A Governance Expert, Professor Baffuor Agyeman-Duah has said the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin should have consulted leadership of both the Majority and Minority before acting on the petition against the three New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MPs).
“Depending on the outcome of the investigations of the committee, the three of them, their seats could be declared vacant. So it is a major decision taken by the Speaker.
“I Believe strongly that before coming to the chamber he should have consulted very closely with the leadership of the House. If he did I don’t think Muntaka would have been soo forceful in opposing the Speakers decision,” Propf Agyeman-Duah told TV3.
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 added.
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.
NDC MP Banda, Ahmed Ibrahim said he was shocked that Mr Bagbin stood by his decision to refer the MPs to the Committee even when serious objections had been raised by lawmakers against the procedure he adopted.
He explained that the petition against the MPs that Mr Bagbin acted on should have been brought to the House by a member but that was not the case.
Despite this flaw, he said, the Speaker proceeded to refer the matter to the committee.
Speaking in interview with TV3’s Evelyn Tengmaa on Wednesday April 6, the Deputy Minority Chief Whip said “A petition to Parliament shall be tabled through a Member of Parliament.
“The Speaker himself is reported to have said that members have brought a lot of petitions to his office but he is directing the general public that any petition brought to his office should be channeled through a Member of Parliament.
“So when we heard that Ras Mubarak has brought the petition on four of our colleagues we knew Ras Mubarak’s petition would have to be channeled through a Member of Parliament. So, we have been waiting to see who is it that is going to present the petition to the Speaker on the floor.
“It has never happened until he himself has applied the petition on Friday. Then we said Mr Speaker, you can’t do that. So we could see people saying that why is it that we couldn’t discuss this thing in-house? We pleaded with Mr Speaker that Mr Speaker, if you go this way, one; it will be a very unpopular decision to the House because some may say you are being unfair to them; Two, it will divide the House because even a tortoise has his lover.
“There are some people who will be of the view that let us rescue Kennedy Agyapong and Henry Quartey and as for Adwoa Safo let us slaughter her. There may be other s who will say let us slaughter all. So this thing will polarize the House the more. .
“The Speaker has become something that when you tell him those things things, he says ‘oh I’m in charge’. You can be in charge, the driver may sit in the front seat, be in charge of the vehicle but when accidents comes you wouldn’t know who is in charge. Yesterday, what happened to us, a House divided against itself, how can it stand? Rawlings did not train Speaker like that and Speaker Bagbin did not train us like that.
“When something is not good it is not good, nobody has monopoly of knowledge, politics is placed with information. Where he is now, it is not easy to be number three,. When you are number three it is not everybody who comes to you. So there are vital information on the ground that you will not hear. it is us who will tell.
“All that happened yesterday , the picture that happened we told him. After that he said ‘now I have seen the collective wisdom of the house but it is a proposal.’ Should you see the collectives wisdom of the House after the act has been committed ? So going forward speaker will know that some of us don’t hate him.
“Speakers that I have met here have not gone that way before, leadership is to help you but if you want to rule alone, you alone will crash .That is why we are of the view that we need to revoke this referral so that it doesn’t go to where he wants it to go. Bagbin is all that we have, we must correct him to do the right thing.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana