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It is not lost on us that there is no majority party in 8th parliament — Osei-Kyei

Majority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has taken a swipe at the Rt. Hon Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin for his comment on the floor after the rejection of the 2022 Budget Statement reminding the House that there is no majority party with both sides having 137 members each with one independent opting to do business with the ruling government party.

According to him the Majority side has not said any party in the current Ghanaian parliament has a Majority party and that is not lost on them that they have 137 seats in the House.

“Our caucus has a Majority, and the leader of our caucus is the Majority Leader that is whether or not we like it; you could have the NDC have 137, NPP could have 120 we would be a Minority party, the NDC would be the Majority Party. If all the other parties decide to join rank with the NPP, we form the majority caucus; the leader of that group is the Majority leader”

“And so, whoever refuses to accept this is his own problem; there are no co-leaders in the House, there is only one Majority Leader and the Leader of Government Business and doubles up as the Majority Leader”, he emphasized during a press conference organised by the Majority side of the House.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Parliament rejects 2022 Budget

A one sided parliament has  rejected government’s Budget Statement and Economic Policy as presented by the finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta.

The one sided decision was occasioned by the Majority Caucus’ decision to stage a walkout at some point of proceedings on Friday November 26, 2021.

The Majority staged the walkout when

they lost a voice vote to the the minority, when the Finance Minister prayed the House for time to further engage the leadership of the two sides of the House before a decision is taken on the budget.

 However, the Speaker’s ruling on the voice vote was challenged by the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markins, who called for ‘Division’.

And as part of the ‘Division’ process, the Speaker directed all members, including ministers in the chamber who are not members of parliament to leave the chamber.

However, when the Finance Minister relactantly left the chamber, after the Speaker threatened to call the Marshall to walk out any of such persons in the chamber, the Majority turned their attention to the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress who was at the public gallery, and asked that he also be asked to leave amidst shouting and banging of tables.

But even before the Speaker made a determination of their request, the Majority left the chamber.

The Speaker subsequently suspended sitting for five minutes.

Upon resumption of proceedings, the Speaker put the question before the House on the request of the Finance Minister, and the ‘Nos’ have it.

This was followed by a voice vote on the budget statement; and on once again the ‘Nos’ have it.

The Speaker as part of his closing remarks stated that “As the Speaker, I will do all I can, not allow the government to obstruct or frustrate parliament in its lawful duty. That is a pledge to the people of Ghana, and there is a reason why the good people of Ghana elected this parliament. It is hung parliament of 137-137, the independent who decided to do business with one side of the majority, there is no majority party in this house. This is a new beginning, where for the first time, a Majority has walked out from its own business”, he stated.


Speaker was wrong in the business he purportedly took in our absence —Majority

The Majority in Parliament has pointed out that the purported decision by the 137 Minority side of the House presided over by Rt. Hon Alban Bagbin in their absence as they walk out was wrong.

The Majority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who addressed the media on Friday, November 26, 2021 around 8:45pm, said out of mischief the Speaker quoted Article 102 on issue of quorum of parliament apart from the person presiding.

He added that the Speaker was right with Article 102 which states that there shall be one third of members of parliament; “he was right that the quorum is for the transaction of normal business, maybe statements are being made with no decision being taken so that correct number is one third can listen to it.”

“When it comes to decision making, it is not Article 102 that applies, but rather Article 104 that comes to play, you recollect that the Minority leader said they are going to invoke Article 104 it was not for anything, we thought the Speaker knew the fundamentals of the constitution”.

 Article 104 clause one of the 1992 constitution say, “Except as provided in this constitution matters in parliament including this one shall be determined by a vote of the majority of members present and voting with at least half of all members of parliament present”.

The number that the Speaker quoted reflected the ‘entireship’ of the membership of the Minority caucus in parliament, but assuming that he was right, because they have cause to believe that at least two of the Minority members were not in the chamber yet the said 137 were in the chamber, the Speaker knows that at least two of them were not in the chamber, “why did he do that?”, He queried.

Even when he goes with the 137 numbers it is still less than one half of  the 275 member chamber so when he put the question to 137 the Speaker should have known would not support the decision of the House.

Order 109 clause 1 “no question for decision in the House shall be proposed for determination unless there are present in the House not less than one half of the members present in the House except otherwise provided in the constitution, the question proposed shall be determine by Majority of the votes of the members present in voting”.

“I believe whoever presided should bow down his head in shame”, he added.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Budget Debate Conclusion: “We have our numbers, leave that to us”—Majority Chief Whip

Majority Chief Whip Frank Annoh-Dompreh has set the record straight, pointing out that the Majority side of the House has their numbers to ensure the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of government is passed on Friday, November 26, 2021 at a quick press briefing.

Responding to the Minority side that they (the majority) were delaying in coming to the chamber to conclude debate on the budget for reasons they do not know, he said their side was coincidentally having a caucus meeting when they had a call from the Rt. Hon Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin for a leadership meeting, so they had to leave and later return to conclude their caucus meeting     

He recounted the incident of the approval of some Minister nominees of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government when they were black mailed, but the said Minister nominees got more votes than their current numbers.

“We got more votes than our numbers, yes or no? “Whatever happens the people of this country would hear good news; we know the schemes they are up to, we are ready”

When journalists inquire further if Ken Ohene Agyapong, Assin Central lawmaker and Dome Kwabenya lawmaker Sarah Adwoa Safo were in the country, as it is being alleged by some MPs in the Minority that charted flights are bringing down MPs on the Majority side from outside the country, he said; “It is your estimation, we are ready, do not worry whether someone is here or not; we have our numbers”.

“The significant matter of today is not lost on us, approval of the budget; it  goes to the core of  the welfare of Ghanaians peoples’ salaries, that of  MPs, a significant part of our population,  public servants is dependent on the budget  all expectant for the passage of this budget”.

The Minority   have made is abundantly clear that they are against it, Ghanaians, we heard them and they know all the schemes they are engaged in. “We are carrying the strong aspiration of the people of this country, those aspirations are that we want to make sure we pass this budget to give these public servants the needed liquidity”, he concluded.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Samuel Nartey accuses sections of the media for unfair reportage on Speakers comments

Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram Samuel Nartey George has taken a swipe at a section of the media for being unfair to the Rt. Hon Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin.

According to him words of the Speaker have been twisted and misreported and the Speaker is not happy with it but is an issue for discussing at the appropriate time.

He made this remarks on Friday, November 26, 2021 midday when he pointed out to the media at a press conference that his colleagues on the Majority side of the House have not showed up in the chamber for debate on the budget to be concluded and a vote taken.

A member of the Parliamentary Press Corps inquired if the Speaker would not enter the chamber if the Minority side says they are in the chamber in their numbers. This he responded saying, “I hope you the media would not say the Speaker is bias when he walks in to do business”.

“We would take up issues with some of you, you have been very unfair to Mr. Speaker and coming to start business on the floor has nothing to do with the Speaker. The Speaker was not elected by Ghanaians to come and do business for them, it’s the members of parliament who have been elected, they should come and seat in the chamber”, he lamented.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Conclusion of Budget Debate: Speaker suspends House for 30 minutes

Rt. Hon Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin on Friday afternoon at 1:20pm suspended sittings on the floor of the House for thirty minutes when he moved into the chamber and realised that the Majority side of the House was empty.

According to him he has been informed that the Majority side were having caucus meeting and the information that he was informed of the meeting was not true, and that he was informed earlier that  both caucuses were in a meeting which time has long passed.

“I am aware of that, we just finished a meeting, I wanted the first deputy Speaker to come and preside, he left and later came back because of the agitation of members. So I decided to preside and walked straight to our lobby.  I asked if members are in the chamber and they said yes; no one came to inform me that they were having caucus meeting that is why I came to preside”.

