Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has stated that currently, he is the highest ranked person in the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He said, “Officially, if you look at the national ranks protocol wise, former presidents don’t have any position.”
He continued, “Despite the fact that I am the highest ranked in my party, I should not be seen doing the bidding of the NDC in Parliament because of the nature of my functions as an impartial arbiter.”
He added that because he is a member of the political party which is not in government, and as a Speaker, he can say certain things to the President that some other speakers could not have done.
“I can also do same to my party, the NDC. So at the end of the day, I’m not a friend to the party in government and the party in opposition,” he added.
The Speaker of the country’s legislative assembly stated this at a press soiree organised by the Parliamentary Service for journalists in the Western Region as part of activities marking the 30 years of uninterrupted democracy under the Fourth Republic.
The event offered journalists the opportunity to interact with the Speaker on ways to promote the country’s democracy.
Mr. Bagbin disagreed with the assertion that the current Parliament is the worst in the country’s history.
He said the current Parliament is the one that had been able to hold the current executive arm of government to account, which was not the case before.
“This is the Parliament that you see the Minority doing the work of the Majority because the Majority are not fully present in Parliament always, and you can check for yourselves,” he told the journalists.
He added that most of the time, the Majority are not up to 20 members on the floor of Parliament yet the House would proceed with its business.
He said with the previous Parliament, members would have raised issue about quorum and the House would not be able to sit.
“But the case is now different because of the hung Parliament that we have.
“The current Parliament is not a hung one in terms of numbers, but also the Speaker is from the party that is not in government,” he stressed.
He continued, “So the Speaker cannot be prevailed upon by the President to do the bidding of the party in government.”
“If you don’t want this Parliament, then which would you like? Those who are saying this is the worst Parliament, including my First Deputy Speaker, want a Parliament where they would have absolute majority so they could be saying Yeeyee! to every issue,” he pointed out.
He indicated that the current Parliament is one that has a First Deputy Speaker overturning the ruling of the Speaker.
“It’s happened because the Speaker is a democrat and knows that the Standing Orders of Parliament have a procedure to allow only Members of Parliament (MPs) to do so, and you know I am not an MP.
“So when people were asking why the Speaker did not do anything about that act, I knew that the Standing Orders allow the MPs to do that,” he explained.
The Speaker expressed gratitude to the media for its immense contributions which had helped to sustain the country’s democracy under the Fourth Republic for 30 years.