…1992 Constitution Places Complete Bar On Him & All Former Presidents!
Analyses by Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie, Editor at-Large
The 1992 Constitution has placed an absolute bar on all former Presidents of Ghana when it comes to how they can apply themselves after leaving office as President. They cannot occupy any office that offers a profit, or emolument, except with the express permission of Parliament.
The nature of the constitutional provision is of a nature as to constitute a complete bar, and it is becoming increasingly clear that if the former President continues in his attempt to stage a political comeback, he may need to overcome a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court for a clause that leaves very little room for interpretation.
Article 68 (2) of the 1992 Constitution states; “The President shall not, on leaving office as President, hold any office of profit or emolument, except with the permission of Parliament, in any establishment, either directly or indirectly, other than that of the State.”
The statement serves as an absolute bar on all former Presidents of Ghana, such as President Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama.
Former President John Dramani Mahama recently announced his intention to vie for a second time for the Presidency of Ghana. If he is to succeed in this exercise, however, he would need to overcome the hurdle posed by Article 68 (2) of the 1992 constitution.
Article 68 (2) sets forth a number of putatively unsurmountable hurdles that any former President seeking to occupy the Presidency for a second time would need to overcome. They are, first, whether the office the ex-president is seeking to occupy is an office that would offer him profit, and/or emolument. Is the office of Flag Bearer of a political party, or the Office of President an office that leads to profit and/or emolument? The clear and undisputable answer is yes.
For instance, can a former President of Ghana, who is a lawyer, like former President John Agyekum Kufuor, set up a firm to practice law, which would offer him profit and/or emolument?
The first part of article 68 (2) says that he cannot.
The second part, however, says that he may, if he is to procure the permission of parliament. It means that if former President Kufuor, for instance, were to make a good case why he should be given permission to set up a private business, parliament may give him that waiver. Breaking down article 68 (2) into three clear and discernible parts, and employing the first and second, it would mean that former President Mahama, if he would be able to overcome what is clearly an absolute bar on his future employment capacities, would need to acquire the permission of parliament. For now, he is clearly under the full control of the Parliament of Ghana, and until and unless he is able to procure the permission of Parliament, he cannot occupy any office that offers profit, and/or emolument.
The third part of Article 68 (2), that the former President would need to overcome, is whether his occupation as the flag bearer of a political party, a clearly partisan position that brings profit and emolument, can be described by any stretch of the imagination as being activity conducted on behalf of the State.
Can partisan political activity be described as activity that is being conducted on behalf of the state?
Without a shred of doubt, in the coming days, weeks and months, whether or not former President Mahama can vie for President in spite of Article 68 (2) is a matter that the Supreme Court of Ghana would be dilating on.
Views expressed in the article does not reflect the editorial policy of Prime News Ghana