The Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) says the decision by the Speaker of Parliament to declare the Fomena seat vacant in the House exposes serious gaps in the 1992 Constitution.
Executive Director of ACEPA, Dr. Rasheed Dramani, maintains that the precedent set by the ruling from the Speaker could be exploited by political parties to determine the status of MPs to the detriment of their constituents.
The Speaker of Parliament, acting upon a request from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), declared the Fomena seat in the Ashanti Region vacant.
But Dr. Rasheed Dramani, who spoke to Citi News on the ruling, said although the Speaker did what was required of him based on the legal framework of Parliament, the decision could also have dire consequences on Ghana’s democracy in the medium to long term.
“I think the Speaker did the right thing. What he was simply doing was interpreting the constitution. He did what the constitution says under such circumstances. What this precedent seeks to do is the fact that we are being made to believe that a Member of Parliament is only for the interest of a political party in parliament. However, this precedent exposes some serious gaps in the constitution. And if those gaps are not quickly addressed, there will be wide-ranging implications for our democracy,” he said.
The former Member of Parliament for Fomena, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, lost in the party's primaries held in June 2020.
Unhappy with the turnout of the election, he filed as an independent candidate in the December polls.
On October 13th, 2020, the NPP wrote to the Speaker of Parliament to trigger the provisions of Article 97(1)g for the seat in the House to be declared vacant.
In response, the Speaker, on Saturday, November 7, 2020, ruled that the Fomena seat had become vacant in line with article 97 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.