Disagreement in Parliament over referral of absentee MPs healthy for democracy …But Muntaka files motion to reverse referral – Ablakwa

Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu in the Volta Region, has averred that the disagreement in Parliament over referral of three absentee MPs is healthy for parliamentary democracy.

He welcomed the discourse surrounding the three MPs, Adwoa Safo, Henry Quartey, and Kennedy Agyapong, who have been referred to the Privileges Committee of Parliament for absenteeism.

“This is healthy for our parliamentary democracy since we are charting a path that will become the convention, the norm and good that we are having these contestations to strengthen our democratic dispensation,” Mr Ablakwa noted.

But Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, the Minority Chief Whip, has filed a motion calling for the referral of the three MPs to the Privileges Committee of Parliament for absenting themselves for over 15 sittings to be reversed.

In the motion, he called on Parliament to revoke, cancel or rescind the referral made by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin to the Committee to consider the issue of absence without permission from the House under Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution and Standing Orders 15 and 16.

Ras Mubarak, a former MP for Kumbungu, petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, to tackle absenteeism in Parliament and insisted that the MPs cited had breached the Standing Orders of Parliament of Article 16(1) which frowned on MPs absenting themselves for 15 sitting days without permission from the Speaker.

Per Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution, a Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat “if he is absent, without the permission in writing to the Speaker, and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges from 15 sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet”.

However, Mr Ablakwa indicated that the protest was done in good faith and did not realise it as a conflict but different viewpoints that were being expressed which was done with decorum and respect for MPs.

Referring the three MPs to the committee, Mr Bagbin, noted that the absence of the MPs without his permission constituted a breach of the rules of the House and urged them to provide its report to the House two weeks after Parliament reconvened from recess. –citinewsroom.com

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