The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, believes President Akufo-Addo has exceeded his powers in a recent visa waiver agreement with Jamaica.
Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa in a Facebook post Wednesday, said any such agreement must first be ratified by Parliament before it takes effect.
The President’s comment that the visa waiver with the Carribean country will take effect from July 1 which is barely two weeks away, is unacceptable to the opposition legislator.
In part of his post, Ablakwa said it is wrong for Akufo-Addo to speak as if the “Ghanaian Parliament is a mere rubber stamp ready to do his bidding by ratifying whatever agreement is presented to the House.”
He added that similar visa waiver agreements are currently going through the motions in Parliament.
It is, therefore “inappropriate, unconstitutional and indeed undermining of Parliament and the Judiciary for that matter, for our President to speak on the international stage in ways that suggest he is either usurping the authority of Parliament,” the North Tongu MP added.
We are all the wiser per the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Article 75 (2) of the 1992 Constitution in the Gitmo 2 case.
The apex court offered clarity in the instant case that all international agreements MUST be submitted to Parliament for ratification before they could come into effect.
So I am curious; why is President Akufo-Addo assuring the Jamaicans and of course Ghanaians that his negotiated visa waiver agreement with his Jamaican counterpart will come into effect from July 1st 2019 (some 12 days from today)? Does the President have that authority to so pronounce?
Regardless of all the controversial matters others have raised, my fundamental contention as Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee is that this Ghana-Jamaica Mutual Visa Waiver Agreement cannot come into effect without Parliamentary ratification.
It is therefore most inappropriate, unconstitutional and indeed undermining of Parliament and the Judiciary for that matter, for our President to speak on the international stage in ways that suggest he is either usurping the authority of Parliament or that the Ghanaian Parliament is a mere rubber stamp ready to do his bidding by ratifying whatever agreement is presented to the House, that is, if even the President intends to comply with Article 75 (2) in the first place.
I would not have taken issue with the President if he had said expressly that the Mutual Visa Waiver Agreement will come into effect subject to Parliamentary ratification and if he had refrained from timelines since Parliament is NOT and CANNOT be an extension of his office. With all due respect, such conduct affronts constitutionalism and fails to market the beauty of Ghanaian democracy in the global arena.
Perhaps, it is worth reminding His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo that similar Mutual Waiver of Visa Agreements for Diplomatic and Service Passport holders with the Republics of Colombia, Hungary, India and Chile signed several months ago – some under His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, are still going through the motions in Parliament as page 11 of the Agenda for the Second Meeting of Parliament Commencing Tuesday, 28th May, 2019 reveals.
Long live Ghana-Jamaica relations!
Samuel Okudzeto AblakwaMP, North TonguRanking Member, Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.