The Minority in Parliament is upset by the decision of the First Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei Owusu, for counting himself as a Member of the House while presiding over parliamentary proceedings on Tuesday.
This comes after the First Deputy Speaker included himself in the total number of Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House before having the motion for the rescission of the rejection of the 2022 Budget moved.
A headcount by the Clerk of Parliament showed that there were 137 Members of Parliament [only the Majority members] but the acting Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei- Owusu said he was also present making the total members in the House 138.
Subsequently, he pushed for the motion arguing that the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, erred in overseeing the rejection of the budget by the Minority side last Friday since there was no clear majority in the House during the proceedings.
He rubbished the purported rejection of the budget and, through a voice vote, overturned the decision that dismissed the government’s fiscal policy for 2022.
But this move, according to the Minority caucus, is not only disappointing but also in clear breach of the parliamentary standing orders.
“The majority say they respect the constitution and the standing orders of the House, today I am particularly disappointed in the conduct of the First Deputy Speaker having to include himself and to exercise himself in order to meet their mandatory defined 138 without recourse or respect to the standing orders and the 1992 constitution. Standing order 109 is on voting”, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu said in an address to the media.
The Minority Leader particularly mentioned Article 104 of the Constitution and Order 108 of the standing orders in parliament.
“The Speaker for the day, Joe Osei Owusu, MP for Bekwai had no locus to count himself among the MPs, therefore as far as we are concerned, today’s vote reflected another 137. They were not 138 but 137. They have set a precedent that will come and haunt them in future”, he said.
What does the standing order say
Order 108 of the standing orders talks about voting in Parliament.
It stipulates that, no question for decision in the House shall be proposed for determination unless there are present in the House not less than one-half of all the Members of the House, and, except otherwise provided in the Constitution, the Question proposed shall be determined by the majority of votes of the Members present and voting.
Also, the Speaker shall have neither an original nor a casting vote and if upon any question before the House the votes are equally divided the motion shall be taken to be lost.
A Deputy Speaker or any other member presiding shall not retain his original vote while presiding.
Rejected budget overturned
Parliament approved government’s 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, presented to the House by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on November 17, 2021.
Although the budget was rejected by the House last Friday with only the Minority members, the Majority Caucus overturned the decision today, Tuesday, November 30, 2021, and approved the policy document.
The members on the Minority side were absent during the sitting today.