The Clerk of Parliament, has been asked to write to the Electoral Commission declaring seats of MPs who have been absent for more than 15 days vacant.
According to Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare a.k.a. Kwaku Azar, this will be an implementation of a 2018 Supreme Court ruling on absentee MPs which states that a lawmaker automatically vacates their seat after 15 continuous days of being absent from the House without permission, in accordance with article 97 of the 1992 constitution.
Kwaku Azar told Joy FM on Friday, February 25, that the Clerk of Parliament must immediately begin applying the law.
He said, the Clerk will be in contempt of court if nothing is done at all.
“When it comes to being absent in Parliament, people start saying ‘let’s be gracious and empathetic.’ But we must either be a nation of law, or we are not.
“So I think the Clerk should, on Monday, write to the Electoral Commission that any MP, not just Adwoa [Safo] who has been absent for more than 15 days, have vacated the seat, and a by-election should be held,” Kwaku Azar explained.
The Professor’s comments come after some MPs on the Majority side are calling on the governing NPP to declare the Dome-Kwabenya seat vacant following the absence of its MP from Parliament.
The governing NPP MPs have linked Sarah Adwoa Safo’s absence from the House as a way of blackmailing the government with a list of demands, including the Deputy Majority Leader position.
Sarah Adwoa Safo, who is also the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, was last seen in Parliament in December 2021, when she appeared in the House to dismiss claims by the Minority Caucus that she was impersonated. She has since not returned to the Chamber.
But the governing party had admitted that the MP’s absence is affecting the party and government business.
They also revealed that all options are currently on the table, including triggering the constitutional provision to remove her as MP and declare her seat vacant.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has described the contemplation to remove Adwoa Safo from Parliament as “discriminatory and unprincipled attacks.”
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP, North Tongu, is also pushing for the removal of two other NPP MPs – Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong and the Ayawaso Central, Henry Quartey.
He explains, these MPs “were absent without permission from the Speaker, Alban S.K. Bagbin, for 18 working days each.”