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It is turning out that Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, whilst away in Dubai, has reportedly ‘endorsed’ a motion filed by Minority NDC MPs as part of the effort to get the approval of the 2022 budget by the Majority NPP rescinded.
The revelation was made by Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu yesterday.
He said on Citi FM that “The First Deputy Speaker (Joseph Osei-Wusu) is assuming full responsibility for the transaction of business in the Chamber, but my understanding is that the Rt. Hon. Speaker has minuted on the motion (from the Minority) that he has admitted it. If that is the case, then we are in for something dangerous.”
The NDC, led by their Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has been making strenuous effort to reject the 2022 budget since it was read on November 17, by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.
It started on November 26, when with the endorsement of Mr. Bagbin, who is a card-bearing member of the NDC, the Minority claimed they succeeded in rejecting the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December 2022.
The Majority Caucus (NPP) which had boycotted the process, fired back saying the whole exercise was unconstitutional because the Minority Caucus did not have the quorum to take such a major decision.
On November 30 when the House reconvened, the Minority NDC decided to stay out of the chamber as the Majority Caucus, New Patriotic Party (NPP), approved the same budget the NDC said they rejected.
In what looked like a cat and a mouse game, 138 MPs, 137 of them from the NPP, and one independent MP, approved the budget which was supervised by the Second Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Wusu (NPP MP for Bekwai) in the absence of Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin.
The approval subsequently nullified the purported rejection of the budget by opposition NDC MPs and as normalcy appeared to be restored, the Minority Leader came back saying they were determined to get the House to rescind the Majority’s decision on the budget.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu (NDC MP Tamale South) started pursuing the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Wusu to have his ruling on the budget approval on December 1, 2021 set aside.
Mr. Osei-Wusu, popularly known as Joe Wise, dismissed a request by the NDC Minority Caucus to have a rescission of the passage of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December 2022.
The NDC MPs, after the rejection of their motion, displayed unruly behaviour in Parliament and even attempted to manhandle the First Deputy Speaker.
The nasty scenes they enacted in the House were similar to what happened on the night of January 7 when a new Speaker as well as the new Parliament was being sworn in.
Following the First Deputy Speaker’s decision, there was a total breakdown of law and order as members of the Minority protested.
Officers of the parliamentary security led by the Marshal rushed to break up an unprovoked attack on the First Deputy Speaker by some of the NDC MPs, seconds after ruling against the Minority on an application for a recession of the 2022 budget approval.
Pushing & Shoving
Dozens of the NDC MPs were seen pushing and shoving the parliamentary security officers in an attempt to get hold of the First Deputy Speaker.
Footages showed Ernest Henry Norgbey (Ashaiman), Sam Nettey George (Ningo-Prampram), Murtala Muhammed Ibrahim (Tamale Central), Yusif Issaka Jajah (Ayawaso North), Emmanuel Abambire Bawa (Bongo), and Bashir A. Fusieni Alhassan (Sagnarigu) leading the onslaught on the First Deputy Speaker.
They later succeeded in throwing on the floor the Speaker’s Chair after Mr. Osei-Wusu had been ushered out of the chamber.
The highly charged unruly NDC MPs then proceeded to face their colleagues on the Majority side but the parliamentary security officers formed a line to prevent any attacks.
The irate MPs then shoved the security guards in another attempt to attack the mace, which is the symbol of Parliament’s authority entrusted to the Speaker, while visitors at the gallery looked on in disbelief.
On December 7, 2021, Haruna Iddrisu filed another motion to set aside the ruling of the First Deputy Speaker.
According to the Minority Leader, the ruling of the First Deputy Speaker “contravenes the rules, conventions and practices of the House,” adding that it was “actuated by bias.”
But the First Deputy Speaker, in a response conveyed by Clerk to Parliament, Cyril K.O. Nsiah, said he could not admit the motion relating to his ruling by the Minority Caucus.
“The Hon. First Deputy Speaker, pursuant to Order 13(2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament, has directed that I inform you that the Motion is not admitted. Thank you,” the correspondence indicated.
Not satisfied with the response, the Minority Leader wrote to point out that “the communication in issue is rather strangely dated 10th November, 2021” and said he assumed that the date was written in error.
“With respect, the reliance on Standing Order 13(2) as basis for your refusal to admit the motion is misconceived and smacks of an abuse of discretionary power contrary to Article 296 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana which requires that in the exercise of such power you have a duty to be fair and candid,” he continued.
Authority To Act
Haruna Iddrisu stated that “it is most curious that the Standing Order you seek refuge in merely gives you the authority to act in the absence of the Right Honourable Speaker. It is not lost on us that this is the very privilege you recently denounced in your bizarre ruling of 1st December, 2021 when you stated categorically that you are not a Speaker, you are MP for Bekwai.”
He said the NDC Minority Caucus which he leads vehemently disagrees with the First Deputy Speaker’s position on the motion as well as his conduct in the matter.
“We take the strong view that your conduct affronts Orders 79, 81, 82 and 90 of our Standing Orders and can no longer be tolerated. In that regard, we are resolved to pursue this matter further with the Right Honourable Speaker upon his return,” he noted.
In the ensuing heat, the Majority Leader said he was receiving signals that Bagbin appeared to have approved the motion filed by the Minority Leader challenging the ruling of the First Deputy Speaker, while he (Bagbin) was still in Dubai undergoing a medical review.
Source: Daily Guide