, following the absence of President John Evans Mills and his Vice, John Dramani Mahama, who are attending to national duties outside the country.
It is the second time in less than two months that the Speaker has assumed the number one executive position of the country, the first being October 1, 2010, which lasted for about five hours.
Her new position takes effect this morning (October 10, 2010), after 7:00 a.m. when President Mills would have left the country for a state visit to Nigeria.
John Dramani Mahama, on the other hand, left the country on Monday for investment forum in the Czech Republic, aimed at facilitating the flow of investment and business entrepreneurs from both countries.
He is scheduled to return home on Sunday, November 14, 2010. The Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, administered the oath.
Rt. Hon Joyce Bamford-Addo’s new position is in line with Article 60 (8), (11) and (12) of the Constitution.
Article 60 clause (8) states that: ‘Whenever the President is absent from Ghana or is for any other reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Vice-President shall perform the functions of the President until the President returns or is able to perform his functions.
(11) Where the President and Vice-President are both unable to perform the functions of the president, the Speaker of Parliament shall perform those functions until the President or the Vice-President is able to perform those functions or a new President assumes office as the case may be.
(12) The Speaker shall before commencing to perform the functions of the president under clause (11) of this Article, take and subscribe the oath set out in relation to the office of President.’
However, the Minority in Parliament, led by its leader, Mr. Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, questioned the rational for the hasty swearing in of the Speaker.
He argued that it was not proper to swear in the Speaker whilst the sitting President, John Evans Atta Mills, was still in the country.
According to him, the ideal situation was to wait for the sitting President to leave the shores of the country.
Mr. Mensah-Bonsu also raised concerns about the oath administered.
He however, congratulated the Speaker on her new position, but said his congratulations should be upheld until 7:00 a.m. today.