Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, faults Speaker's decision to refer 3 MPs to Privileges Committee

Member of Parliament for Kwadaso, Dr Kingsley Nyarko, has criticized the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, for refusing to adhere to a directive by the Speaker during proceedings in Parliament.

On Tuesday, April 5, Mr. Muntaka Mubarak was directed by the Speaker to resume his seat when he was challenging the referral of three MPs to the Privileges Committee. The Minority Chief Whip, however, did not oblige.

There was murmuring in the chamber due to the contention.

Mr. Muntaka Mubarak who insisted on completing his submission told the Speaker: “Mr Speaker, you have to hear me first. Mr. Speaker, we heard you in silent. It is only fair you hear us and when we are done, as for the ruling and the decision to be taken, Mr Speaker, it is absolutely yours but to listen to us, Mr Speaker, you must listen to us.”

According to Dr Kingsley Nyarko, the Minority Chief Whip’s conduct did not show a sign of respect to the Office of the Speaker.

Dr Nyarko says although he sides with Mr Muntaka on his submission that the Speaker can not independently refer Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, Ayawaso Central MP, Henry Quartey; and Assin Central MP, Ken Ohene Agyapong to the Privileges Committee; he believes the Minority Chief Whip could have resumed his seat and rise again to submit his opposing views.

Speaking on JoyNews’ AM Show on Wednesday, he said; “Yesterday, I liked the attitude of Muntaka apart from when the Speaker asked him to sit down and he didn’t. I was thinking when the Speaker asked him to sit, I support his position, but when the Speaker said he should sit down, he should have respectfully sat down.”

Despite his challenge with Mr Muntaka, Dr Nyarko said he respects the Minority Chief Whip for his zeal and understanding of the Standing Orders.

According to Minority Chief Whip, the Speaker is not clothed with the powers to independently refer the conduct of Sarah Adwoa Safo, Henry Quartey and Ken Ohene Agyapong to the Privileges Committee because it must be a Member of Parliament who takes up such an initiative.

Speaker Alban Bagbin, however, disagrees. He explained that “There is a vast difference between a petition to the Parliament and a petition to the Speaker. I have not taken away petitions to Parliament. When I read the subject matter of the petitions and I see that the petition is to Parliament, usually, I refer the petitioner to the constitutional provisions and our standing orders, and the legal office will bear me out, that advice is written to the petitioners to root the petition through a Member of Parliament.

“That doesn’t prevent the public or any person from writing a petition to a Speaker. That is different from a petition to Parliament. What I referred to was a petition to the Speaker, calling on me as Speaker to perform my constitutional duty.”

Meanwhile, Mr Mutaka Mubarak has filed a motion seeking to revoke the decision independently taken by the Speaker.