Parliament has suffered another confusing over which side of the house presides over the vetting committee to vet Akuffo Addo's Appointees.
Parliamentary provisions make it clear that there are some functions that are performed only by the majority side of the house. For instance, in an exception of the public account committee, all committees in parliament must be chaired by members of the majority.
The absence of the majority side in the 8th parliament and the issue of who is to perform those functions meant for the majority side are creating more confusion in parliament than we even expected.
On Friday, 22 January 2020, the former majority leader and the minister of parliamentary affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu argued that the composition of all other committees must be halted until the new standing orders come into force.
However, the Speaker, Alban Bagbin has rejected the suggestion from Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu for vetting of newly nominated ministers to be suspended until the House adopts the revised standing orders.
The deputy minority whip, Ahmed Ibrahim also questioned the basis for any suggestion to suspend vetting for the adoption of the new standing orders.
The Speaker subsequently ruled that the appointments committee in its current form must commence processes towards vetting Nana Addo’s ministerial nominees.
What this means is that, if parliament refuses to adopt the new standing order, the currently constituted vetting committee will violate the old standing order which requires that the committee must be chaired by a member of the majority side of the house which currently does not exist.
In another stand of confusion in parliament, the speaker of parliament is this time, on the neck of the NDC parliamentarians.
The NDC parliamentarians led by Haruna Iddrisu told journalists who asked how the former majority and minority leaders should be called in the 8th parliament said, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu should be called the "leader of government business in parliament" and not the majority leader.
But in a sharp response to address this challenge, the speaker of parliament Alban S.K Bagbin has urged members of the 8th parliament to desist from element capable of confusing the the public over the leadership between NPP and NDC in parliament.
Addressing parliament, the speaker declared the MP for Tamale South, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu as the minority leader and the Suame MP and minister of parliamentary affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu as the majority leader.
The speaker said he was counselled by the current standing orders in parliament and restrained by it. According to him the leader for the majority will lead as the leader of the majority group and order 160 and order 168 charges that the business committee and the house committee be chaired by the majority leader.
He said; The Standing Orders further provide that the Majority Group will be led by a leader and that leader is referred to as Majority Leader and Order 160 and Order 168 demands that the Business Committee and the House Committee be chaired by the Majority Leader, that is the standing orders we have now and I am guided by that, I am bounded by it.
He re-affirmed that, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu is the Minority Leader, and Hon. Osei-Kyei-Mensah Bonsu is the Majority Leader. He therefore urged members of the house to desist from comments that contravened the standing orders of the house.
Per this arrangement, it means the 8th parliament has a majority and a minority leader but has no majority and minority sides of the house. One will ask, who then chairs the various parliamentary committees. The committees that are chaired by only members of the majority side of the house and not the majority group.
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Seth K. Nartey
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