Mr. Bagbin noted that he only came to the chamber and noticed there was no one on the side of the Majority;  “I would plead with you for us to suspend for 30 minutes then come as a House, not half of the House to conclude the debate on government Economic Policy estimate for the financial year 2022”

Again, he urged leadership of both sides of the House to activate the usual channel of communication that seems to have been blocked. “Let us all come on board so that we know when to do this, and when not to do that”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Sam George urges Ghanaians to call their NPP MPs to parliament

Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram Samuel George Nartey called on Ghanaians in Constituencies which are occupied the by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs to call their lawmaker to move into the chamber to conduct business of the House on Friday, November 26, 2021.

The Ningo-Prampram lawmaker held a press conference at 12:09pm when his colleagues on the Majority side of the House did not have a single MP on the floor for the budget debate to be concluded

“We the Minority we are full in our numbers in the chamber, the Speaker is ready to commence business of the House, notice getting to him from clerks at the table indicates that no member of the NPP  is present, we need to know what is going on. Are   they no longer interested in passing the budget, they are no longer interested in imposing the hardship they want to impose on Ghanaians, they should come and let us take the budget; this is serious business”.

 He lamented that two hours pass the  starting time the Minority  they still waiting for planes that would arrive with MPs from outside the country,  are they  supposed to site till all of them arrive in the chamber,  we have serious business and governing a country belong to serious minds.

And if they are not in a position to run this country, they should say so and let serious minds take over running of the state, parliament cannot be held hostage by the Majority, every Minority member is in his chair, they need to do this before the House rises on December 17, 2021.

Again, you the media you have been here for three to four hours, Majority has no concern for you,  Leader of government business  has not care for you,  use your medium to tell Ghanaians to call on their MPs to come into the chamber so that we can work, he added.

On the issue of consultation, he noted that   there is no consultation that is greater than the floor of the House; “they should come to the floor, the people of Ghana demand accountability from parliament many of them walk in and walk out of the chamber.

“There is only one demand that the minority is prepared to consider, a complete withdrawal of the draconian taxes, no other consideration are going to be considered by us”, he emphasised.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“Majority would have a full pack House ready to do battle with the Minority”—Dompreh

Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh has served notice to the Minority side that their side would pack the House with its members as it would position itself to respond to the Minority Leaders notice of invoking Article 104 of the 1992 Constitution.

According to him they find it interesting the comment by the Speaker on they not having the numbers on the floor at 7:00pm on Thursday, November 25, 2021 when the House was still in session.

“We are ready to meet you tomorrow”, (Friday November 26, 2021), he stated. He, however, pointed out that he understands the difficulties his side is in and takes the advice of the Speaker.

The Speaker reminded the Majority Whip that his side would always not have the numbers to take decisions; that is why I say you have to learn lessons. “I continue to call you Majority group because you have an Independent who wants to do business with you, let us get to the point where we develop this country together”.

Article 104 (1) states that “Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, matters in Parliament shall be determined by the votes of the majority of members present and voting, with at least half of all the members of Parliament present.

(2) The Speaker shall have neither an original nor casting vote.

(3) Where the votes on any motion are equal it shall be taken to be lost.

(5) Where Parliament is considering a bill to amend the Constitution, amend the constitution or where the voting is in relation to the election or removal of any person wader this Constitution or under any other law, voting shall be in secret.

(5) A member who is a party to or a partner in a firm which is a party to a contract with the Government shall declare his interest and not vote on any question relating to the contract.”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Minority Leader to invoke Article 104 as House concludes on 2022 budget debate today

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has served notice that he intend to invoke Article 104 of the 1992 Republic Constitution of Ghana as the House concludes debate on the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the President Nana Akufo-Addo lead government.

According to him this would give clear indication to Ghanaians on where they as the Minority stand with regards to the budget.

