Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak says former President John Mahama’s eligibility to contest the 2020 presidential election cannot be questioned on any ground.
Though Ghana’s constitution guarantees a two four-year terms as president, some have argued Mahama who lost the 2016 election to become an ex-president, cannot contest again in the next elections.
“The man has left office as President, the constitution doesn’t say that when you leave office after one term or two terms you have a right to contest twice and my interpretation of those provisions is that, that two terms is a continuous term,” legal practitioner Andrew Agyapa Mercer contended.
He added: “When you leave office your benefits that are not varied until you die are there in the constitution, it’s clear Article 68 but they say the constitution gives him two terms, he’s done one so he’ll go and chop all the benefits for twenty years if he so desires and come back to come to continue. In this case, he’s coming back after 4 years, for me, I say he’s no right to contest”.
In view of this, the Director of European Studies at the University of Ghana, Prof. Ransford Gyampo, advised Mahama to seek legal interpretation of his eligibility before contesting National Democratic Congress’ December 7 primaries.
But responding to the issues on Sunrise morning show on 3FM Thursday, Dr. Apaak disagreed with the emerging opinions, stating that the issue of his eligibility or otherwise does not suffice, saying “It is very clear that the former president cannot be ineligible on any grounds”.
He argued ex-president Mahama cannot be said to have done two terms, noting he first became president by virtue of the death of Prof. John Atta Mills.
“President John Dramani Mahama was not elected to complete tenure of office and therefore nobody can make a case against him against his eligibility. It is not his doing that the constitution gave him the right to finish the uncompleted tenure of his boss,” he told host Winston Amoah.
He said he does not agree with Prof. Gyampo’s comment that there is a grey area in the constitution with regards to allowing John Mahama contest again.
“There is no grey area in the constitution. The constitution is very, very clear on the conditions that could have or may have prevented His Excellency, the former president form contesting,” he said.
The former presidential staffer said the conditions in the constitution are very clear with regards to who can or cannot contest.
“I want to make reference to Article 66, (2). A person shall not be elected to hold office as President of Ghana for more than two terms and Article 60, (7) Where the unexpired term served by the Vice President of this article exceeds have the term of a President the Vice President subsequently only eligible to serve one full term) and 8 conditions are very clear,” he indicated.
For Dr. Apaak, anyone who takes the issue to court will be wasting the time of the Supreme Court, and a waste of the tax payers’ money.
By Helena Charway| 3news| Ghana