Ghana Politics

‘I didn’t snatch Speaker’s seat; I was only preserving it’ – Ashaiman MP

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Ernest Norgbey

The Member of Parliament for the Ashaiman Constituency, Ernest Norgbey, has justified snatching the seat of the Speaker of Parliament after confusion broke out in the House on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

There was chaos in Parliament after the sit-in Speaker, First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu gave a ruling which didn’t favour the Minority Caucus.

The Minority, through its leader, Haruna Iddrisu, had challenged the approval of the 2022 budget statement and requested that a motion be adopted to set aside the approval of the policy document.

According to the Minority, it was wrong for the Deputy Speaker who chaired proceedings on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, to count himself as part of the Majority while he assumed the speaker position.

After listening to the arguments for and against the motion, Mr. Osei-Owusu ruled that he did no wrong, hence could not accept the proposal from the Minority.

He argued that, although he is sitting in for the Speaker, he cannot be described as “the Speaker of Parliament” since he is a Member of Parliament and was only assisting the substantive Speaker, Alban Bagbin, who is currently in Dubai for a medical check-up.

He quickly suspended the house after the ruling because of the confusion that ensued after his decision on Wednesday.

While there was heckling, shouting and shoving from members of both sides, the Ashaiman MP walked straight to the place where the Speaker sits and dragged the chair towards the Minority section of the House.

Some Marshals of Parliament had to intervene to restore the chair to its original position.

Speaking to TV3 after the incident, the Ashaiman MP said he sees nothing wrong with relocating the seat of the Speaker of Parliament.

“I didn’t snatch the seat of the Speaker, I was only preserving it. Yes, it is not my duty to preserve the seat of the Speaker, but when he rules that he is not the Speaker, then we will have to preserve it [the seat] for the Speaker till he comes.”

“I don’t agree to the view that touching the Speaker’s seat is sacrilegious. The Speaker was not on the seat when I touched it. So many people touch the Speaker’s seat. I can also touch it. When I touch it, what happens? And no, my action did not attract the Marshals. They were already there. They were already positioned around the mace and the seat. No one intended to carry the seat outside the chamber,” he said.

Joe Wise ‘abandons’ seat for 2nd Deputy after controversial ruling on Minority’s motion
Joseph Osei Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, literally abandoned the chairing of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday, after he had suspended sitting for an hour following confusion that erupted after he ruled against a motion by the Minority Caucus.

Hours after the suspension, the Second Deputy Speaker, who’s the Independent MP for Fomena, Andrews Asiamah, assumed the Speaker position instead of the First Deputy Speaker.

The Second Deputy Speaker subsequently adjourned the meeting to Thursday, December 2, 2021.

Prior to the adjournment, Haruna Iddrisu raised concerns with the 1st Deputy Speaker’s ruling.

“For the record, we expected the 1st Deputy Speaker, who was in the chair, to put a question on a motion that was moved by me and seconded by Honourable Mahama Ayariga, but he chose to give a ruling. We intend to question his ruling on that matter and to insist that he puts a question on the motion. And also to remind the Majority that, a majority is members present in the chamber and voting, not any imagined numbers sitting somewhere or elsewhere,” the Minority Leader said.

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