Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, is scheduled to undergo another medical review in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) barely a week after Parliament’s resumption from recess.

This is the third time Mr Bagbin is travelling to Dubai for a medical review. The first was on November 27, 2021, and the second was on January 7, 2022.

After returning from his second medical checkup on January 23, he is expected to jet off once again this weekend.

In the last meeting of Parliament, the numbers in the House split as members of both caucuses engaged in physical confrontations over the E-levy in the Speaker’s absence.

Members of the Majority Caucus in Parliament are worried about what they say is the ‘frequent absence’ of the Speaker from the House, especially when the Electronic Transactions Levy Bill (E-levy) is expected to be re-submitted for discussion next week.

Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, says this practice by the Speaker should be reviewed for a more productive alternative that will benefit the country and the legislative arm of government.

According to the Nsawam-Adoagyiri lawmaker, some measures should be put in place to provide medical care for Speaker Bagbin in the country.

“His health is important. And I think we as a people should put our heads together, or the leaders should find a way of helping the Speaker find a solution to this because it is becoming one too many.

“I mean, he is the Speaker, and he has taken ill, and he needs treatment. Is it the case that we can’t get an equally good medical team to have this treatment done here? Vis-à-vis the fact that, because of the nature of our Parliament,” he said on Thursday.

Due to the Speaker’s possible absence next week, Mr Annoh-Dompreh divulged that leadership of the Majority Caucus are currently holding an extensive backdoor engagement with the Minority Caucus on the E-levy Bill to avert any future fisticuffs.

“We are guided that there is a possibility that he will not be available, so it is something that we are conscious of, and we are taking due measures in regards to that. However, we anticipate to navigate our way through properly because of what happened.

Another possible violence over E-levy?

Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, has said there is no guarantee that there will be no violence when Parliament resumes debate of the Electronic Transactions Levy aka E-levy.

The Asawase MP said his side cannot guarantee a peaceful consideration if the Majority side attempts to circumvent the rules.

“So far as people want to alter the rules, you can never guarantee that there will be no confusion in the chamber. It is not possible. Because the reason is that, why do you sometimes see fists in the American congress after over 200 years of practice?

“Why will you see it in the Commons [House of Commons]? Why will you see it in other parliaments which are much older than ours?” he asked.

Speaker’s caution

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has cautioned against repeating the free-for-all fight between the Minority and the Majority MPs when the House considered the bill.

“The lessons of the first session have been learnt by us all, and we should all pledge not to see, particularly, a repeat of those nasty, violent scenes as well as defend and uphold the image of Parliament,” he said in his opening remarks at the first sitting of the Second Session of Parliament.