Ghana’s Parliament will be an interesting place to be as the “batted and wounded” majority side of the August House is promising a showdown between them and the Speaker of Parliament on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin yesterday Friday, 26th November 2021, supervised the rejection of the 2022 economic and fiscal policy statement of government after the majority caucus staged a walked out.
What seems to have infuriated the the majority Caucus was a disagreement over a voice vote which did not go in their favour called for a division which didn’t go go in their favour also and decided to staged a walkout, the Speaker of Parliament, however, continue proceedings of Parliament and subsequently paving way for the Minority Caucus to vote against the 2022 Economic and Fiscal Policy Statement in their absence.
According to the Majority Leader and leader of government business, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu the speaker’s ruling on the 2022 budget has no binding effect on parliament.
Addressing members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) immediately the house was adjourned, the Majority Leader who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Suame Constituency in the Ashanti Region, explained that the motion for the approval of the 2022 budget still stands in the name of Finance Minister Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, despite its rejection by a one-sided house made up of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority MPs.
In the view of the Majority, the ruling by the Speaker affirming the rejection of the budget is, therefore, unconstitutional and wrong.
“That whole procedure was unconstitutional. As far as we are concerned, it’s null and void and has no binding effect on anybody. The motion on the budget as far we are concerned hasn’t been pronounced on by parliament, and it’s still standing in the name of the Finance Minister and in the fullness of time a properly constituted house, not one presided over by the Rt Honorable speaker will make the decision,” the Suame lawmaker reiterated.
The Majority leader also argued that per the standing orders of parliament a decision can only be taken by the house when MPs present are more than half of the total number.
Explaining further, he alluded that the NDC MPs present in the chamber were 135 and not 137, insisting the number present at the time of the ruling would not support the decision of the house per the laid processes.
“Article 104 (1) of the constitution says matters in parliament shall be determined by the vote of the majority of members present and voting, with at least half of all members of parliament present.
We have cause to believe that at least 2 of the NDC MPs were not in the chamber and yet out of mischief the Speaker said that they were 137. In any event, even if you go with 137 it is still less than one half of the 275 member chamber so when he puts the question the speaker should have known that the number would not support the decision of the house. So that purported decision is a nullity and does not have any effect on anybody,” the Suamelawmaker cried out.