The referral of the three New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament to the Privilege’s Committee of Parliament by Alban Bagbin shows that the Speaker is being assertive in the house in order to ensure compliance, a Governance Expert Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah, has said.
But he believes this issue could have been resolved without confrontation in Parliament.
“I think there are two things here. First of all, it is clear that the Speaker has been very assertive in his position. He wants to ensure discipline and more or less obedience of the Standing Orders and all.
“The leadership of Parliament should be able to resolve certain things before coming to the chamber to have this kind of confrontation because we are witnessing too many confrontations in our parliament,” he told TV3 in an interview.
Mr Alban Bagbin defended his decision to act on a petition against three New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament, brought before him by a former Kumbungu lawmaker, Ras Mubarak.
This was after National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP Muntaka Mubarak challenged his ruling.
The MPs are Kennedy Agyapong Assin Central, Sarah Adwoa Safo, Dome Kwabenya and Henry Quartey, Ayawaso Central.
But Muntaka contested the Speaker’s ruling and said if the decision is allowed to stand, it will set a dangerous precedence which can be used by a “dictator speaker” in future to hurt lawmakers.
“If we allow this to stand it will become precedent, tomorrow it may hurt all of us,” he said.
Replying Muntaka’s submission, the Speaker said “You don’t want speaker to be a dictator but you are prepared to create room for committees to be dictators. When the committee decides then that is it.
“The matter is before the House, it is not just before the Committee. I can’t come and sit here to declare a seat vacant without following a procedure.”
He added that the matter will be submitted to the House and the House will take a decision on its report.
“Privilege’s committee, you are so directed, handle the matter, report back to the House,” Mr Bagbin said.
Ras Mubarak petitioned the Speaker to discipline these lawmakers for absenting themselves from Parliament without permission.
In his petition, he said “It has come to my notice through parliament’s Hansard, and newspaper and radio reports that some four Members of Parliament, namely Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo, MP for Dome-Kwabenya; Hon. Henry Quartey, MP for Ayawaso Central; Hon. Ebenezer Kojo Kum, MP for Ahanta West; and Hon. Ken Ohene Agyapong, MP for Assin Central have all absented themselves from Parliament for more
than fifteen sittings of a meeting of Parliament without the permission of Mr. Speaker in writing.
“In view of this reported breach of the constitutional provision, I respectfully petition your high office to direct for their conduct to be referred to the Privileges Committee for consideration and necessary action.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana