In the wake of President Akufo-Addo's recent refusals to approve certain bills, citing violations of Article 108 of the 1992 Constitution, Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, advocates for parliamentary recourse to the Supreme Court for a definitive interpretation of the contentious article.
The impetus for this call stems from the President's assertion that specific bills breach provisions of Article 108, prompting Sam George, also the lead sponsor of the controversial anti-LGBTQ Bill, to advocate for legal clarification on the limits of parliamentary authority.
“The resolution to this matter is for all of us to go to the Supreme Court. Parliament must go to the Supreme Court to seek interpretation of Article 108 and let the judges distinguish it for us,” stated Sam George, emphasizing the need for a nuanced understanding of Parliament's legislative prerogatives.
He clarified that this move towards the Supreme Court is for interpretative purposes, not a legal confrontation with the President.
The objective is to discern whether Parliament has the independent authority to enact legislation or if it is constrained by constitutional limitations.
Meanwhile, Francis Xavier Sosu, a key sponsor of the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023, expressed disappointment in the President's refusal to assent to the bill.
Hon. Sosu criticized the perceived prioritization of politics over the protection of human rights, particularly the rights of vulnerable women addressed in the bill.
“I think that he [President] is being misled or better still he is choosing politics over the protection of human rights. He is choosing politics over the protection of women's rights,” remarked Sosu.
President Akufo-Addo's refusal to sign bills into law, including the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023 and the Armed Forces Amendment Bill 2023, has triggered a growing debate about the constitutional boundaries delineating parliamentary and executive powers.
The Armed Forces Bill passed in July, seeks to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment, while the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023 aims to prohibit the labelling of individuals as witches, among other provisions.