First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu

The Ningo-Prampram MP, Samuel Nartey George, has said first Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, should not preside over sittings in Parliament in the absence of Speaker Alban Bagbin.

According to Sam George, it is inappropriate for the Bekwai MP to assume the seat of the Speaker since Mr Osei-Owusu claims he is not a Speaker.

Mr George took to social media on Wednesday to register his displeasure over the first Deputy Speaker’s decision to overrule a motion filed by Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, to rescind the approval of the 2022 budget.

While submitting his ruling over government’s 2022 budget, Mr Osei-Owusu who presided over the House on December 1, explained that he counted himself as an MP for the Majority to get the 138 members it needed as quorum to approve the 2022 Budget statement on Tuesday despite assuming the Speakership role because he is a Member of Parliament.

He argued that presiding over the House does not take away his right as a legislator.

The Bekwai MP, popularly called Joe Wise, added that Speaker Alban Bagbin is not a Member of Parliament and cannot be a part of a quorum, but he can since he represents a constituency.

Mr Osei-Owusu, therefore, stated that “a Deputy Speaker is not a Speaker.”

“Mr Speaker is not a Member of Parliament. I am a Member of Parliament. The Second Deputy Speaker is an MP and our role is to assist the Speaker in managing this House.

But when Mr Speaker is not available, either of us could preside on the House, so can any other member if necessary. Any other member can be elected by the House to preside. That member does not lose his right to be a member of the House. That is what our Standing Order says,” he added.

According to him, the Majority did not engage in unconstitutionality as alleged by the Minority while approving the budget.

The first Deputy Speaker disclosed that although he formed part of the quorum, he did not participate in the voting process since the Standing Orders prohibit an acting Speaker from voting.

“When it comes to the question of voting, it is obvious anytime any of the Deputy speakers or any other member elected to preside is in the chair, that member does not vote. That has never been in dispute. I did not vote while presiding.”

The Minority says the Majority contravened Article 104 (3) of the Constitution and standing order 109 of Parliament during the approval of the 2022 budget that was earlier rejected by Speaker Alban Bagbin.

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