June 14, 2024
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Parliament considers suing Akufo-Addo over non-signing of Witchcraft, Armed Forces bills

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has revealed the House’s intention to seek legal clarification regarding President Akufo-Addo’s refusal to sign certain Witchcraft and Ghana Armed Forces Bills.

Mr Bagbin insisted that the authority to assess the misuse of discretion lies exclusively with the Judiciary, not the Executive led by the President.

In an official response to the president’s decision not to give assent to the bills, the Speaker of Parliament asserted that President Akufo-Addo’s actions were unconstitutional and would be contested in the Supreme Court.

The former Nadowli Kaleo Member of Parliament urged President Akufo-Addo to refrain from such actions as they bring discredit upon him.

“The determination of any unconstitutionality is the sole purview of the Supreme Court, not the President. Hence, if there were concerns about Parliament acting beyond its constitutional authority, i.e., acting ultra vires, the appropriate course of action would be an action before the Supreme Court, not an executive declaration of unconstitutionality.”

“Again, the constitutional discretion vested in the presiding officer of Parliament, as per Article 108 and subject to Article 296, suggests that any allegations of misuse of this discretion should be contested in a court of competent jurisdiction, rather than being pre-emptively adjudicated upon by the President.”

Last year, President Akufo-Addo declined to sign the Criminal Offences Bill of 2022, the Witchcraft Bill, and the Armed Forces Bill of 2023.

The President attributed his refusal to assent to the bills to their financial implications.

In particular, President Akufo-Addo pointed to the financial burdens associated with replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment in the Ghana Armed Forces Amendment Bill, sponsored by MP Francis Xavier Sosu.

The Speaker of Parliament is strongly challenging this decision.

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