The 2020 presidential candidate for the All People’s Congress (APC), Dr. Hassan Ayariga, has called for a constitutional amendment that would place an age limit on the presidency.
The proposed amendment, he argued, must strictly debar persons who were 70 years and above from contesting as either independent or as elected candidates for any political party in the country.
Speaking to The Chronicle, Dr. Ayariga described as worrisome the decision of the framers of the Constitution not to put a ceiling to the age limit at which one could become a president.
He said: “There’s a retirement age for public workers and civil servants, but what happens to the retirement age of the President? The Constitution is silence on this, and it’s high time we amended it.”
According to him, it was common knowledge that at the age of 70 “a lot of people begin to lose energy, strength, health, and all that as a result of old age.”
Therefore, he said: “You cannot entrust the most difficult work in the country, which is the Presidency, to a retired old person who sometimes finds it difficult to memorise the names of his children.”
“Over the years, we can find out from available literature that most of the presidents across the world who come into office at the age of 70 have all not been able to perform to the expectations of the people,” he alleged.
He, therefore, indicated that: “We need young people who are energetic, strong, visionary, dedicated, competent, and have the tenacity and strength to bring about transformational leadership that would steer the country into prosperity.”
“I am not saying that the age limit should be 70, but my point is that, before one could contest, one must be, at most, 65 years, so that by the time one ends the first term, he or she will be 69,” he explained.
“There are a lot of great people within the age bracket of 40 to 65 who can be vibrant presidents and help this nation’s progress but not retired old men”
Those above 70 years, he said, could best be given positions as members of the council of state but must strictly be debarred from contesting elections to become presidents.
“Nana Akufo-Addo who is 77 years of age has also joined the lists of aged president who have failed. We all know that he has failed.
Look at the presidents in Africa who are 70 years and above and you will agree with me that they always sleep whenever they attend conferences and other international programmes,” he asserted
The framers of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which ushered the country into the fourth republic, indicated that at least one must be forty years before one could qualify to be elected as a president.
However, the same constitution did not make any distinctive clarification regarding the maximum age at which one could not be eligible to be elected as a president.
In the views of Dr. Ayariga, the work of the president was quite strenuous and stressful which must not be put at the mercy of those who have attained 70 years of age hence his call for the amendment of the constitution.