‘Speaker Misled Parliament’

Godfred Yeboah Dame


The Majority Caucus has chastised the Speaker of Parliament, Alban S.K. Bagbin, for impeding the business of government by adjourning the House indefinitely without consulting the leadership or approving ministerial nominees.

The Speaker’s action, according to the Majority, constitutes “arbitrariness and capriciousness” that poses a threat to the nation’s governance and democracy.

“The consequences are clear that the economy will suffer and Government business will be undermined because of the pleasure of one man,” the caucus indicated in a statement.

Mr. Bagbin adjourned Parliament sine die on Wednesday, apparently in response to President Akufo-Addo’s refusal to receive the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill passed by Parliament for assent.

This was after he had announced that Parliament would be unable to consider the President’s nominees in the “spirit of upholding the rule of law” until an interlocutory injunction brought against the House is determined by the Supreme Court.

He premised his decision on a “monumental error” that in Suit numbered Jl/12/2024, filed on March 18, 2024 between Rockson Nelson Etse K. Dafeamekpor vrs the Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney General.

The Majority explained even a casual reading of that Supreme Court action is clear that the Dafeamekpor’s action and the injunctive process related to what he conceived as revoked ministers who have been reshuffled into new ministries.

“It beggars belief that our distinguished Speaker could not, or did not want to, appreciate what has been filed in the Supreme Court and which is very unconnected with the President’s Ministerial Nominees who have been vetted and are waiting for the House to approve their nominations,” the Majority stated.

It continued, “The gargantuan contradiction of Mr. Speaker is that, while he accuses Mr. President of respecting mere injunction applications, he will respect a mere injunction application whether or not it touches on Parliament’s work.”

The Majority asserted that the upshot is that Speaker Bagbin has “torpedoed the Government’s work by depriving the President and Ghana of the able men and women who will assist him in running the Government machinery.”

“It is our humble belief that it is the Speaker who is undermining our democracy and not Mr. President,” the Majority contended.

“It is a matter of regret that Mr. Speaker arbitrarily and capriciously, and on his own motion, adjourned the House indefinitely without the House considering the Ministerial Nominees who have been vetted and reports on them duly laid for the consideration of the House,” the caucus said in a statement.

The statement indicated, “The decision of Mr. Speaker to adjourn the House without recourse to its members, especially the leadership, is most arbitrary, capricious, and undemocratic.”

The Majority stated that it has always been customary for the House leadership to guide the chair in conducting the House’s business.

“However, the Speaker aborted the work of the House when the following matters, of which he was aware, were pending as Business of the day – tax waivers, laying of papers, consideration of bills, outstanding IDA facility and approval of ministerial nominees.

“Today, the 20th day of March 2024, is a sad day for our democracy because of the arbitrary decision of Rt. Hon. Speaker Bagbin, who was visibly annoyed that a letter from the Office of the President informing the House about the injunctive processes in the Supreme Court relating to the transmission of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, is an affront to the dignity of Parliament and subversive of Ghana’s democratic process,” the statement noted.

It explained that the letter emanating from the Office of the President, in substance, pointed to the fact that the President, having regard to the pending suits, Richard Sky vrs the Parliament of Ghana and the Attorney General and Dr. Amanda Odoi vrs the Attorney General and the Speaker of Parliament, with their injunctive process, and that the House should not transmit the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2021 to the President.

“The spirit of the President’s letter is conclusive that the President is constitution-minded and will not undermine the Supreme Court of Ghana in its sacred role of administering justice,” the Majority noted.

According to the statement, the President was not being dictatorial in his communication to Parliament because the letter’s content was not binding on the Speaker.

“Mr. Speaker, who has been out of the jurisdiction since Monday, occupied the Chair this evening and used his high office to attack the President, who could not answer in the Chamber,” the statement said.

“The Majority asserts in no uncertain terms that the President was being law-abiding by reason of the injunctive processes pending before the Supreme Court,” it argued.

The statement intimated that the President did not undermine the powers of the Supreme Court so as to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House