Majority Caucus in Parliament is livid with the Speaker of the House, Alban K.S. Bagbin over the handling of Xavier Sosu’s beef with the police.
According to the majority, the Speaker is instituting a new rule to undermine the rule of law in the country in favour of Francis Xavier Sosu, Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina.
To the Majority, the Speaker is undermining the rule of law without any prior consultation with the leadership of the house.
This is as a result of the several failed attempts by the police to arrest the lawmaker who is alleged to have breached the law during a recent demonstration he led with some residents of his constituency.
The demo was alleged to have resulted in destruction of public properties and obstruction of vehicular movement.
However, Francis-Xavier Sosu has stated that he will not kowtow to any threat from the police and accused the security agency of being untruthful with the fact of the matter.
This has compelled the police to go to court to secure criminal summons against the legislator to appear in court on November 8, 2021.
However the Parliamentary Service is fuming due to the manner the Ghana Police Service is seeking to apprehend the legislator over thevalleged wrongdoing.
In a response to the police, the parliamentary service was of the view that, although the immunity of MPs is not absolute, the legislator cannot be hounded in a way that is unconstitutional and threatens the country’s democracy.
The Service said it finds it difficult to understand why the police administration has failed to secure a certificate from the Speaker of the House before going ahead to effect the arrest of the MP.
But a statement issued by the Majority caucus on the matter said the refusal of the Speaker to release the legislator to assist with investigations into alleged offenses is of extreme concern.
“The Majority leader of Parliament said the 8th Speaker of Parliament appears to be instituting new rules that seem to undermine the Rule of Law without any prior discussions with the Leadership of the House. We ask what exactly has changed?”
In as much as the Majority said they believes in constitutionally guaranteed immunity for MPs they also think it should not be abused.
“However, never should we, as a Parliament, make the mistake of allowing immunity to be construed to mean impunity. We take a firm view that in the particular case under reference, Parliament, as the law-making arm of our democracy, has a constitutional, legal and moral duty to cooperate and collaborate with the Police to ensure that the Rule of Law prevails. Further, Parliament must not be seen to be creating a false regime of two separate laws in Ghana – one for MPs and another for non- MPs. Instead, Parliament must ensure the equality of all citizens, including MPs, before the law,” the statement said.
The Majority Leadership said they views the foregoing response by Speaker Bagbin as a troubling departure from how his predecessors handled such requests.
They therefore referred to moves made by previous Speakers who found themselves in similar situations.
“To avoid doubt, when both Rt. Honourable Joyce Bamford Addo and Edward Doe Adjaho received those requests during their days in office, they responded by inviting the relevant MPs, held discussions with them, and then asked them to report to the requesting Police or investigative authorities. Again, during his tenure as Speaker, Rt Hon Professor Mike Oquaye modified the arrangement, including making the Speaker’s conference room available to the Police to meet with MPs they were interested in and to conduct initial investigations. He did this to protect the dignity of MPs, while at the same time ensuring that MPs are not put above the law. At all these times, Hon. Bagbin, as he then was, had been part of the leadership of the House.”
By Vincent Kubi