The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has defended the appointment of the General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, to the Parliamentary Service Board.
He said Mr. Asiedu Nketia’s inclusion on the board was not out of place.
According to him, even though Mr. Nketia holds a political party office, his membership on the board will not amount to an undesired intrusion into the governance of Parliament by a political party.
Haruna Iddrisu who is the Minority Leader and Abraham Osei Aidoo, a former New Patriotic Party MP for Tema West, and Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is the Majority Leader, were appointed on Monday to the Parliamentary Service Board by the Speaker who was acting on the advice of the Advisory Committee of Parliament.
The Speaker said, “I now have in my hands the advice of the House. The advice is to the effect that the Advisory Committee, after a long period of discussion, submits for appointment the names of the following people, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Haruna Iddrisu, Abraham Osei Aidoo and Johnson Asiedu Nketia.”
He indicated that some members of the advisory committee, however, thought that the membership of Mr. Nketia might amount to an undesired intrusion into the governance of Parliament by a political party and may not in the circumstances, hold well for the independence of Parliament since Mr. Nketia is the general secretary of a major political party.
“I want to note that the former Parliamentary Service Board had Hackman Owusu Agyemang as a member of the board. And Hackman Owusu Agyemang later became the Chairman of the Council of Elders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP),” he argued, while justifying the membership of Mr. Nketia.
The Speaker further explained that membership of a political party office holder is not extreme, stressing “that of Mr. Agyemang was not intrusion into the governance of Parliament by a political party. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
“As we speak today, the Chairman of the Board of Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority is who? Peter Mac-Manu, the former Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).”
He said even the body language of the Majority Leader showed that he (Majority Leader) was excited about Mr. Nketia’s inclusion on the board.
“I saw that there was some body language and hands between you (Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu) and Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs (Committee), so I was waiting on you (referring to Majority Leader).”
The Majority Leader in response said, “Yes, Mr. Speaker there was some sign language. He was asking whether I wanted to challenge your view and I said I don’t intend to challenge. I will not challenge your view even if I disagree with you.”
“The reason being that if I should ever challenge your ruling, and maybe there is a debate on it, what would I have succeeded in doing? Inflicting an immortal wound on the chair,” Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu argued.
According to him, challenging the Speaker’s decision will also bring the credibility of the House down.
“I will never do that. Mr. Speaker that is why I declined that invitation; I will not do that because it is for us to protect the Speakership and I will do that.” the Majority Leader said.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House