HomePoliticsParliamentAnti-LGBTQ+Bill: Akufo-Addo playing tricks on us – MP

Anti-LGBTQ+Bill: Akufo-Addo playing tricks on us – MP

-

A co-sponsor of the anti-LGBTQI+ bill, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, believes President Akufo-Addo is toying with constitutional requirements as far as the power vested in him to assent to the bill is concerned.

The Member of Parliament representing the South Dayi constituency in the Volta Region is not the least enthused about the President’s stance on the bill after its passage by parliament.

President Akufo-Addo has reassured the international community of Ghana’s commitment to upholding human rights despite the passage of the bill.

Addressing concerns during a diplomatic engagement on March 4, the President emphasised that Ghana remains steadfast in its long-standing reputation for respecting human rights and adherence to the rule of law.

He clarified that the Bill is facing a legal challenge at the Supreme Court and that until a decision is arrived at, no action would be taken by his government on the private Member’s bill.

But speaking on Joy News’ PM Express on Tuesday, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor said “Constitutionally, the President is being reckless” with his handling of the bill.

According to him, the constitution empowers the President to propose the necessary amendments to the bill or reject it outright if he’s entirely against it, but he’s rather planning on delaying its passage with flimsy excuses.

“I think the President is being constitutionally reckless in the sense that, there’s a presumption of regularity of the performance of the President until a court pronounces otherwise. That is why even when the president’s election into office is challenged, all the actions that he would undertake are presumed to be regular and constitutional until he’s removed by a court of law, which is the Supreme Court.”

So, this is the provision in the Constitution. When you decide to veto a bill, there’s a procedure under Article 106 (8) for you to follow. Let me cite two examples. We’ve passed three private member’s bills in parliament and remitted them to the office of the President. The president has refused to assent to them, kept the bills and recently in December wrote a long memo to the Speaker of Parliament which is in breach of the 14-day time limit.”

The MP further explained that “where the President refuses to assent to a bill, he shall within 14 days after the refusal, (a) state in a memorandum to the Speaker any specific provisions of the bill which in his opinion should be reconsidered by parliament including his recommendations for amendment if any, or (b) inform the Speaker that he has referred the bill to the Council of State for consideration and comments under Article 90 of this constitution.”

He said per this reading of the law, the President has no business under the law to keep the bill, something he suspects the President might do when the bill is forwarded to him based on his preliminary comments and precedence with other private members’ bills.

“Where you have a strong disposition to not assenting to a bill, it is not your business under law to keep it. Perhaps, your reservation about the bill is in respect of some provisions or the entire bill; just say so to Parliament.

“Now, if parliament finally remits this bill to the office of the President, he’s going to detain it until maybe two or three years when the Supreme Court makes a determination in the matter. Parliament will not be able to proceed as determined under Article 106 which says where the President remits in terms of the bill back to parliament with explanatory amendments and all that, parliament is mandated to refer that back to a committee to consider, return to the house and then it will be considered and approved by a two-thirds majority, and when that is done, it is remitted to the office of the President for his assent without hesitation.

According to Mr Dafeamekpor, if the President doesn’t respond to the bill with a definite position when it is finally presented to him, parliament cannot go ahead to take any further action.

“What are you going to act on? Because there’s no memo from the President saying that I have refused assent or not. So he’s holding everybody to ransom and that’s not the rule of law. And you can’t have an executive President acting this way” he fumed.

When the host of the show reminded him that his analysis was merely hypothetical since the President has not specifically stated a refusal to approve the bill, the South Dayi MP retorted, “It is not hypothetical. I have given you an example that the President breached Article 106 (8) when between August and December he decided to withhold a bill that he was supposed to have remitted and responded to within 14 days, he returned it after six months. That’s even a matter that I am contemplating suing. We can’t allow the President to do that. He’s playing tricks with everybody whimsically. He has no regard for the constitution.

On Tuesday, March 5, a journalist cum lawyer, Richard Dela Sky filed a lawsuit against Parliament at the Supreme Court regarding the passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

The reliefs sought by the journalist include an order restraining President Akufo-Addo from assenting to the bill and also preventing the “Speaker of Parliament and the Clerk to Parliament from presenting ‘The Human and Sexual Values Bill, 2024’ to the President of the Republic for his assent.”

Already, a lawsuit against the anti-LGBTQ bill (Amanda Odoi vs. Speaker & Attorney General) has been pending at the Supreme Court since June 2023, and now awaiting adjudication on the merits.

The court, which heard the application for an interlocutory injunction asked the plaintiff to wait for the legislative process to conclude.

ALSO READ:

Extra! Extra!

Get adomonline.com news delivered right to your inbox.



We will never share your email or spam you.