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“Democracy must improve human lives”—Bagbin

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban S.K Bagbin, has said that democracy anywhere must serve the purpose of improving upon the quality of human lives and meeting the hopes and aspirations of the people.

Therefore, the legislature must add value to interventions targeted at improving upon the lot of the citizenry, and not the reverse.

He was speaking during a courtesy call on him by the Qatari Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Mohammed Ahmed Al Homid, at Parliament House in Accra.

Also present to call on him was the Indonesian Consular, H.E. Pascal Rois. Both visits were aimed at exploring ways of strengthening relations between Ghana on one hand, and on the other, Qatar and Indonesia.

It was also to understand the dynamics at play in Ghana’s parliament at the moment, given the composition of the House.

Referring to the challenges posed by the hung Parliament that Ghana has today, Rt. Hon. Bagbin said: “there is the need for all of us, myself inclusive, to break this jinx, so Ghana’s parliament can return to the days of consultation, dialogue and consensus building, and move them a notch higher”.

He was of the view that “the culture of give and take” must be encouraged, since that is the only way the country can mitigate the current political tensions.

Mr Bagbin said the quality of a country’s human resource and the strength of its institutions mattered most, when it comes to democracy; and commended the leaders of Qatar for persisting in investing in their people and building their own systems of governance and administration, irrespective of their strong relationship with western countries.

He was concerned about avenues for development, especially for women, who are financially challenged and said, “Our countries cannot be fully developed, if focus and priority is only given to men, whilst women are still largely without similar opportunities to improve upon themselves.” For example, he said, out of the 275 parliamentarians in Ghana’s parliament, the females are only 40, representing 14.5%, which is inadequate.

He called for a stronger relationship between Ghana and Qatar to create more employment opportunities for the citizens of both countries, whilst supporting Ghana to strengthen the caliber of her human resources, through partnership in education and other capacity building interventions.

The Qatari Ambassador said Ghana and Qatar share common values when it comes to democracy, particularly the role of parliament. Besides, he said, the two countries are committed to, not only strengthening parliament, but also strengthening the relations among parliamentary institutions under the banner of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU).

H.E. Al Homid said apart from education, the energy sector, trade and commerce are areas where the two countries can collaborate. Ahead of Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2023, the envoy wished Ghana well in the upcoming qualifiers with Nigeria and extended a welcoming hand to all Ghanaians, especially football enthusiasts to visit Qatar to watch the World Cup Tournament.

The Indonesian delegation, led by the Consular H.E Pascal Rois, and their team from parliament discussed capacity building exchange programmes between Ghana and Indonesia, and scholarship programmes in Indonesia that Ghanaians can take advantage of.

There was a request to Ghana to waive visa requirements for Indonesian businessmen who want to explore opportunities in Ghana to help improve upon trade and commerce between the two countries.


Ghana students in Ukraine need to be evacuated—Haruna Iddrisu

The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has called on government to do all it can to help evacuate Ghanaian students from Ukraine in the wake of the attacks from Russia as he invoke Order 72 to raise a matter of urgent public importance.

According to him the Foreign, Interior and Finance Ministries should work together to take urgent steps to ensure the safety of Ghanaians in Ukraine towards immediate evacuation. This, he noted, is a must to show students and their parents that they are Ghanaians and deserve our support, he added.

Mr. Iddrisu raising the issue on the floor of the House on Thursday, February 24, 2022 urged the Finance Ministry to make money available to the Foreign Ministry since there are a number of Ghanaians studying medicine there as well as some lawmakers sponsoring some students there.

The situation, he noted, is very worrying but pointed out that the House would not go into the diplomatic related matters of Ukraine and Russia.  Ghana’s foreign position would be on that matter, but given the situation of a near war and Russia not yielding to the diplomatic maneuvers of the West leader by the French President.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“I did not grant Adwoa Safo permission on health grounds”—Bagbin

Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has dismissed reports making rounds in the media he granted Dome/Kwabenya lawmaker, Sarah Adowa Safo permission to absent herself with permission on health grounds.

According to him he wants the world to know that he did not grant any such interview anywhere and have not said anything like that anywhere, and the votes and proceedings of Parliament is so loud on that.

Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister

“She has been absent without permission for all those days, that is on the votes and proceedings of the House. It is not the Speaker who determines who is present and absent , the votes and proceedings would capture that”.

Again, those who are absent with permission would be captured. He pointed out on Thursday, February 24, 2022, and added that he has received a lot of calls from journalists on the subject matter and he does not want to delay in addressing issues on that matter.

“I am going to address the issue on absentee MPs very clearly for everybody to understand tomorrow”.

Below are messages making rounds on social media:


Adwoa Safo asked permission from me. I have a written note from her asking for permission on health grounds, and Parliament is aware of her health condition. She did not violate Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution.



Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

There are MPs who only come to Parliament to break the 15 days rule; why Adwoa Safo?—Agbodza

Member of Parliament for Adaklu, Governs Kwame Agbodza has reminded his colleagues in the Majority that there are a number of their colleagues who do not show up in Parliament regularly, but do so just to break the 15 days rule as stipulated by the Standing Orders for MPs who absent themselves without permission.

“Why is Sarah Adwoa Safo the issue of interest currently, meanwhile some people you can hardly know if they are Members of Parliament, I do not see the fixation on Adwoa, we know as friends would tell us, she has not been well for some time”.

According to him it is not for him to tell what she is sick of, “I also got sick sometime at a point in time, I had COVID for two weeks, I was very ill for almost a month, I was not here, what is special about Adwoa’s situation, so the New Patriotic Party needs to be so callous?”

He questioned what it is about Adwoa that the NPP does not know. “I don’t think it is fair the NPP is being so unfair to her, they have the ability to find out what is wrong with her and how to deal with it; if it’s all about E-Levy, everybody’s life is more important than E-Levy. If I am sick, do you think I would try to be here to vote on anything?” he said in an interview.

Again, he noted that she has worn the seat for them many times; today you are telling her and the father that they are nobody. The party does not belong to them, she has never claim the party belongs to her, he emphasized.

As to how to address the issue of MPs not attending to chamber and only come to make up for the forbidden fifteen days absence, he said, “it is difficult for me to tell why people would not come to the House when the 15 days is about reaching they would come and do two days and leave the popular ones. When they come the two hours they spend here they come and mumble and leave”.

“If the 15days thing is something they want to trigger let them do it, you need a certain number of MPs to do it. The inability of Adwoa to come to parliament I don’t see how it’s affecting the economy. I do not think the insecurity in the country is as a result of the inability of Adwoa to be in the chamber”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Speaker sounds warning over salary of persons on government payroll.

Rt. Hon Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin told lawmakers on Thursday, February 24, 2022 before departing the chamber that, if something is not done in the next three months, the government may not be able to pay salaries of workers.

As such he urged lawmakers to show leadership to finding solution to the problem.

As part of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday, Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin expressed concerns over the possible effect of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on Ghana’s economy.


Speaker threatens to cause arrest of noisy MPs

The Rt. Hon Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has serve a strong warning to Members of Parliament that he might be compelled to get the marshal’s office to arrest lawmakers who make noise, disturb and don’t pay attention to him whiles he is presiding in the chair.

“Parliament is not a place for joking, it is a place for serious business; our current parliament have never been witnessed by Ghana not even the Gold Coast, it’s a different type of parliament, we must be prepared to change to accept the decision of the people and work together”.

Rt. Hon Speaker Bagbin made this comments on Wednesday, February 23, 2022 before he officially gave his communications which witness MPs talking among themselves whiles he was presiding. He said, “When the Speaker is talking, members are also talking; Speakers are heard in silence for good reasons”.

 And further told the House that what is happening in Ghana’s Parliament is unacceptable, I am not sure you have acceptance of the temperature of the country, neither is he sure they know the nature of the responsibility that has been placed on their shoulders.

“You are all mature adults in this House, what I’m talking about is still happening, you make me sick, would you shut up, do you rule out of order in this House?”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Haruna expresses disappointment in first Deputy Speaker’s ruling; calms colleagues

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has expressed disappointment in the ruling of the first Deputy Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu when he threw away a motion he was part of, that sought a bi-partisan enquiry into Ghana’s expenditure on funds to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020.

According to him he is worried for future parliamentary Ad Hoc Committees that would seek under Article 103 of the 1992 constitution to enquire into any matter of public interest, noting that their motion was simple and admitted by the Rt. Hon Speaker.

“Dismissal by the first Deputy Speaker, interesting times in Ghana and sometimes this is what invites chaos into the chamber; a deputy Speaker dismissed application of a motion saying it ought not to be admitted; and I hoped he is not assuming to have more powers than the Rt. Hon Speaker?”

Mr. Iddrisu noted at a press conference organised on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 that both the Health Minister and Finance have not adequately accounted for the COVID expenditure and want Ghanaians to take note.

“I am refereeing to the 2.5 billion Ghanaian cedis announced in the 2022 budget as expenditure over the 2021 period that has not been accounted for anywhere in any budget, or any expenditure during the budget hearing. You heard the Minister of Foreign Affairs say, Minister of Finance spent 65million Ghana cedis on my behalf; it is not a procurement entity of Foreign Affairs. So how were those expenditures committed by what procurement procedures to guarantee value for money?” he queried.

And further noted the Deputy Minister of Finance Abena Osei-Asare attempted to explain but she could not account for 65million Ghana cedis but ended up, with explanation on 21 to 30million Ghana cedis.

Hence a motion was moved, civil society like Ghana Integrity Initiative have presented a damming report on the COVID expenditure and they do not want sunshine on darkness of corruption,  “Ghanaians voted for this government and they cannot uphold itself to the values of probity and accountability”

In addition, he pointed out that they can only be disappointed by the ruling of the deputy Speaker and urged his colleagues to be calm, they have lost not even a vote on a motion, “There are many more motions to come; even tomorrow we would move the motion on frontiers which is doing open thievery at the airport, it did not go through any procurement process.

