General Politics

Speaker offended I don’t think like him is dangerous to democracy – Osei-Owusu

First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, says it will be detrimental to Ghana’s democratic experiment if he was expected to think the same way as the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin.

According to him, it is merely the divergent thoughts and ideas that support the country’s democracy.

He stressed that an echo chamber or parliament was no parliament at all and dangerous to democracy.

“I don’t think so. It only emphasizes that in a democracy different people think differently and indeed that’s what it ought to be. If we all think the same thing probably Parliament will not be necessary.

“The matter that was dealt with last Tuesday is gone. It can be resurrected. An application will be made to him. He can admit it, it will be reargued. Either way, whether it is reopened or rejected at the end, we would have made progress,” he said on JoyNews’ PM Express.

The Bekwai MP was reacting to the Speaker, Alban Bagbin’s outburst in Parliament after he [Joe Wise] had dismissed a motion to constitute a bipartisan committee to probe into government’s Covid-19 expenditure.

This was after the said motion had been admitted by Alban Bagbin.

Arguing his decision for overruling the earlier ruling, he stated that the Speaker ought not to have admitted the motion in the first place.

Upon resuming his seat, Alban Bagbin had described the Deputy Speaker’s action as “unconstitutional, illegal and offensive.”

However, Joseph Osei-Owusu believes that if the Speaker was offended because he had a divergent view on a matter, then that was reason for worry.

“But my emphasis is feeling offended that I don’t think like him, that is where I say it’s dangerous to democracy. Why should I think like him?” he said.

He stated that if the Speaker did not want him working on that motion, all he had to do was to have given a direction stating explicitly that that matter be deferred.

“We also defer to leadership. And if you recall, on the 7th, the issue relating to whether Deputy Leader’s motion should be moved before or after it had been seconded, I said openly that what I heard Mr. Speaker say is what I will do.

“If he gave me specific instructions and I don’t agree with him I’ll tell him. But once I accept to do it, I’ll stick to it. But if I have a reason to disagree with him – and in our discussions that happens all the time – my challenge is coming out in the open and coming to chastise me because I disagree with him, for me that is where the danger is,” he said.

He, however, insists there is no tension between him and Alban Bagbin.

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