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Minority boycotts Parliament over Speaker’s conduct

By
Christopher Arko, GNA

Accra, Aug.1, GNA – The Minority in Parliament
on Tuesday boycotted the rest of the proceedings over what they described as
the biasness of the Speaker, Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye.

According to members of the Minority, they
took this action to protest the conduct of the Speaker in referring a motion
which has not been debated to a Committee of Parliament.

The Minority boycotted the House when the
Speaker referred a motion filed by Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond on the AMERI Energy
deal to the Committee of Parliament on Energy to exercise their oversight on
the matter. 

Mr K.T. Hammond has filed a motion asking the
House to rescind its decision to approve the AMERI Energy deal which it took on
March 20, 2015, for reasons of gross misrepresentation.   

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader,
speaking to the media after the boycott, said the Speaker’s conduct was in
breach of rules and procedures in the House.

Mr Iddrisu observed that Parliament is a House
governed by rules and procedures and nowhere in the Standing Orders is there a
basis for the referral.

He said the Minority had initially signalled
to raise a constitutional objection to the motion in referring to a Supreme
Court ruling on the matter.

He said they had raised this constitutional
objection in order to seek proper interpretation of Standing Order  93(10), whether any Member of Parliament
(MP), on his volition, could decide one day that he wanted to rescind the
decision of a previous Parliament.

Mr Iddrisu also demanded to know the position
of the Executive Arm of Government, especially President Nana Akufo-Addo on the
AMERI transaction because there are obligations and responsibilities as well as
consequences for the state.

He said the AMERI Energy transaction that the
Sixth Parliament considered was referred to it by the Executive.

He said Parliament was not the appropriate
forum to deal with the AMERI Energy transaction but the courts.

Mr Iddrisu said the Speaker was not prepared
to translate the Standing Orders in accordance with the rules and procedures
though he was vested with the power to do so.

He said when he was on his feet to make his
argument the Speaker did not allow him but only responded to the point of order
by Mr K.T. Hammond after which he came out with his own conclusion on the
matter.

Mr Iddrisu said under the circumstances the
Minority had no option but to protest the manner the Speaker was endangering
parliamentary democracy and its practice in the country.

He said in parliamentary democracy the
Minority would always have it say, adding that they would jealously protect
that right and demand that it was respected.

Mr Iddrisu noted that Mr Osei
Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader, when they were in minority, was able to
ask many supplementary questions but now they were being denied that
opportunity.

He said democracy in Ghana was evolving and
that the Speaker must respect the Minority and allow them to have their say.

He said the exercise of parliamentary question
was an instrument of oversight and throughout the country’s democratic history
the majority party had not been interested in oversight because it tended to
bring embarrassment to the Government.

GNA

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