And a probe would expose different prices of different Ministries of nose mask and promise to subject the ruling of the Speaker to thorough scrutiny. “We could not be wrong about Article 191 and 103 (3) which talk about investigation.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Osei-Owusu throws out motion for bi-partisan COVID-19 expenditure committee

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Joseph Osei-Owusu on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 threw out a motion seeking to have a bi-partisan parliamentary enquiry into the expenditures made by the Government of Ghana in relation to COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.

In his ruling, he noted that there should be guiding principles on matters that they are being called on to set up a committee to investigate, stating that the request did not come under any of the standing and select committee of the House.

According to him, “in my view, it falls under the Public Account Committee and indeed all the Committees of the House including the PAC are bi-partisan and the PAC by nature is designed to be chaired by the Minority in all its forms”.

And further added that the PAC if it is minded to investigate anything related with COVID    expenditure is fully faced with the authority and the power to investigate that, as all the accounting of it has been provided for in the budget which has been presented before the House and it is before the committee.

“Anyway, my view is that this motion ought not to be admitted, and is improperly before the House, I so rule”.

Motion 21, he said, was admitted by the Rt. Hon Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, and is as follows, “this House constitute a bi-partisan parliamentary Committee chaired by a Member of the Minority Caucus to enquire into the expenditure made by Government of Ghana in relation to COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020”, moved by Haruna Iddrisu, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka and Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson.”

He quoted standing Order 191, “the House at any time by motion appoints special or Ad Hoc Committee to investigate any matter of public importance to consider any bill that has not come under any of the jurisdiction of the select committees of the House a matter of public importance or a Bill which does not come under the jurisdiction of the of any of the standing or select Committees of the House” to support his ruling.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Speaker cautions against unduly delaying works of some Committees

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Alban Bagbin has cautioned the leadership of the majority and minority groups in Parliament to desist from attempts to unduly delay the works of some Committees of Parliament.

According to the Speaker, the development had stalled a number of parliamentary businesses and made it difficult for the House to perform its oversight role.

He emphasized that while it is the duty of all committees, to give the matters referred to it due and sufficient consideration, such consideration should not be used to delaying Parliamentary works.

The Speaker gave the caution when he delivered a formal communication to the House during Tuesday, February 22, 2022 proceedings in the chamber.

The Constitution does not provide a time frame within which a committee must complete its work, except in instances of a Bill introduced by or on behalf of the President.

Under these circumstances, Article 106(14) of the Constitution requires that such a bill must not be delayed for more than three months in any committee of Parliament.

Speaker Bagbin further bemoaned the absence of committee minutes at the conclusion of deliberations; and charged committee Clerks to be guided by Order 212(2) of the Standing Orders of parliament.

He warned that Cluster heads of the committee groupings will be held directly responsible for absence of minutes; and same would be treated as dereliction of duty.


Majority not against accountability, transparency in COVID-19 expenditure —Afenyo

Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo Markin has said the Majority side is not against accountability and transparency in a bi-partisan parliamentary enquiry into the expenditures made by the Ghana Government in relation to COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.

According to him what his side wants is that the due process would be followed as what the Minority is seeking to do is the job of the Auditor-General by the constitutional dictates of Article 187of the 1992 constitution.

And further added at a press conference he addressed on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 after the first Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu dismissed a private members motion 21 which seeks that the House constitutes a bi-partisan parliamentary Committee chaired by a Member of the Minority Caucus to enquire into the expenditure made by Government of Ghana in relation to COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.

Mr. Afenyo-Markin further told members of the Parliamentary Press Corps their colleagues in the Minority are being over partisan in a way to prepare towards election 2024 as democracy respect the rule of law, “that is the only way democratic principles can be sustained, we cannot do it as and when it is suitable to us”.

Again, public expenditure is a matter of public record and Parliament approves certain facilities, “there is no way  in this day and age with the GIFMIX system government can spend and hide,  no matter what,  the Auditor General would have a look at it”, he said.

“What is the difference between enquiry and audit? I think audit is a proper step to take to unravel irregularities. All their argument is on irregularity; thanks to the first Deputy Speaker for his ruling”.

Responding to questions from journalists in Parliament, the Deputy Majority Leader cautioned them not to fall into the trap where someone is talking about COVID-19 expenditure as the Auditor-Generals report expenditures on COVID-19 can be verified.

“You do not need to prepare a separate account report on COVID. Our colleagues are just being mischievous”. As to the oversight responsibility of parliament, he emphasised that when the AG is done with his work, the report would be sent to Parliament, and Public Account Committee has the mandate to set up a Committee to look into the report and other matters would flow from there.

“We should move one step at a time, we are not blocking them, we think they want to side-step the powers of the Auditor General; they want to create the impression that there is some issue of no clarity in some expenditure which we think it is unfair”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com