Ghana Parliament successfully passes Presidential Transition Amendment Bill 2016

Parliament yesterday gave a boost to moves to ensure an effective and smooth presidential transition with the passage of the Presidential (Transition) (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

It amended the Presidential (Transition) Act 2012 (Act 845), which had loopholes regarding presidential transition.

The Presidential (Transition) (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was presented to Parliament and read the first time on March 8, 2016, and the Speaker of Parliament consequently referred the Bill to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report.

After its deliberations, the committee recommended to the House to pass the bill.

Transition team

The Presidential (Transition) (Amendment) Bill, 2016 Act provides for the constitution of a transition team, within 24 hours after the declaration of the results of the presidential election, in accordance with Article 63 of the Constitution.

It makes provision for the membership of the transition team in a situation where the incumbent is elected as President, as well as in an instance where a new person is elected as President.

The Act limits the tenure of the transition team to within eight weeks after the election of the President.

Swearing-in of MPs

Per the Act, the swearing-in of Members of Parliament (MPs) and the election of Speaker of Parliament should be done within 12 hours before the inauguration of the President.

The Minister of Justice is given the power under the Act to make regulations for effective implementation of the Act. 

The regulations are to prescribe the form of handover notes for the implementation of the Act.

Eviction

The Act empowers the Administrator-General to evict a person in occupation of an official residence in a situation where the person ceases to hold office on the assumption of office of a newly elected President and that person refuses to vacate the residence within three months after ceasing to hold office.

Observation

Presenting the report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs at the last meeting of Parliament, the committee’s Chairman, Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey, said the Presidential (Transition) Act 2012 (Act 845) was enacted as a legal blueprint to guide presidential transitions in the country and forestall confrontations that might be associated with transitions.

However, he said, it had been noted that there were lapses in the law which needed to be addressed in order to have smooth transitions.

Mr Amoatey said the committee expected that  the passage of the Presidential (Transition) (Amendment) Bill, 2016 would allow for effective implementation of the law as a way of removing the lapses experienced in the implementation of the Act.

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