US-based Ghanaian Accounting Professor and a respected voice on legal matters in Ghana has scolded lawyer and governance analyst, Dr. Eric Oduro Osae, for saying that Ghana’s constitution in its current form, cannot be said to be against former presidents who have served two terms already from putting themselves up again to be elected, MyNewsGh.com has filed.
Dr Osae who spoke on Citi FM is reported to have said that the immediate past president, John Dramani Mahama, who left office after serving just one term, is also eligible to serve two 4-year terms, contrary to popular understanding from the constitution that each President has a maximum of two 4-year terms.
Dr. Oduro Osae explained that John Mahama’s exit from office in 2016 nullifies his first term because the constitution suggests that a president is barred from contesting the high office after completing two straight 4-year terms. He suggested former Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor could be eligible to re-contest after 8 years elapsed since they served.
But Prof Azar in a message to Ghanaians sighted by MyNewsGh.com, believes that while he has learnt something new from the opinion of Dr Osae, his opinion was simply a lie.
“I learn something new everyday. Today, I learnt from Dr. Oduro Osae, who is the Dean of Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), that a break in the two terms renders the earlier term obsolete giving former Presidents the opportunity to restart the two terms all over.
While learning new things is clearly useful, let us keep in mind that not every new thing that we learn is true.
Da Yie!” he wrote.
For the avoidance of doubt, we hereby quote Dr Osae words:
“My understanding of Article 66 clause 2 of the constitution is that you will be able to serve two straight terms. One term is 4 years, so President Mahama served his first four-year term. Had he not left, President Mahama could have gone for another term. With that, Article 66 clause 2 would debar him from contesting again but because of the break, it gives him an opportunity to start another term. Assuming that he comes 2020 and he wins the election, he is starting a first term and if he continues and goes in again for 2024, he can go in for another term. What it means is that his first term has been written off,” he said.
“I also think that by the provision under Article 66 clause 2, it does not debar any of our former presidents from putting themselves up again to be elected as president after they have exhausted their first two terms,” he added.
But what does article 66 say?
Article 66 of the 1992 Constitution says:
(1) A person elected as President shall, subject to clause (3) of this article, hold office for a term of four years beginning from the date on which he is sworn in as President.
(2) A person shall not be elected to hold office as President of Ghana for more than two terms.