Majority to appeal against Speaker’s ruling …on 3 absentee MPs

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, stated that he would take steps to challenge the Speaker’s ruling that only the plenary of the House has the mandate to determine the fate of the three absentee Members of Parliament (MPs). 

“Mr Speaker, I am serving you notice that we know what to do. We will come with a substantive motion and challenge your ruling,” he said on the floor when the Speaker gave his ruling. 

The Suame MP on July 2,8 raised a preliminary objection to the motion for the adoption or otherwise of the Privileges Committee’s report on the three absentee MPs; Sarah Adwoa Safo, MP, Dome-Kwabenya; Kennedy Agyapong, MP, Assin Central and Henry Quartey, Ayawaso Central. 

He has disagreed with the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, on his ruling that only the plenary of the House has the mandate to determine the fate of absentee MPs. 

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu
said the ruling was “unfortunate” and does not sit with provisions of the 1992 Constitution. 

“The Speaker is totally wrong in his understanding of the Constitution, because the report of the committee should be submitted to us by way of information.  

“The committee is the one that is charged with the authority to make a determination as contained in Article 97(1)(c). The matter does not rest with the plenary,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the MP for Suame stated when he briefed the press after the Speaker’s ruling.

He argued that just as in Article 177 where the Finance Committee is given the absolute authority to determine matters of financial matters in emergencies, same applies to Article 97(1)(c) which deal with parliamentary privileges.

“So if the Speaker says every committee’s report should come to the House for debate what about Article 177,” he asked. 

The ruling, he held has sent the country backward in its democratic journey and must not be allowed to stand.

“Where, are we going? Where in the world is the Speaker sending this parliament? I think it is very unfortunate and I insist that the ruling is not supported by the Constitution.” 

“The Privileges Committee has presented its report and, in my considered opinion, based on the Constitution and not sentiments, is that, there should be that automaticity, once he makes a determination. I disagree that the decision should be taken by the House,” the Majority Leader argued. 

In his view, the provisions of Article 97(1) (c) which states that a Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament if he is absent, without the permission in writing of the Speaker and is “unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges” gives the committee the ultimate say on whether or not a seat is declared vacant or not. 

But the Speaker in his ruling said only the plenary has the mandate to determine a seat vacant.

“The Committee of Privileges is a Committee of Parliament constituted pursuant to Article 103 of the Constitution. As a Committee of Parliament, the way in which the Committee conducts its business is regulated by the Standing Orders of the House.   

“Our orders specifically require that the recommendations of a committee must be subject to the consideration of the House and that plenary plays an important role in choosing to adopt or reject the recommendations. 


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