General Politics

Bagbin’s ‘communication’ was most unfair to me – First Deputy Speaker

The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, says the Speaker’s communication to the House regarding his conduct is unfair to him.

The Bekwai MP said Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin’s comment about him having a penchant for overruling his rulings, thus engaging in “unconstitutional, illegal and offensive” action, as “totally unreflective of my conduct.”

In a press statement on Saturday, the MP popularly known as Joe Wise said, on the occasion of last Thursday’s action, he has “characteristically elected not to comment on Mr Speaker’s statement in public in order not to create the impression that there’s tension between him and his Deputy.”

On Thursday, the Speaker has expressed dissatisfaction with First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, for dismissing a motion to constitute a bipartisan Committee to probe into government’s Covid-19 expenditure.

Speaking on the floor of the House on Wednesday, Alban Bagbin indicated that Mr Osei-Owusu’s decision to overrule his ruling over the matter, particularly when he had admitted the motion is unconstitutional, illegal and offensive.

Recalling a statement he made during 2022 budget-related matters, he said: “Although our standing orders are silent on this, many standing orders and rules from several sister Parliaments provide persuasive rules that suggest that when Deputy speakers are acting as speakers, whatever happens in the House is that officer’s responsibility. The Speaker cannot be called upon to overrule it.

Similarly, the reverse is also the case, that when a speaker is in the chair, whatever happens in the House is the Speaker’s responsibility, and the Deputy Speaker or Acting Speaker cannot be called to overrule it”.

But Mr Osei-Owusu disagrees.

He explained that “There is no doubt that in putting the question when the record showed that there were less than half of all members of Parliament in the chamber Mr speaker had contravened Order 109(1)of the Standing Orders and more importantly Art 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution. The purported decision of the House was a nullity, and I rightly so declared it,” he said.

On Tuesday, Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam MP, Ato Cassiel Forson, moved a motion for the House to constitute a bi-partisan committee to look into government activities concerning Covid-19 expenditure.

The Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, rose to make a preliminary objection to the tabling of the motion.

The Speaker then requested that he suspend his objection, wait for the motion to be tabled, and submit his objection.

Mr Afenyo-Markin sought clarification on the extent of the Speaker’s ruling. The clarification provided was that “it was improper to object to a motion that had not even been tabled in the first place”.

The Bekwai MP, Joseph Osei-Owusu, who assumed the role of the acting Speaker in the absence of Speaker Bagbin, threw out the private members’ motion for a probe into government’s Covid-19 expenditure.

He argued the motion ought not to have been admitted by Bagbin in the first place.

Following his action, the Minority in Parliament accused the First Deputy Speaker of usurping the Speaker’s powers.


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