Nothing wrong with Mahama’s travels – Kwadwo Mpiani

Kwadwo MpianiA former Chief of staff in the Kufuor administration, Kwadwo Mpiani has defended President John Mahama’s frequent travels.

Mpiani told Accra-based Citi FM Friday that if work requires that the President travels, then he must travel.

He said he did not believe that the President would just get up and be traveling for its sake.

Mahama has come under a lot of flak for his recent travels. He is currently on an official visit to the Vatican.

Before this latest trip, he had been to Burkina Faso Wednesday as ECOWAS Chair to help resolve the political turmoil in Ghana’s northern neighbour following the ousting of President Blaise Campaore by a people’s uprising.

He returned home shortly and then took off to Nigeria Friday and then headed for the Vatican.

All these travels come on the heels of an earlier two week sojourn to the UK, Denmark and Norway.

Opposition Legislator, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh weeks ago accused the President of being a “visiting president” in his own country.

Mpiani, however, said the President Mahama’s trips, just as the much-criticised trips of former President Kufuor, were not unnecessary travels, which should attract such uproar.

While on his Burkina Faso and Nigeria trips, Mahama’s Deputy, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur was also on an official trip to Nigeria.

The Speaker of Parliament acted in his stead without being sworn in. He argued that an earlier swearing in ceremony in September last year still held sway.

According Article 60 (11) of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution: “Where the President and the Vice-President are both unable to perform the functions of the President, the Speaker of Parliament shall perform those functions until the President or the Vice-President is able to perform those functions or a new President assumes office, as the case may be.”

Also Article 60(12) of the Constitution states that: “The Speaker shall, before commencing to perform the functions of the President under clause (11) of this article, take and subscribe the oath set out in relation to the office of the President.”

Some Lawyers, including Kwame Akuffo and Prof S Kwaku Asare, have accused the Speaker of treason by not subscribing to the presidential oath of office and yet acted as president.

However, a former president of the Ghana Bar Association, Sam Okudzeto, has argued that once the Speaker was once sworn in as acting president last year, he need not be sworn in again at a different time since the first swearing in gave him the “power of attorney” to act as president anytime that both the President and his Deputy are not around.

Okudzeto also rubbished claims of treason leveled against Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho.

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