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The African Center for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), is worried about what it says is a dangerous precedent being set by Parliament over the attempted arrest of the Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu.
The refusal of parliament to release the legislator to the police for investigations over alleged wrongdoing appears to have taken a political turn in parliament.
The Majority caucus of the house is accusing the Speaker, Alban Bagbin of shielding the MP, while the Minority side is defending the Speaker’s interpretation of the law on the immunity and privileges of MPs.
“I think we are going to see more of what is happening now in the future, and that is what I believe is creating this kind of division we are beginning to see. If you look at the position of those in the majority, it is as if the action of the Honourable Member has caused some embarrassment to their government, that is why rather than seeing them very tight and united in the face of this, you are seeing this division.”
“This is a very dangerous precedent because tomorrow it will be the NDC that will be in power should something like this happen in the future”, Executive Director of ACEPA, Dr. Rasheed Dramani expressed on Eyewitness News.
He however maintained that the House must be united in its handling of this matter.
“We want to make sure that at the very least, we want to see parliament is united. Public opinion is against parliament and if you have parliament already divided, it is not good for the institution and that is what they should have realized from the beginning”, he stressed.
Police have tried without success on two occasions to arrest Francis-Xavier Sosu, and have gone ahead to secure criminal summons against him in court, while Parliament has sent out strong signals that it will not countenance any threat from the police.
But the Majority Caucus says the speaker appears to be instituting new rules that seem to undermine the rule of law without any prior discussions with the leadership of the house.
They insist the refusal of the Speaker to release the legislator to assist with investigations into alleged offenses is of extreme concern.
You’re attempting to undermine Bagbin’s authority – Minority tells Majority
Meanwhile, the Minority has accused their colleagues on the Majority side of deliberately ignoring the facts surrounding the attempted arrest of the MP.
In a statement, it disagreed with the Majority’s claims, insisting that the Speaker was only trying to ensure that the Police follows standard procedures in inviting the MP for questioning.
“The Majority Leadership is being mischievous and disingenuous by ignoring the fact that the Police refused to comply with the established protocols of dealing with matters affecting MPs by not, first, contacting the Speaker who would have then made the necessary arrangements for them to meet with the affected MP”.
The Minority, in their statement signed by their leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the Majority’s statement shows an attempt to undermine the authority of the Speaker.