Mr Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader in Parliament on Thursday said though the Majority Leader repeatedly said he was Leader of Government Business, he becomes a back bencher during cabinet meetings and a mere passenger.

In response, Mr Cletus Avoka, said that he was Leader of government business in Parliament but at Cabinet the President was Leader.

The controversy arose when Majority Leader was accused by the Minority Leader for the absence of members of the Health Committee who claimed they had requested to be out of parliament on official business.

Mr Cletus Avoka said the group’s request, tabled by Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, NDC Member for Asawase and Chairman of the Committee, was not granted before they left the house on Tuesday January 25 and Wednesday January 26, 2011.

The issue was argued as if the two (Muntaka and Avoka) already had a case to trash out because they did not agree with each other’s explanations as Alhaji Mubarak insisted he had informed Mr Avoka, who also maintained that he was not aware of their departure.

Mr Avoka said he was the Leader and he did not ask the Committee members to go, adding that just by filling a request did not mean the request had been granted.

Mr Hackman Owusu Agyeman, member for New Juaben North told the Majority leader that the tradition had been that after filling a request, it simply meant that the request was granted.

He said Mr Avoka had never laid a bill in parliament and yet he continued to say he was Leader of government business.

The Minority Leader again said permission must be granted by the Speaker and not the Majority Leader since he had no such powers.

Mrs Adeline Bamford Addo, Speaker, said: “I wonder if I will allow 20 members to leave the house for the two days.

“We have to follow the rules,” she added, but stated that she never saw any request.

Mr Avoka insisted that as a Leader he has to make recommendation to the Speaker because when the house sat and his members were not present he the Leader was always questioned as to their whereabouts.

At this point the Speaker ruled that members should ask permission and make sure they got it before they left the House.

Source: GNA


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