Chairperson of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng, has urged his colleagues to respect the referral of some MPs to the Privileges Committee, saying it is the only means through which some mistakes can be corrected.
He said the summon of Adwoa Safo, Henry Quartey and Kennedy Agyapong is a right time for the House to take actions that would reduce the high rate of absenteeism among MPs.
He told Samson Lardy Anyenini on Newsfile that inasmuch as there appears to be a politicisation of the matter, legislators must first consider the importance and positive impacts this may have on their duties.
“It shouldn’t have come to this. We shouldn’t have waited as Parliament for it to become politically advantageous to uphold provisions that have been captured in our Constitution and Standing Orders and maybe, we should look upon this as an opportunity to correct what has been done wrongly in the past.
“I am the Chairman of a Committee that sits quite often and I also have concerns about attendance even at my Committee. I see that on the floor and I am left in no doubt that something has to be done to correct this; it cannot go on forever. I plead that we do not cut our nose to spite our face.”
“It is true that the current dynamics in Parliament, in respect of those who have been referred to the Privileges Committee, are coming out of a certain political desire to gain numbers advantage but we risk also downplaying the rules,” he argued.
The Majority and Minority sides of Parliament have expressed diverse views over the referral of the MPs, as some believe it is a scheme targeted at the Dome-Kwabenya MP Sarah Adwoa Safo.
Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak has said that Adwoa Safo is being treated unfairly by both the Speaker and the Majority Leader in relation to her referral to the Privileges Committee.
He argued that the MP had undertaken due process to seek a leave of absence from the Speaker before leaving the country for the United States of America to handle some personal issues.
However, the Majority Leader who had received her application had refused to forward it to the Speaker.
This has been rejected by the Majority side.
But in all of these, the Obuasi West MP, Kwaku Kwarteng, urged members of the Parliament to respect provisions in the Constitution and Standing Orders and support the Speaker to deal with the age-old issue of absenteeism.
“Nothing should stop us also to the extent that it is lawful to take advantage of these provisions in these times when we have small numbers, when we have tight numbers to ensure that we take the advantage that we can.”
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