Speaker Bagbin Says Walkouts Are Legitimate Forms of Parliamentary Protest

17-12-2021



The Rt. Hon. Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has indicated that the staging of walkouts by Members of Parliament (MPs) do not invalidate ongoing parliamentary proceedings.

The veteran politician therefore questioned the decision of the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu to nullify the rejection of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government by the Minority on Friday 26th November 2021, when he, the substantive Speaker, presided over the House.

He avowed that he did not act beyond his powers when he put the question on the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government to Members of the House describing Osei-Owusu’s decision as strange to him.

According to the former NDC seven-term legislator who was elected as Speaker of the august House on 7th January 2021, walkouts are legitimate avenues by which Members of Parliament can express their grievances; adding that, the practice is part of parliamentary procedures.

The Speaker in his submission, commented on issues from the general conduct of the House to specific actions and decisions taken in his absence and lamented some of the scenes and vowed to ensure that they do not repeat going forward.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament when he resumed his seat to preside over proceedings on Thursday, December 16, 2021 following his over two-week absence when he travelled for medical checks in the United Arab Emirates, the Speaker recounted that since 1997, he has seen Members of Parliament walking out of the Chamber on many occasions.

The main areas he touched on included quorum for the conduct of business, quorum for voting in Parliament, Deputy Speaker being counted for the purposes of quorum and a letter presented by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on concessions and modifications to the 2022 Budget Statement.

The Rt. Hon. Speaker reiterated that the House was duly constituted for its work for the purposes of business and voting in accordance with Articles 102 and 104 respectively and the public record of the Votes and Proceedings of the House on the 26th of November lends credence to this position.

He asserted that he does not believe that overturning the earlier rejection of the Budget was a decision the First Deputy Speaker should have taken and pondered whether a Vice President can preside over a cabinet which had earlier on taken a decision on a subject matter presided over by the President, and without consulting the President, get the Cabinet to overturn the decision earlier taken.

It may be recalled that while the Speaker was away, the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu overturned his ruling that rejected the 2022 Budget on Friday November 26 and cited that the Speaker erred in his ruling.

He indicated that the House did not have a quorum when the Minority National Democratic (NDC) Party MPs in Parliament voted against the 2022 Budget on Friday November 26, 2021 enabling the Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs to vote and approve the Budget on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.

The Minority in Parliament under the leadership of Haruna Iddrisu filed a motion to challenge the conduct of the First Deputy Speaker over his ruling on the motion to overturn the approval of the 2022 Budget Statement but the First Deputy Speaker rejected the motion against his ruling reversing the rejection of the Budget.



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