The Minority has so far not minced words in showcasing their disapproval of the 2022 budget, as indicated at a post budget workshop at Ho, and during debate on the floor of the House.

Rt. Hon Speaker Bagbin indicated that he hopes lessons would be learnt by the Majority side, following the virtually empty seats that characterized the majority side of the house as at 7:00pm on the floor of the House on Thursday.

“I am just drawing your attention to lessons, I decided to call you the Majority group because the Independent MP has agreed to do business with you, but there is not Majority party in this parliament now”, the Speaker stated.

And told the House he would want it to go by the concept of the founders of Ghana to see how the House can work together to develop mother Ghana, but “you are so stick to your partisanship that it is difficult. As we move along, I would do my best to hold the balance to make sure we get there”.

Article 104 (1) states; “Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, matters in Parliament shall be determined by the votes of the majority of members present, and voting with at least half of all the members of Parliament present.

(2) The Speaker shall have neither an original nor casting vote.

(3) Where the votes on any motion are equal it shall be taken to be lost.

(5) Where Parliament is considering a bill to amend the Constitution, amend the constitution or where the voting is in relation to the election or removal of any person wader this Constitution or under any other law, voting shall be in secret.

(5) A member who is a party to or a partner in a firm which is a party to a contract with the Government shall declare his interest and not vote on any question relating to the contract.”

Kwaku Saky-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Minority wants welfare issues solved before approval of 2022 Budget – Annor Dompreh

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Adoagyiri-Nsawam in the Eastern Region, Frank Annor Dompreh, has alleged that his colleagues on the Minority side in Parliament want their welfare issues addressed before approving the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government.

He was speaking on the floor of the House on Wednesday on concerns raised by the Member for Banda, Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim as to why the Finance Minister or any of his deputies were not in Parliament.

Mr. Annor Dompreh said the Minister was not there because the Minority Leadership is pursuing him for their welfare issues and the ministers are working on it.

According to him, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus in Parliament has hatched a plan to disapprove the government’s 2022 budget because they have outstanding issues on their welfare.

“And they want to use the absence of the Minister or his deputies as an excuse to make a case and halt the debate on the 2022 Budget Statement.”

Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim on his feet said, “Mr. Speaker, the 2022 Budget Statement was presented to us by the Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, and as the debate is going on, we want him to be here to be taking notes of concerns that will be raised by members who are representing their respective Constituencies.”

“If the Minister who presented the budget to us is not here, then we should also not debate on something he brought to us from the government, because we were not with him at the Cabinet meeting to know what their plans are.”

But First Deputy Speaker, Mr. Joseph Osei Owusu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bekwai in the Ashanti region, directed the Minority side to continue with the debate since there is no Order in the Standing Orders that states until the Minister or any of his deputies are in the Chamber, the debate cannot go on.

Moreover, there were senior personnel from the Ministry who could take notes and report to the Minister.

The Speaker’s ruling did not settle the matter but rather angered the Minority Caucus who called on the Speaker to ask the Majority Chief Whip, Mr. Annor Dompreh to withdraw his comments and apologize to them.

 The Nsawam-Adoagyiri Lawmaker, however, insisted that there are welfare issues that the Minority want settled before they commenced with budget debate on Wednesday.

“Mr. Speaker what I said was that there have been outstanding welfare issues that we have been fighting for, and that is a statement of fact. And I challenge my colleagues in leadership; they should tell this House if we have not been pursuing welfare concerns for members. That is a statement of fact, and I will find it very difficult to withdraw that,” he insisted.

“There are outstanding issues that I have been going after together with the leadership, that is what it is, and I cannot withdraw this. I don’t know why you should find this offensive. Hon. Avedzi, what is the offence in saying there are outstanding issues the Ministers are working on hence their absence in Parliament.”

The Majority Chief Whip had earlier said the Minority has been holding meetings to discuss ways to influence Ghanaians to stand against the 2022 budget, and some of these secret meetings were attended by former President John Mahama to strategize ways to downplay the budget.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com