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Can the President Remove a Nominated Member of the National Assembly?

Just an online debate following the removal of Elizabeth Renner as Speaker in 2010. I can’t believe it’s deja Vu all over again in 2019.

Fellow Contributors,

The issue is whether or not the President has the power to remove a sitting nominated member of the National Assembly.

Chronology

In my first posting, I indicated that although the President has power under Section 88 of the constitution to nominate five people to the Assembly, the power so conferred does not provide any concomitant right or power to remove any such nominated member from office. However, this was dissented to by Njucks who opined that under Section 231[1] of the constitution, power is conferred on the president to remove any nominated member. Two other contributors namely; Mansasulu and Kondorong, concurred with him. Some form of approval was also accorded to his position by Rene albeit not very assertive. This is what Section 231[1] states;

‘Where any power is conferred by this Constitution to make any proclamation, order, pass any resolution or give any direction or make any declaration or designation, it shall be deemed to include the power, exercisable in like manner and subject to like conditions if any, to amend or revoke the same.’

In my second posting, I asserted that Section 231[1] is not applicable to Section 88 because the power conferred thereunder, i.e. the power to nominate, is not contained in the exhaustive list of powers provided under Section 231[1]. I further asserted that for Section 231[1] to be applicable to the power prescribed by Section 88, it must have listed that power using the same operative language or word [nominate] as in Section 88 of the constitution.

I also asserted that by virtue of the doctrine of separation of powers enshrined in the preamble of the constitution, no other grounds can be used to remove a member of parliament from office, whether nominated or elected, except for grounds provided under Section 91 of the constitution.

In his second reply, Njucks maintained that the President has the power under Section 231[1] to revoke nominations since, in his view, the ‘power to designate’ which is contained in the exhaustive list provided under Section 231[1], is the same as ‘power to ‘nominate’ as the two operative words are of the same meaning. He cited the Oxford Dictionary as an authority and went on to accuse me of deliberate misinterpretation. He also included in the posting at least two funny caricatures intended to ridicule my position [or perhaps myself-I don’t know].

The analysis

First of all, Section 231[1] does not confer power of any nature on anybody. It merely defines the nature of powers listed thereunder but which are actually conferred by other provisions of the constitution. That is why it is subtitled; ‘Construction of Various Powers’. It is therefore wrong to state that Section 231[1] confers power on the president.

Secondly, there are three main terminologies normally used in the field of recruitment in relation to hiring, depending on the process involved. They are listed below alongside their Oxford Dictionary meanings;

  1. Appoint [verb]- give a job or role to someone
    2. Designate [verb] – officially give a particular status or name to:-[adj.] appoint someone to a particular job.
    3. Nominate [verb]-put someone forward as a candidate for a job.

It is clear from the definitions above [Oxford Dictionary Standard] that ‘designate’ is synonymous to ‘appoint’ but not ‘nominate’, and to suggest otherwise would be a stretch of the English Language to an utter breaking point. I’m sure Njucks does not want to go that far.

Thirdly, the power prescribed under Section 88 is a ‘power to nominate’, not to ‘appoint’. Therefore, the use of the word ‘designate’ under section 231[1] cannot be taken as implying ‘nomination’ since the two words are not of the same meaning. Thus, unless Section 231[1] is amended to include the ‘power to nominate’, it is not applicable to Section 88 of the constitution.

Finally, the constitution provided for separation of powers as the framework of political governance, with the legislature and the Judiciary totally independent of the executive arm of the state save for where there is an overlap of functions. In that respect, it would be a total defeat of the spirit of the constitution for any of its provisions to be interpreted as conferring direct powers on the head of the executive arm of the state to literally sack certain members of the National Assembly. Any such conclusion would be inconceivable and totally outlandish.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is obviously very clear from the aforementioned that Section 231[1] does not confer powers but merely provided a construction of certain powers prescribed by other provisions of the constitution. It is also clear that the word ‘designate’ even by Oxford Dictionary standard does not have the same meaning as ‘nominate’ and therefore cannot be taken to be the operative word making Section 231[1] applicable to section 88 of the constitution. On that basis, I once again maintain that the power to nominate under Section 88 of the constitution does not give a concomitant right or power to the President to remove any sitting nominated Member of the National Assembly.

My kindest regards

SS Daffeh

 

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