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Akufo-Addo vs Alban Bagbin; The battle for supremacy

Akufo-Addo vs Alban Bagbin; The battle for supremacy

By Jeremiah Nutsugah

Supremacy denotes the pinnacle of authority, and within the domain of governance, the Supremacy of Parliament reigns as the epitome of sovereign power. It asserts that the legislative body holds absolute sovereignty, towering above all other governmental institutions, including the Executive and the judiciary.

Article 93(2) of the Ghanaian Constitution solidifies this doctrine, vesting legislative power exclusively in Parliament, which exercises its authority in accordance with constitutional provisions.

Parliament’s dominion encompasses the passage of bills, scrutiny of statutory instruments, and the weighty responsibility of deciding their fate.

Moreover, as the embodiment of the sovereign will of the Ghanaian people, Parliament wields oversight over the Executive branch. This oversight ensures that governmental actions align with the nation’s approved developmental agenda and that expenditures adhere to parliamentary authorizations.

Yet, recent events have thrust parliamentary supremacy into the spotlight amidst political turmoil. When Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia ascended within the NPP ranks, Speaker Alban Bagbin’s remarks in Parliament stirred controversy, labeling President Nana Akufo-Addo a “lame duck.”

President Akufo-Addo swiftly countered, asserting his presidential authority and refusing to yield to Speaker Bagbin’s characterization.

However on 18th March 2024 in letter from the Presidency to parliament, tensions escalated with Nana Bediatuo Asante, the President’s Secretary, urging Parliament to halt the transmission of a bill until Supreme Court matters were resolved.

In response, Speaker Bagbin suspended the approval of new ministers nominated by President Akufo-Addo, deepening the standoff over the delayed signing of an anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

Bagbin criticized the presidency’s stance as “contemptuous,” decrying its encroachment on parliamentary authority.

Meanwhile, domestically, support for the bill contrasts with international pressure urging caution. A legal challenge further complicates matters, questioning the bill’s passage based on parliamentary quorum during the vote.

Addressing Parliament, Tamale South MP Haruna Iddrisu accused the Office of the President of obstructing parliamentary duties, reflecting President Akufo-Addo’s “quest for predominance” over other state organs.

Opposition figures, including NDC Flagbearer John Dramani Mahama, condemned the presidency’s directive to Parliament, deeming it unlawful.

Amidst these clashes, both Majority and Minority factions in Parliament have taken stances, reflecting broader ideological divisions.

Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin expressed disappointment at Speaker Bagbin’s decision, while the Minority voiced support for the Speaker’s deferment of ministerial nominations pending Supreme Court rulings.

In this high-stakes political theater, both Akufo-Addo and Bagbin lay claim to constitutional fidelity, yet their clash epitomizes a power struggle with far-reaching implications.

As the nation watches, the delicate balance of power hangs in the balance, underscoring the enduring tension between executive authority and parliamentary supremacy.

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