August 19, 2018
A civil society group by name Economic Fighters League has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye to declare the seat of fifty-four Members of Parliament vacant for absenting themselves more than fifteen times in the first session of the seven Parliament of the fourth Republic.

In a petition signed by its General Secretary, Hardi Yakubu the group indicated that they are making their demand base on a research work done by civil society group Odekro backed by Article 97 (1) (c ) of the 1992 constitution.

Article 97 (1) “A member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament (c) if he is absent, without permission in writing of the Speaker and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on privilege from fifteen sitting of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continuous to meet”.

The petition of the group indicated that the Speaker of Parliament had to adjourn the sittings on several occasions for want of quorum.

And pointed out that the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu had to lament over the attitude and said those who absent themselves should properly not be before the House and the petition supported that position saying it was back by the constitution.

Mr. Hardi Yakubu further said the absenteeism by legislators was not only depriving Ghanaians proper representation in the legislature, but can also lead to poor scrutiny of Bills, agreements and also Executive actions.

He further added that the record show that the said MPs did not provide any “reasonable explanation”, to the privileges committee.

The group indicated to the Speaker that doing nothing about the chronic absenteeism does not help in upholding the constitution and goes to confirm the view that the laws of Ghana only work when some class of citizens are involved.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/