Image of Parliament has sunk so low – Ras Mubarak

Speaker Bagbin (R) Majority Leader (Left), and Minority Leader (Middle)
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Former Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak has expressed shock at the attempt by some Members of Parliament (MPs) to fault the procedure adopted by the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin to refer the three New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs to the Privilege’s Committee for absenting themselves without permission.

He said the image of Parliament has dropped so low hence, the lawmakers should rather use this opportunity to redeem the image.

During proceedings in the House, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak challenged the decision by Mr Bagbin to refer the MPs to the privilege’s committee.

 Mr Bagbin on Tuesday April 5 referred the NPP MPs after receiving a petition against them for absenting themselves from Parliament without permission for more than fifteen sittings.

The MPs are Kennedy Agyapong who is MP for Assin Central, Sarah Adwoa Safo who represents Dome Kwabenya and Henry Quartey, Ayawaso Central.

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.

But replying to Muntaka’s submission, the Speaker defended his decision saying “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.

Reacting to this situation in interview with TV3’as Komla Adom on the mid day news on Tuesday April 5, Ras Mubarak who petitioned the Speaker against these MPs said “If they disagree with the Speaker’s directive they know what to do. The rules of the house are clear, the Speaker is the arbiter, the Speaker is clothed with the powers. Don’t forget we are talking about the speaker who has been there for 28 years so he has got enormous experience in terms of practices and procedure of Parliament.”

He added “MPs have no business complaining about the speaker’s procedure. They have had all the time and the opportunity to call out their colleagues who are breaking the laws of the country and they didn’t show the backbone to be able to do that.

“The image of a Parliament has sunken so low that this is an opportunity to redeem Parliament’s sunken image. I am surprised that they are attempting to fault the process when they have had the opportunity.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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