Managing Editor of the Searchlight newspaper, Ken Kuranchie, believes he has found a clause in the Constitution that explicitly bars former President John Mahama from contesting again as President unless Parliament permits him.
He refers to Article 68 (2) of the 1992 Constitution which states: “The President shall not, on leaving office as President, hold any office of profit or emolument, except with the permission of Parliament, in any establishment, either directly or indirectly, other than that of the State.”
Speaking on Thursday evening on MultiTV’s current affairs programme, PM Express, Mr Kuranchie said the day Mr Mahama left office as President, the Constitution subsumed him under the ownership of Parliament.
John Mahama, in his opinion, cannot take any action concerning emoluments — including contesting for President of Ghana again — without seeking Parliament’s permission first.
“Once you become a former President, you fall under the control of Parliament. They [Parliament] might not know it, they might know it but have decided not to apply this particular clause for whatever reason. But the fact of the matter is that former Presidents in Ghana belong to Parliament.
“Between twelve midnight of 6th January 2013 and the morning when the next President was sworn-in — when Mahama left office — he became a creature that was owned by the Parliament of this country,” he said.
He thinks Parliament has failed to act according to the provision in the Constitution because since Mr Mahama left office, he has obtained some allowances or stipends in his numerous travels to monitor elections or represent international bodies for humanitarian causes.
Former President Mahama on August 23, 2018, announced his intention to contest for the upcoming presidential primaries to lead the party in the 2020 general elections.
A letter to that effect was presented on his behalf by a delegation led by Ghana’s former US Ambassador Daniel Ohene Agyekum.
Since then, there have been suggestions he may not be eligible to contest as President.
Director of European Studies (CES) at the University of Ghana, Prof. Ransford Gyampo, recently advised Mr Mahama to seek legal clarification on his eligibility before contesting for the party’s upcoming presidential primaries slated for December 7, 2018.
Former President Mahama lost power after serving his first four-year term.
Although the Constitution allows a President to stay in power for two four-year terms if he is elected after each term, many have said the law may not allow Mr Mahama to contest again.