Council of State: Speaker Bagbin expresses disappointment in Akufo-Addo’s lack of consultation

The Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Alban S.K. Bagbin has expressed disappointment that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo did not consult Parliament prior to the release of appointees nominated for the Council of State which require consultation with Parliament.

This follows the publication of some names for appointments unto the Council of State by the Acting Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, listing the names of appointees to the Council.

Arhin, in a statement among other things said the President, subject to consultation with Parliament, has also appointed, in accordance with Article 89(2)(a)(i)(ii) and (iii), Georgina Theodora Wood, a former Chief Justice, Lt. Gen. J.B. Danquah, a former Chief of Defence Staff of the Armed Forces, and Nana Owusu Nsiah, a former Inspector-General of Police, to the Council.

The Speaker noted that this development constitutes a breach of Article 89(2) of the 1992 Constitution and in that regard announced that a message will be conveyed to the Office of the President for the appropriate thing to be done.

The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu before the commencement of public business on Tuesday February 02, 2021 indicated that the statement from the Communication Directorate was in contravention of the Constitution as no such consultations had been done with Parliament.

He expressed concerns about the President’s failure to first notify the Speaker and also consult Parliament on these appointments specified in by Article 89(2)(a)(i)(ii) and (iii) of the 1992 Constitution of a former Chief Justice, a former Chief of Defence Staff and a former Inspector-General of Police (IGP).

The Tamale South lawmaker stressed that Article 89(2) requires that these category of members of the Council must be appointed by the President in consultation with Parliament adding that appointments of this nature is a shared responsibility between the executive and legislative arms of government.

He said the Presidency must respect the institution of Parliament headed by the Speaker for such communications to formally come from the Speaker as official correspondence because the Council of State has a role to counsel the President and MPs should know those who are counselling him so that they can assess whether they will be giving him good or bad advice.

He implored the President’s handlers to know that before they go to the media on matters which require consultation with Parliament the Rt. Hon Speaker is officially notified since, according to him, the purpose of the House is to know the important decisions the President is taking so that the President can work with Parliament as an arm of government.

The MP for Okaikoi Central Patrick Boamah in defence of the Presidency said the rules of the House as stipulated in Order 51 of the Standing Orders are clear that communications to the Speaker from the President to the House are made by written message signed by the President or in his absence by the Vice-President or a minister acting by command of the President.

However, the Speaker ruled that the concern of the Minority Leader was with Article 89(2) which requires the appointment by the President in consultation with Parliament a former Chief Justice, a former Chief of Defence Staff of the Armed Forces of Ghana (iii) and a former Inspector-General of Police.

He said he had not received any communication from the President in this respect neither verbal nor written, formal nor informal and that the Minority Leader was right in drawing the attention of the House to this constitutional infraction.

The former Nadowli Kaleo lawmaker pointed out that the publication with regard to 89(2)(b) was in the right direction but with 89(2)(a) the office of the President got it wrong and therefore directed that the anomaly be communicated to the office of the President for the proper thing be done.

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