THE SECOND Session of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic will begin on January 25, this year, with the blows that characterised the work of the House last year coming into focus.
Pandemonium broke out on the floor of the House on the night of Monday, December 20, 2021 when the Electronic Transaction Levy Bill, popularly known as E-Levy, was being voted upon by MPs on whether it should be taken under a certificate of urgency.
The whole commotion was started by the Minority MPs who moved closer to the Speaker’s seat in an attempt to snatch it and prevent further proceedings of the House.
This is not the first time the NDC MPs have tried to snatch the Speaker’s seat and even attack the mace as well, with some members of the Majority Group also heckled by the Minority MPs during the free-for-all fight.
In the case of the Sports Minister and MP for Yagba-Kubori, who was allegedly slashed on the face, he was seen receiving a hefty slap from a member on the Minority side.
This came as a result of the sit-in Speaker, Joseph Osei-Wusu’s announcement that he was going out of the chamber after the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, had earlier left the chamber unceremoniously.
The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the Bekwai MP (Osei-Wusu) felt unwell and also decided to walk out and hand over to the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah (Fomena), to take over the proceedings.
The move by the First Deputy Speaker (Osei-Wusu) got the unruly NDC MPs agitated once again and they questioned his decision to vote after presiding over the night’s proceedings.
The NDC MPs then started amassing closer to the Speaker’s seat and issuing threats to the sit-in Speaker.
This also got the Majority side in Parliament to defend the First Deputy Speaker from being harmed and immediately Mr. Osei-Wusu handed over the presiding role to the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, fight broke out leading to Mustapha Ussif taking his share of the unruly action after he received a slap from an NDC MP.
The NDC MPs namely A.B.A Fuseini (Sagnarigu), and Edwin NiiLante Vanderpuye (Odododiodio), walked over to the podium and attempted to grab the Speaker’s chair, but they were prevented by the members of the Majority Caucus.
The parliamentary security then jumped in to stop the disturbances and the House was compelled to adjourn abruptly.
While the ugly scenes were unfolding on the floor of Parliament, the whereabouts of the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin remained unknown, with the members of the Majority Caucus accusing him of unceremoniously leaving Parliament ahead of a crucial decision just to give the Minority advantage.
Many Ghanaians wonder whether the exchange of blows, which attracted public opprobrium when it was enacted by the Members of Parliament (MPs) in the dying days of the last session, will be witnessed once again, especially when there is an unfinished business on the E-Levy.
The NDC has vowed to stop the E-Levy, pegged at 1.75%, and even though they claimed they rejected the budget, their MPs on the various committees were involved in the passage of the budget estimates of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies for the 2022 financial year.
However, a notice from Parliament signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Kate Addo, said the Second Session would commence on January 25 at 10o’clock in the forenoon at Parliament House, Accra.
It entreated all MPs and staff of the Parliamentary Service to take note and attend upon the House timeously.
A session of Parliament is the sitting(s) of the House which commence(s) upon the first Meeting of Parliament after dissolution and end(s) when it is dissolved.
By a Constitutional Instrument, the Speaker of Parliament exercises the power of summoning a new session of Parliament.
A session of Parliament is made up of periods known as meetings. A meeting is a sitting or sittings of the House commencing when it first meets after being summoned at any time and ending when Parliament is adjourned sine die(with no appointed date for resumption) or at the conclusion of a session.
Ordinarily, there are three meetings in a session with the first meeting beginning from January and ending March. The second meeting starts from May and ends in July, while the third meeting commences in October and ends in December.
It is expected that this session will be used to push through unfinished businesses of the House, particularly the Electronic Transaction Levy which generated controversies leading to chaotic scenes before the House adjourned sine die.
BY Ernest Kofi Adu