The MP for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, has faulted the Supreme Court for ruling that a Deputy Speaker can vote while presiding over the parliamentary business.
Mr Dafeamekpor described the apex court’s decision as a “judicial coup against the Legislature.”
He said this is because the Court has intruded into the powers of Parliament.
Speaking on JoyNews’ AM Show on Thursday, he explained: “With due deference to them (Supreme Court), I think they got it wrong. It is an unfortunate interpretation. The Supreme Court, as it were, has given a judicial blessing to chaos in Parliament. This country chose for itself a certain Parliamentary democracy. We didn’t choose the (kind of) democracy where voting rights reside in the Speakership.”
According to him, the Supreme Court’s interpretation is logically wrong.
“When we speak of the Speakership, it is not about one person. It is an office, and there are occupants. There is a perfect; there are two deputies. So, we have a Speaker and two Deputy Speakers, and so by our constitutional design and architecture, voting rights do not reside in the Speakership. So when you ascend from the ordinary level of a Member of Parliament to become a Speaker or presiding over proceeding in Parliament, you don’t have voting rights.”
Mr Dafeamekpor interacting with host, Benjamin Akakpo, referenced Articles 101, 102 and 104 in his submission against the Court’s ruling.
The Speaker shall preside in Parliament at all times, at all sittings and in his absence, a Deputy Speaker shall preside, per Article 101 of the Constitution.
Article 102 notes that “A quorum of Parliament apart from the person presiding shall be one-third of all the Members of Parliament.”
Article 104 says: “Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, matters in Parliament shall be determined by the votes of the majority of members present and voting with at least half of all the Members of Parliament present.”
Mr Dafeamekpor also stressed Article 104(5), which states that “a member is a party or a partner in a firm which is a party to a contract with the government shall declare his interest and shall not vote on any question related to the contract.”
He noted that the said article provides a scenario where even a Member of Parliament could be denied the voting right.
“So they got the thinking logically, legally and jurisprudentially wrong,” the MP reiterated.
The Supreme Court presided over by Justice Jones Dotse on Wednesday ruled that a Deputy Speaker can be counted during the formation of a quorum for parliamentary decision-making and participate in voting.
This comes after private legal practitioner, Justice Abdulai, filed a case against the Attorney General to contest the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu’s decision to count himself during a vote to approve the 2022 budget.
According to Mr Dafeamekpor, the Supreme Court will provide the reasons for its ruling on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has expressed dissatisfaction with the Court’s ruling.
Also, former President John Mahama, in reaction to the ruling, has stated that the unanimous verdict that Deputy Speakers can vote while presiding sets a dangerous precedent for the country’s Parliamentary procedure.
He further described the verdict by the Court as “shocking but not surprising.”
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