Alban Bagbin ‘missing’ in Parliament
Parliament reconvenes after brawl
The Minority Caucus in Parliament were resolute in their determination not to allow the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu (Joe Wise), participate in the voting process to determine whether or not the controversial e-levy bill should be admitted under a certificate of urgency.
Earlier before the parliamentary sitting was suspended for Joe Wise to take the chair, Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Asiamah had ruled on a voice vote in favor of the Majority to have the bill considered under a certificate of urgency.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, called for a vote of division where only MPs will be counted in the voting process after the lobby has been cleared of persons without voting right.
Andrew Asiamah suspended parliamentary sitting for an hour only for the house to resume with Joe Wise in the chair.
After hearing what had transpired, he agreed to the minority’s request for a vote of division but announced that he will participate in the voting process.
The voting began with each MP on the majority side’s name being mentioned and counted but chaos broke out on the floor of parliament when the First Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei-Owusu, attempted to give way to the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Asiamah, to take over proceedings to enable him cast his ballot.
Explaining the circumstances that led to the ‘free for all’ fight, Odododiodioo MP Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye said there was no way his side could have allowed the Jow Wise to vote citing his ruling on quorum when the majority MP side voted to overturn the rejection of the 2022 budget on November 30, 2021.
“We all remember this House when their famous rescission of Honourable Bagbin’s decision. Honourable Osei Owusu then sitting – in [for Alban Bagbin] said that he was counting himself among the quorum but then he knows he has no vote. Today, he, Osei Owusu, is sitting in the chair and claiming that he still has a vote, even though he is presiding which is in contravention of the Standing Orders and the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. So we said that we would not allow him to vote because by sitting-in the Chair and presiding, he has no original vote nor casting vote,” he told Joy News’ parliamentary correspondent Kwesi Parker Wilson.
“When you are presiding and ordered the division and the division is ongoing then you are getting out of the Chair to go and exercise your vote…where have you found this before…where is this… it’s like a referee saying that ‘let me just wear the jersey of one team, play after that I will come and continue as the referee’…Have you seen some before? It doesn’t make sense anywhere and that’s what we objected to. We are not going to allow Osei Owusu to turn the Constitution and the standing orders around to suit his whims and caprices. It is not right, it is unconstitutional and it is very very reprehensible for a Speaker of this House to do what he did,” he added.
Joseph Osei Owusu was the last person on the majority side to make the numbers 138 at the time of voting on the supposed rejected budget on November 30, 2021.
The Bekwai MP who presided on the day stated that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs, together with himself, form a majority to overturn the rejection of the 2022 budget statement.
“Honorable members, the numbers presented to me by the Clerks at table is 137 of you plus me, MP for Bekwai, 138. Honourable members, for the avoidance of doubt. Let me read out the constitutional requirement so that there is no confusion as to who can vote…what numbers are required to vote to take a decision. Article 104 (1) except as otherwise provided in the constitution matters of parliament shall be determined by the majority of members present and voting.
“The majority of members present and voting with at least half of all members of parliament present. What this means is that before you take a decision the must be at least majority of all members present. With me, we are 138 members. That’s a majority. It doesn’t mean all the 138 must vote yes or no. A majority of this 138…their decision will carry the day”, he explained.
The Majority subsequently justified Joe Wise conduct stating that he did not vote.
Meanwhile, parliament is expected to reconvene on Tuesday, December 21, 2021.
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