Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday May 29, 2018
New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Sekondi in the Western Region, Andrew A. Mercer, has claimed that former President John Dramani Mahama is constitutionally barred from coming back to contest for the presidency.
The contention of the MP, who is a lawyer by profession, is likely to trigger a further debate as to whether the former president can contest again; but Mr. Mercer insists that the 1992 Constitution is clear on what Mr. Mahama can do in the circumstance.
Lawyer Mercer insisted that any such move by Mr. Mahama could be fraught with legal challenges as the constitution is clear on his eligibility as a former president, insisting that his interpretation of the constitution is that the former head of state does not have a chance of returning to the presidency.
“My understanding of Article 66 and 68 is that he’s barred from ever contesting the presidency again, but when you raise that conversation they are quick to say that you’re afraid of them; but these are express words of the constitution,” he told Starr FM in Accra last Thursday.
“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, the two terms is a continuous term,” he explained, adding, “When you leave office your benefits that are not varied until you die are there in the constitution.
Mr Mercer said, “it’s clear under 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 20 years if he so desires and come back to continue. In this case he’s coming back after four years. For me I say he has no right to contest.”
Former President Mahama, after being humiliated at the polls on December 7, 2016, announced last week via Facebook that he was lacing his boots to contest again; but his comeback attempt is even starting another round of ‘serious infighting’ in the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He had posted that he has ‘listened’ to the numerous ‘calls’ of the rank and file of the NDC and has accepted them and was ready to lead the party into another election in 2020.
Other NDC chieftains who have declared their intention to challenge Mr. Mahama are second deputy speaker of parliament, Alban Bagbin; former NHIS boss, Sylvester Mensah; former Trade and Industry Minister, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah; former UPSA Rector, Joshua Alabi and Kweku Rickett Hagan, former Central Regional minister.
Although he is the main contender to beat in the yet-to-be organized NDC primary to select a flag bearer for the 2020 presidential election, some of Mr. Mahama’s opponents within his own party are having issues with him over the declaration.
Mr Alabi for instance, has said among other things, that it would be too dangerous for the NDC delegates to give Mr. Mahama the nod for 2020 because in his view, he (Mahama) is scandal-prone and has corruption tag on him.
Former Consul to Dubai, Daniel Osei, who has become a thorn in the flesh of Mr. Mahama, says it will be a disaster for the NDC to allow the former president to lead the party again as its flag bearer for the 2020 election.
Nii Amasah Namoale, former NDC MP, La Dadekotopon, insists that the opposition party cannot win the 2020 election with Mr Mahama as its standard bearer.