Political Scientist at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo has backed Speaker Bagbin’s referral of three Members of Parliament to the Privileges Committee for absenting themselves from Parliament for over 15 days without permission.
According to Prof. Gyampo, the Speaker’s action is in respect of the rules and standing orders of Parliament given the fact that the MPs have breached Article 97(1) (c) of the Constitution and Standing Order 16 of the House.
The three MPs are; the Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo; Ayawaso Central MP, Henry Quartey and Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong.
Speaking on Newsnight, Wednesday, Prof. Gyampo explained that the MPs cited for the offense must be allowed to defend themselves, hence should appear before the Privileges Committee.
He noted that the Committee is not a “Kangaroo” court thus such an impression should not be created.
“We are human beings and I’m sure they would be able to proffer explanations to those who will sit on that committee and if they are able to convince them. It’s not a kangaroo court and so we should not create the impression as if once a matter is referred to the privileges committee, automatically seats are going to be lost. I think there is going to be arguments and counter-arguments and defense here and there, and at the end of the day one that has superior argument will carry the day,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak has filed a motion seeking to revoke Speaker Bagbin’s referral of three Members of Parliament to the Privileges Committee in Parliament.
In a memo to the Speaker of Parliament on Tuesday sighted by myjoyonline.com, purportedly signed by the Asawase MP, he prayed the House to revoke the Speaker’s decision.
“That this Honourable House resolves to revoke, cancel or rescind the referral made by The Rt. Hon. Speaker on the 5th day of April, 2022 to the Committee on Privileges to consider the issue of absence without permission from the House under Article 97 (1) (c) of the Constitution and Standing Orders 15 and 16 of Honourables Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, Henry Quartey and Kennedy Ohene Agyapong,” portions of the memo read.
But Prof. Gyampo believes the rules of the House must be respected and allowed to work.
He said once the MPs failed to give prior notice to the Speaker as to why they would be absent and exceeded the 15 days absence threshold, the rules of the House must work.
“Institutions are strengthened when the rules of the game regarding the conduct of affairs in every facet of human engagement are forcefully enforced.
“If the rule says they’ve absented themselves for a number of days and that would warrant that the Speaker who may have not been given a prior notice of their absence, would have to act in the way he has acted, that’s the rule,” he added.
Ranking Member on the Privileges Committee, Mr. George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan however noted that the Committee is prepared to diligently do its work.
Speaking on Top Story, Wednesday, he said the Committee will do some underground work despite the House being on recess.
“We have to set ourselves ready to the job of a Privileges Committee and see what happens to the motion that the Minority Chief Whip has rightly filed. We are following the processes of Parliament to arrive at whatever conclusion or decision we will arrive at,” he stated.
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