He backed a recent comment by Speaker Alban Bagbin that a Supreme Court judge had averred that holder of the office of Speaker was the number two most powerful person by law followed by the Chief Justice, as leader of the judiciary.
Dafeamekpor made the comments when he appeared on Accra-based Joy News’ PM Express programme that aired on Thursday, November 25.
“I think he (Bagbin) is number two because in the scheme of things, we never voted for a Vice President so he is subservient to the President,” he submitted.
When asked whether the Speaker was voted into office, he responded: “The procedure for doing that (voting for a Speaker) is constitutionally determined, so that was a public, national election.”
In a follow up question that the Vice President was part of the President and the Presidency, he clarified: “Yes, attached but he can be sacked tomorrow, the president can dismiss him tomorrow, so Speaker is indeed number two. In fact, our attention was drawn to that by a Supreme Court judge.”
According to him, the unnamed Justice explained to a gathering that included Members of Parliament that to the extent that the governance structure comprised the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary in that order, their respective leaders must be ranked same.
“When you start from His Excellency the President, you have to go to the Vice before you come to the Speaker and then you go to the Chief Justice,” he said of the known hierarchy.
Then continued: “But we have three arms of government… my colleagues in the Supreme Court told me that actually, you are not number three, you are number two. All those who were present at that meeting were convinced when the Supreme Court judge made the submission and justified it.
“It is not me saying it. I have said I am number three but they said I am number two. The three arms of government – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary – are equal arms of government, and must be treated as such.
What the law says about presidential powers
Article 60(11) of the 1992 constitution reads: “Where the President and the 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.”
In the first term of the Akufo-Addo government, Speaker Mike Oquaye acted as President in the absence of Akufo-Addo and Bawumia, almost a year since the second term started, there hasn’t arisen the need for Bagbin to be handed presidential powers.
Retired Bagbin’s rise to Speakership
On January 7, 2021, as the current Parliament convened to elect a speaker, his name popped up as the preferred candidate by the main opposition National Democratic Congress as against the candidature of the then outgoing speaker, Aaron Mike Oquaye, of the governing New Patriotic Party.
After a rancorous voting process which involved shouting and hurling of invectives by Members of Parliament-elect, kicking of voting booths and snatching of ballot papers, not to talk of a military invasion of the chamber, Alban Bagbin was elected speaker.
Whiles the NDC insists he won the vote outright, the NPP said he was a consensus candidate between the two sides of the house. The NPP agreed to play ball because they had a presidential inauguration to attend, which event the Minority had said they will boycott. Read Full Story