The Minority Chief Whip in Parliament, Muntaka Mubarak, has hit back at the Majority for its claims that the Minority Group and Speaker Alban Bagbin engaged in unconstitutionality by rejecting the 2022 budget.
Speaking on Joy FM‘s Super Morning Show on Monday, he argued that the Majority, since the presentation of the budget, has been in the known of the Minority’s opposition and intention to reject its approval but, despite this knowledge, failed to have full representation and allowed the Minority have its way.
According to the Asawase MP, the Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who should have defended the much-touted “Agyenkwa budget” last week Friday by ensuring all 138 members are present, should bow his head in shame over its rejection rather than attack Speaker Alban Bagbin, who followed due processes.
“Our colleagues should know they have lost it and go back to the drawing board and do what is right. The House is governed by rules. I overheard the Majority leader, Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu say that the Speaker should bow his head in shame. In actual sense, if anybody has to bow his head in shame, it is he. Because he has become a spent layer and has outlived his usefulness as a leader.
How do you have 137 members plus an independent member who has chosen to do business with you, and you knew from the day the debate started that the Minority were going to oppose this budget.”
Therefore, the Asawase MP stressed that the Majority Group is fully responsible for the budget being rejected and cannot shift blame.
“The day came, you didn’t have the number. If we in opposition with very little resources could marshal all our 137 and you with government behind you, you could not marshal your forces; who are you blaming. You should rather blame yourself.”
According to Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Speaker’s ruling on the 2022 budget has no binding effect on Parliament.
Addressing the press, he argued that per the standing orders of Parliament, a decision can only be taken by the House when MPs present are more than half of the total number.
“We have cause to believe that at least 2 of the NDC MPs were not in the chamber and yet out of mischief, the Speaker said that they were 137.
“In any event even if you go with 137, it is still less than one-half of the 275 members of the chamber, so when he puts the question, the Speaker should have known that the number would not support the decision of the House.”
He, therefore, described the Speaker’s ruling as unconstitutional; making the rejection null and void on his part.
“That whole procedure was unconstitutional. As far as we are concerned, it’s null and void and has no binding effect on anybody. The motion on the budget, as far as we are concerned, hasn’t been pronounced on by Parliament, and it’s still standing in the name of the Finance Minister and in the fullness of time, a properly constituted house, not one presided over by the Rt Honorable Speaker, will make the decision,” he said.
Rejection of 2022 budget
On Friday, November 26, Ghanaians witnessed discord in Parliament over the approval of the 2022 budget. This occurred after Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta prayed the House to have further engagements with both sides.
His plea was however rejected by the Minority. The House then proceed to vote on the approval of the bill. The voice vote saw majority of the House oppose the approval of the budget, per the Speaker’s analysis.
This was contested by Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin, who moved to be subjected to a division vote. For this to occur, all non-MPs present, including the Finance Minister, was requested to exit the chamber.
The Majority side demanded the same be done to NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia who was seated at the public gallery.
The disagreement resulted in the Majority staging a walk-out, leaving the Minority to decide the fate of the country. The budget was then rejected.
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