The former political science lecturer gets to put possibly a glossy finish on a political career that saw him become an MP, a Speaker of Parliament and now President even if it would be for 48 hours.
MPs have responded to a tax-payer funded recall to make Rt. Hon Speaker Prof. Mike Oquaye, ag. President as Nana Akufo-Addo leaves the country Sunday for Liberia.
He will attend the swearing-in ceremony of footballer turned president George Oppong Weah which comes of Monday 22, 2018. He is expected to return on Tuesday 23rd January 2018.
His vice-president, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is in the UK on medical leave after he was reported to have been unwell last Friday.
Article 60(11) of the Constitution of the 1992 constitution appoints the Speaker as the next in line to fill a political vacuum.
It is a vacuum which Ghanaians have learnt the hard way that it can be dangerous grounds for coup d’etat.
So the 1992 constitution leaves no stone unturned on who does what when the President or his Vice are both not in town.
It is the Speaker of Parliament who acts and if he is unable, the Chief Justice ‘enjoys’ the honour.
The 275 MPs are expected to honour the recall to do a 10-minute exercise that sticks the taxpayer with a hefty price tag of constitutionalism and democracy.
MPs leave the chamber and climb into V8s as they exit the premises.
4:20pm: In a voice vote, those against the adjournment of the sitting shout louder than those for it. But the Speaker is clear that the majority favour an adjournment. The Mps laugh at their own ‘mischief’.
4:15pm: Majority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu joins Haruna Iddrisu to agree on the need to re-examine the provision that makes this process even necessary. He teased the Speaker saying he once tried to be president in 2007 and failed in the NPP presidential primaries.
Well, 11 years later, he gets his chance for 48 hours.
4:07pm: He congratulates Prof. Mike Oquaye and reminds him he is Commander-In-Chief. He wishes lightly that the ag. President can do the reshuffle before Akufo-Addo comes. He also wishes Dr. Bawumia speedy recovery and expresses displeasure in government communicators over the matter.
4:00pm: Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu resurrects a settled constitutional debate about the need to swear in an ag. President simply because the President is out of the country and therefore “is unable to perform his functions” as the constitution puts it.
3:58pm: The Oath is done. Prof. Mike Oquaye acts as President. He did not have to stand for elections. This is a fast route to the Flagstaff House. No acrimonious campaign just a little constitutional deed.
3:55pm: The CJ Sophia Akuffo administer the Oath of Allegiance and later the Presidential Oath. She reads. The Speaker repeats. His repetition is replete with a flawless waxing of the English language. The stress on words like ‘swear’, ‘So help me God’ and the intonations is vintage Prof. Oquaye.
3:50pm: Speaker vacates seat to allow his Deputy Joe Osei Owusu to take charge of sitting. The Speaker walks out and comes back without his elaborate gown. He wouldn’t mind. He is about to get elaborate powers even if he wouldn’t use it much.
3:45pm: Prayers are read. He reads a notice from the presidency in accordance to Article 59 of the 1992 constitution. It informs Parliament of the President’s travel to Liberia.
3:42pm: Rt.Hon Speaker Prof Mike Oquaye limps in as MPs hail and ‘tease’ “Your Excellency”.
3:30pm: The MPs bond with their phones to while away the time.
3:10pm: Parliament’s Goliath Henry Quartey who is Ayawaso Central MP walks in and suddenly the chamber’s big doors look dwarfish and in need of expansion.
2:50pm: There will be no worries about a quorum. More than a 100 MPs are in the chamber. Some appear to have come from church. Minority leader stomps into the chamber and immediately joins in the pockets of conversation littered all over the chamber.
2:25pm: More MPs troop in. Akoto Osei, Inusah Fusieni, Oko Vanderpuye, Dan Botwe, Isaac Asiamah. Osafo Maafo is in an extremely colourful kente looking regal if not almost – presidential.
2:15pm: Parliament’s chamber is a building of echoes as few MPs are seated chatting as their voices rebound against the wall. There are at least 20 MPs in the House.
Standing Order 48, says the House needs about a third of MPs before it could consider any issue which means at least 92 MPs.
Expected time of proceedings is only 15 minutes away.