Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim has criticized Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin over the way and manner he handled the petition against the three New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament.
In his view, the Speaker got the procedure wrong therefore, he should have listened to the concerns raised when he was referring the matter to the privilege’s committee.
Speaking in interview with TV3’s Evelyn Tengmaa on Wednesday April 6, the Banda lawmaker 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 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.”
During proceedings in the House on Tuesday April 5, Member of Parliament for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak challenged the decision by Mr Bagbin to refer the MPs to the privilege’s committee of Parliament.
The MPs are Kennedy Agyapong MP for Assin Central; Sarah Adwoa Safo MP for Dome Kwabenya and Henry Quartey, MP for 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.
This whole matter came up after a Former Kumbungu Member of Parliament, Ras Mubarak, petitioned the Speaker of Parliament 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