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Africa politics

Hot conflict looming as Parliament meets Today

Parliament is set to resume sitting today, after it was adjourned by the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin.

This will be the first time the House will reconvene in the chamber after the 7th January’s chaotic incident that saw legislators exchanging blows and destroying voting materials during the election of the Speaker.

It is the expectation of many, that this particular sitting brings finality to the several conflicting issues that has been raised by both NDC and NPP members in the house, including which party sits at the majority side of the house.

This notwithstanding, comes at a time when both the NPP and NDC for the first time in the history of the Fourth Republic happens to have the same number of seats, with only one independent candidate in between.

Even though, the MP for Fomena who happens to be the independent candidate, Mr Andrews Asiamah has as part of the usual convention in the house officially indicated his intention to do business with the NPP, the interpretation of which remains uncertain as far as which party becomes the majority is concerned.

This is so because, Article 97 (1) (h) and per the ruling of Rt. Hon Mike Oquaye [as he then was] in relation to this same Asiamah's seat some months ago, renders the seat of an independent candidate vacant upon joining another party.

Meanwhile the independent candidate has already been appointed as the 2nd Deputy Speaker with the NPP member, Joe Osei Owusu as the 1st Deputy. And so, if he happens to do business with the NPP, he will be putting himself in conflict with Article 96 (b) of the 1992 constitution which stipulates that both of the deputy Speaker of Parliament shall not be members of the same political party.

In relation to these brewing concerns, leaders of both sides of the house, Hon Haruna Iddrisu for the NDC (Tamale South MP) and Hon Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu for the NPP (Suame MP) has emphasized that the decision of the independent candidate to do business with the NPP doesn't make him an NPP member.

This therefore brings us to the conclusion that, there is still no clear majority in Parliament. And on the interim, who sits at the majority side on the interim is even another issue.

However, the MP for Effutu, Hon Afenyo Markins has officially tabled his pleadings before the Speaker of parliament explaining why the NPP should be the majority in Parliament pursuant to Order 6 of the standing Orders of parliament which makes the Speaker of parliament the best person to make Interpretation in situations like this.

Interestingly the Speaker of Parliament has no precedents to use as reference base on which to make his determination, and to break the ties between the members of the NPP and the NDC. This therefore reminds me of the obiter dictum of the Judge in the case of Packer v Parker [1953] when there was no stare decisis (judicial precedence).The revered judge Lord Denning J(as he then was) said that, "If we do not do what has not been done before, we shall go nowhere. The law will stand and the world will go, and will be bad for both"

One would wonder why all the sides are interested in being the majority in Parliament. The reason boils down to the fact that, it plays a very significant role in who becomes the chairman of the various select committees in the house.

But the bottom line still remains that the votes of whoever sits at the right side of the Speaker, cannot actually make any significant impact as it so didn't during the election of the Speaker of parliament.

It may interest you to know that, per Article 102, a quorom of parliament shall be one-third. Which therefore emphasizes that it does not neccesarily mean all 275 members should be in the house before Business can take place.

These together with many other legitimate concerns are hunging around the necks of the parliamentarians to determine. Definitely, since neither side of the house is ready to compromise, it would not be surprising to witness the courts making rulings on the constitutionality of most of these uncertainties very soon.

Untill then, we promise to keep you updated.

Content created and supplied by: daniel54 (via Opera News )

Alban Bagbin Andrews Asiamah Fomena NDC NPP


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