Former Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini says although the Speaker of Parliament’s decision on the rejected budget is proper, it can be challenged.

According to him, “the proceedings in Parliament on Tuesday will clearly show how the challenge procedure of the Speakers decision will manifest.”

His comment comes in the wake of Parliament’s rejection of the 2022 budget presented to the House by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

Even though the Majority were not present to participate in the exercise, the Speaker said their absence could not prevent the House from proceeding with the business of the day.

However, the agitated NPP MPs are of the view that Parliament has not constitutionally rejected the budget.

According to the former Roads Minister, the rejection has thrown Ghana into a constitutional crisis.

“Clearly, it appears to me that we have been thrown into some sort of constitutional crisis. I mean if we could call it so in the sense that the provisions of Article 104 has never been tested this way, it has always been clear Majority from the Majority side who can take a decision without the decision being questioned when they are present in the House and voting,” he told Evans Mensah in an interview on PM Express.

He explained that ‘present and voting’ has been interpreted in practice on the floor of the House to mean a Member must be in the Chamber for the purposes of taking the decision, adding that “when the decision is taken and a Member has reason to believe that the voice vote is so close, that there cannot be a straight forward determination, a headcount is done.”

“When the decision is going to be taken and then a Member raises the issue of quorum, a bell would have to been rung and he Speaker will have to wait for five minutes to see whether Members who were in their offices, who are attending to committee meetings can make themselves available for the decision to be taken,” he added.

He, however, questioned the Parliament’s decision to reject the budget based on what Article 104 of the constitution stipulates.

“For me, Article 104 of the constitution states that at least half the Members of Parliament must be present and voting, at what point can we say that half of the Members of Parliament were present in the House? Was it when the question was posed? Was it when the decision was taken by voice vote? Which voice vote then resulted in the challenge? Which challenge was disrupted by the walkout? At what point can we say that half of the majority was present at the House when the decision was taken?” he quizzed.

Mr Fuseini said the issue causing the misunderstanding is because many people are latching onto the 137, 137.5 Parliament constitutes, whereas others are also calling for the 137.5 to be rounded up to 138.

“…Now 138 times two is 276 and we know that a Parliament constituted by 276 members cannot transact any business. Any business that they transact is void because the Parliament of Ghana is duly constituted by 275 members so how to deal with the point five is a matter that Parliament itself must determine,” he stated.

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