March 9, 2022

The Minority has described the ruling by the Supreme Court on the matter as to whether a person presiding over proceedings in parliament as Speaker can vote consistent with Article 102 of the 1992 Constitution which provides for the quorum and Articles 104 can exercise a vote whiles presiding as judicial support for E-Levy.

Leading the Minority in addressing the media in parliament on the Supreme Court ruling, the Minority Leader said the ruling is a judicial interference in time tested parliamentary practice and established convention.

“Everywhere in the world, in civilized democracies including the United Kingdom, the presiding officer’s vote is discounted, so it is not for nothing that Article 102 provides that a person presiding shall have no original or casting votes.”

“The Supreme Court, to put it aptly; this ruling is judicial support for E-Levy, nothing more, for a struggling economy in distress and judicial support for the restoration of a matter that they have said is constitutional is repugnant to the provision of article 102 and 104. But what can we do. They are clothed with the mandate and authority to interpret the law.

This is a travesty of parliamentary justice and a stab in the growth and development of multi-party constitutional democracy build on the spirit and principle of checks and balances” the stressed.
According to him, it is intriguing for us to hear while we await the full report on the reasoning of the Supreme Court from one of the justices that “the quorum in article 102 is not the same thing as the quorum in Article 104.

That is the ruling. But we know that for quorum, Article 102 is authoritative on the composition of quorum for parliament for purpose of conducting active business. We cannot see any material difference in the provisions of 104. But for their purposes, they have said that you have to interpret 102 differently and separately from Article 104. They ought to know that article 102 even the side notes marginal note says quorum of parliament”.

He opined that the judiciary of Ghana is also failing Ghana’ Parliamentary democracy in their inability to appreciate the true meaning of Article 110 of the Constitution that Parliament by standing orders regulars its own proceedings. “When we regulate our own proceedings and today reference is only made to the 1992 Constitution, and not to the standing orders of the parliament of Ghana, and in particular Standing Order 13, then there is a problem.

“Today as we speak, the Speaker is indisposed; there is a presiding person in the First Deputy Speaker, so what would happen while the first deputy is presiding , there is no second Deputy Speaker, who will preside to supervise him voting for our purposes”, he queried.

“This is a judicial support for President Nana Akufo Addo Danquah’s E-levy that he is labouring to pass. We remain opposed to it; stich by stich, clause by clause, article by article; when it is presented, we would fight back strongly with our 137 votes.”

They served notice that from today maybe there would be a new definition for who a first or second deputy Speaker is because maybe they don’t deserve us according them the offices they occupy, maybe that is what the Supreme Court is ruling”.

According to the Supreme Court

1). A Deputy Speaker is entitled to be counted as a. member of Parliament for quorum

2). A deputy speaker or any other member can vote and take part in the decision of parliament.

3). Order 109(3) of the standing orders of parliament has been struck down as unconstitutional.

4. The 2022 budget passed is constitutional and legal.

Dominic Shirimori/