Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin and Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka
THE MINORITY Chief Whip, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, has deployed an epithet against the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, calling him a dictator.
According to him, the Speaker is gradually turning the parliamentary chamber into a palace by increasingly becoming intolerant to disagreement.
“I am sorry to say this. When you want to turn the Chamber of Parliament into a palace, then you become a tyrant. He is becoming a tyrant.
“You are not a chief; you are supposed to be the Speaker of Parliament, and a Speaker listens to both sides patiently even where there is a disagreement, and that is the essence of democracy, to sometimes even agree to disagree,” he stated on Accra-based Joy News.
Mr. Muntaka, who is also the NDC MP for Asawase, continued, “But when you personalise it and make it to look as if a disagreement is a disrespect to you or is an affront to you or it’s like denigrating you, then I’m sorry, you will be a bad Speaker.”
The Minority Chief Whip was expressing his disappointment with the setting up of an ad-hoc committee that investigated the issues contained in the censure motion against Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
He had openly demonstrated his disagreement with the Speaker on the floor of the House by exchanging words with him during the setting up of the committee.
Muntaka said even though Mr. Bagbin remains his favourite Speaker, his predecessor, Prof. Mike Aaron Oquaye was better at building consensus during his tenure.
He described the ad-hoc committee set up to investigate issues in the censure motion as a kangaroo committee, suggesting that it was an unnecessary process.
In his view, Speaker Bagbin acted beyond his powers when he created the eight-member committee to probe the censure motion.
The NDC MP said the Standing Orders of Parliament does not allow the Speaker to create an ad-hoc committee when a member of the House has not proposed so.
“That committee was not necessary. Our Standing Orders are very clear and I encourage you to read 106 of our Standing Orders. It is a member who would say that maybe where we have reached in the debate, can we set up a committee to look at the details and report, not for a Speaker to unilaterally refer the thing to a committee and set up a committee to do that,” he stressed.
He intimated that such a proposal could have come from a member of the Majority Caucus, adding, “As at the time when the decision was taken, we were 135 and they were 77.”
“So, if any member on their side had moved for such a committee to be set up, it would have been defeated because it would have been a decision of the House where we’ll vote,” he asserted.
Muntaka said, “And probably, in my view, it was the reason that kind of kangaroo method was used. And I continue to call it kangaroo because in Order 6 where the Standing Order is not explicitly clear, then the Speaker’s discretion can come in.”
He argued that where the Standing Order is clear on any issue, the Speaker has no discretion or authority to do anything on the contrary.
A political desk report