President Akufo-Addo is considering declaring a state of emergency fin Ghana following recorded and confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, kasapafmonline.com has learnt.
The President has in effect, summoned the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, his two lieutenants, Hon. Joseph Osei Owusu (NPP MP for Bekwai) and Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin (NDC MP for Nadowli/Kaleo) as well as Leadership from both sides of the House to the Jubilee House, the seat of government, for talks.
The meeting which will be held on Monday, March 16, 2020, at 15:00 GMT will focus mostly on the spread of the coronavirus in the country as well as some other issues of national importance.
The summons of the Speaker and his two deputies as well as Leadership of the House by the President was contained in a Communiqué addressed to the House Speaker and read at the plenary at a sitting on Monday.
Inside sources say since the country has been hit with the coronavirus, the President would want to exercise his Emergency Powers and declare Ghana as a state of emergency but first has to engage the Speaker, his two deputies and leadership for them to reach a compromised position on the matter at hand.
After the engagement, the President will communicate to the House and seek their their approval that a state of emergency exists in Ghana.
Article 31 of the 1992 constitution empowers the President to exercise his Emergency powers in times of emergency.
Article 31(1) of the Constitution states that “The President may, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, by Proclamation published in the Gazette, declare that a state of emergency exists in Ghana or any part of Ghana for the purposes of the provisions of this Constitution”.
Article 31(2) further reads ” Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, where a proclamation is published under clause (1) of this article, the President shall place immediately before Parliament, the facts and circumstances leading to the declaration of the state of emergency.
That notwithstanding, Article 31 (3) states that “Parliament shall, within seventy-two hours after being so notified, decide whether the proclamation should remain in force or should be revoked; and the President shall act in accordance with the decision of Parliament”.
The Constitution clearly spells out the circumstances under which a state of emergency may be declared.
Article 31(9) states that ” The circumstances under which a state of emergency may be declared under this article include a natural disaster and any situation in which any action is taken or is immediately threatened to be taken by any person or body of persons which – (a) is calculated or likely to deprive the community of essentials of life; or
(b) renders necessary the taking of measures which are required for securing the public safety, the defence of Ghana and the maintenance to the life of the community”.
Should the President declare that a state of emergency exists in Ghana, Parliament, the Judiciary and some other institutions are likely to also temporarily suspend their activities.
Ghana is currently in a state of a quagmire, recording six confirmed cases of coronavirus from an initial two recorded last Thursday, March 12, 2020.
Following the increasing numbers, the President on in a brief to the nation on Sunday, March 15, 2020, directed the closure of all universities, Senior High Schools and basic schools both public and private until further notice.
The President also announced the suspension of all public gatherings including conferences, funerals, and church activities for a period of four weeks.
He then entreated the citizenry to subject themselves to the highest hygienic measures put in place by health experts to ensure their safety.