Samens Goes To Court To Restrain Speaker

The Chief Executive Officer of Citi FM, an Accra-based radio station, Mr Samuel Attah-Mensah also known as Samens, has filed a writ at the Supreme Court asking for an order to restrain the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, from holding himself out as President of Ghana without complying with the relevant constitutional provisions. He is also asking the court for a declaration based on the interpretation of clauses 11 and 12 of Article 60 of the Constitution of Ghana, that it is mandatory for the Speaker of Parliament to always subscribe to the Presidential Oath before performing the functions of the President when the President and his Vice are unable to perform their functions. Joined to the action is the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. Illegality committed A statement of claim accompanying the writ said the action had become necessary because of the actions of Mr Adjaho, who, on November 6, 2014, purported to act as the President of Ghana without first taking and subscribing to the Presidential Oath. In refusing to take the oath, the statement said, Mr Adjaho told Members of Parliament (MP) that on Thursday, September 19, 2013 he assumed the functions of the President in accordance with the relevant constitutional provisions and subscribed to the oath. Mr Adjaho, according to the statement, said in consultation with the Chief Justice and the Chief Legislative Drafts person of the Attorney-General’s Department, in the morning of November 6, 2014 in his lobby, and after careful reading of the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the oath he took on September 19, 2013, arrived at the conclusion that it would not be necessary to subscribe to another Presidential Oath. “Honourable Members, accordingly, I have assumed the office. And Honourable Members, this matter is concluded on this note,” he said. Previous Oath When Mr Adjaho first took the Presidential Oath on September 19, 2013, he held, duly and properly assumed the office of the President for that specific absence of the President and the Vice. “It was on the condition and basis of that oath that the second defendant became the President of Ghana for that specific period of absence alone” and that “once the President or Vice-President returned to Ghana and assumed office, the specific oath that the second defendant took to become president for that specific period, lapsed and became spent and otiose”. The statement contends that his action is in line with constitutional provision which enjoined every citizen of Ghana to ensure that the constitutional order is not abolished or sought to be abolished. One of the avenues open to him, it averred, was to seek for an interpretation of the Constitution as to the meaning or the effect of a particular provision or provisions of the Constitution. Speaker acted in personal capacity The statement argued that Article 2 of the Constitution entitles a person to challenge any action that is inconsistent or in contravention of the Constitution and, therefore, where the person who is being challenged does not enjoy constitutional immunity from legal proceedings, nothing prevents legal action against such a person. The Speaker’s action, it said, was not a collective act or decision of Parliament but a personal or unilateral decision made by him in chambers and not on the floor of Parliament.