Seek advice on eligibility to contest 2020 polls – Prof Gyampo advises Mahama
Former President John Dramani Mahama has been advised to legally interrogate his eligibility to contest for President in 2020.
According to the Director of European Studies (CES) at the University of Ghana, Prof. Ransford Gyampo, it will even be best for the former President to seek the legal clarification before contesting for the party’s upcoming presidential primaries slated for December 7, 2018.
Prof. Gyampo was speaking Monday on Adom FM’s flagship programme, Burning Issues, hosted by Afia Pokua on back of former President Mahama’s intention to contest for the upcoming NDC’s presidential primaries.
“The former President or lawyers around him should seek interpretations from the [Supreme Court] as stipulated in Article 66 of the 1992 Constitution on his eligibility to contest the upcoming 2020 general elections,” Prof. Gyampo urged.
Prof. Gyampo said the opposition NDC may face severe challenges if former President Mahama is elected as a presidential candidate after the primaries only for the Supreme Court to rule against his candidature.
President Mahama lost power after serving his first four-year term.
Although the Constitution allows a President to stay in power for two four-year terms if he is elected after each term, many have said the law may not allow Mr Mahama to contest again.
A legal practitioner and MP for Sekondi, Andrew Agyapa Mercer, for instance, believes the Constitution is clear on Mr Mahama’s ineligibility to contest in 2020.
“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, that two terms is a continuous term. When you leave office your benefits that are not varied until you die are there in the constitution, it’s clear 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 twenty years if he so desires and come back to come to continue. In this case, he’s coming back after 4 years, for me, I say he’s no right to contest," he said recently.
Former President Mahama on August 23, 2018, announced his intention to contest for the upcoming presidential primaries to lead the party in the 2020 general elections.
A letter to that effect was presented on his behalf by a delegation led by Ghana’s former US Ambassador Daniel Ohene Agyekum.
Commenting on his chances ahead of the primaries, Prof. Gyampo said the former President should move beyond his popularity within the NDC party to attract more voters.
So far a total of eleven members of the opposition NDC are expected to contest in the party's presidential primaries.
They include former President John Dramani Mahama, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Bagbin, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah, Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah; a former Trade and Industry Minister; Former Vice Chancellor of the University for Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Prof. Joshua Alabi, and the Cape Coast South MP, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan.
The rest are Goosie Tanoh, Stephen Atubiga, member of NDC communications team; Elipklim Agbemava, a lawyer; David Doste Kwame Kuwadah; and a banker and oil and gas consultant, Nurideen Iddrisu