Despite his status as an elected speaker being disputed by the leader of the Majority Group in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Speaker of the House, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has stated that he was duly elected the Speaker of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic through competitive means.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has insisted the speakership was conferred on Mr Bagbin following a consensus between leadership of the two caucuses of the House after processes leading to the counting of ballots were disrupted.
He maintains that leadership decided to compromise on the choice of Speaker Bagbin after the counting process was truncated when Tema West MP, Carlos Ahenkorah, snatched the ballots from electoral officers.
The Suame MP admits that former Speaker Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, one of the candidates in the contest, got 136 votes but contends that so far as counting of Speaker Bagbin’s vote were not completed, he could not be deemed to have secured 138 of the votes left.
The NDC caucus in the House, meanwhile, has dismissed Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu’s assertion insisting Alban Bagbin polled 138 votes and that his new role was not conferred on him.
Urging that cooperation, dialogue, accommodation, and consensus building remained a guide for the House going forward, Speaker Bagbin revealed that he polled majority of the 275 votes to beat Professor Oquaye, Speaker of the Seventh Parliament, in the January 7 election.
To him with 137 seats each on the side of the NDC and NPP wings of the House, the message Ghanaians sent to the political class at the December 7, 2020 election was the need for consensus building on national issues.
“Working together for the betterment of Ghana and Ghanaians is the message in the votes of 136 in favour of Rt Hon Aaron Mike Oquaye, as to 138 for Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, with one spoilt ballot, which propelled me to this high office of Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana.”
Speaker Bagbin made this declaration in his maiden address to Members at the second sitting of the first meeting of the first session of the House in Accra on Friday.
His statement is supported by parliamentary record available to the Ghanaian Times though same did not mention the number of votes Mr Bagbin, Ghana’s longest serving Member of Parliament garnered.
“Following the unfortunate incident that occurred in the processes leading to the declaration of the results of the election of the Speaker, the Clerk to Parliament in consultation with leadership declared Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin as the Speaker-elect,” the votes and proceedings – minutes of the sitting at which Mr Bagbin was elected – recounts.
The sitting was characterised with disorder and chaos as armed military men had to at a point storm the chamber of the House to restore order but to no avail.
Describing the episode on that night as “despicable conduct unbecoming of people of honour”, Speaker Bagbin, a record seven time lawmaker for the Nadowli Kaleo Constituency, condemned the “unruly behaviour” of the lawmakers and prayed it never repeated itself.
“As Speaker, I would like to believe that the spectacle of that historic day would not be repeated. Certainly not on my watch. I take a strong exception to such conduct and behaviour and urge Leadership to take a serious view of it and take the necessary measures to restore the lost dignity of the august House. It is at variance with the message of the 2020 general elections.”