The African Center for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), has urged the leadership of Parliament to tread cautiously in deciding the fate of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Dome-Kwabenya Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, Sarah Adowa Safo.
It noted that the ruling to be declared by the Speaker of the House, Alban Bagbin was critical to serve as precedent should such situations present themselves in years ahead.
“Parliament should be objective in its decision devoid of any political consideration since that can be claimed to be political witch hunt with her as target and mar an objective decision by the leadership of the House,” the Centre cautioned.
Ms Safo was sacked from her role as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on July 28, 2022 and the decision came after Mr Bagbin deferred his ruling on her when she was cited for absenteeism which Parliament watchdog, Odekro’s analysis pegs her absence at 40 missed sittings.
But speaking from the United States, in May, she attributed her long absence from Parliament to family issues, among others, her son was unwell and she also accused some Minority MPs and a number of her colleague Majority MPs of engaging in political witch hunt with her as the target.
Dr Rasheed Draman, the Executive Director of ACEPA, indicated that over the years, there had been concerns about the fact that Parliament had not been a good regulator of itself and when it came to issues of disciplining themselves, it had always been a challenge.
“There have been times when we have even called for some outside body – a group of eminent Ghanaians, to be constituted to form the Privileges Committee on issues of absenteeism and other pertinent issues so that justice can be done in a way that is not politically tainted for those involved to declare such actions as political witch hunt.
“Right now, every decision, particularly regarding declaration of whether a seat is vacant or not, is looked at from balance of power perspective, if an MP vacates his or her parliamentary seat, it tilts the balance either to the advantage of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) or the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and if we leave it in their hands, the House will be looking at their own self-preservation,” Dr Draman observed.