The Majority National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament yesterday jostled and maneuvered in desperation to woo to their sides, Hon. Samia Yaba Nkrumah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Jomoro in the Western Region.
Both the NDC and NPP laid claim to Hon. Samia Nkrumah on the floor of Parliament in their quest to attract more members. The MP for Jomoro however did not take a firm decision on which side of the divide she belonged to.
Moving to settle the apparent confusion, Hon. Samia Nkrumah stated that the Standing Orders of Parliament should create room for the independence of minority parties that wanted to stand alone without being forced to be with either the Majority or Minority.
As the rules stood now, she said she was constrained to sit with the largest minority side, the NPP, and she would vote on issues based on her own conscience, devoid of partisan consideration pending her call for the revision of the Standing Orders that would allow all minority parties to stand on their own in Parliament.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I wish to state that my first constituency is Ghana and Jomoro and I will vote based on my conscience to serve the interest of the people of Ghana and Jomoro,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hon. Samia Nkrumah affirmed.
The Majority Leader however replied that Hon. Samia NkrumahÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s statement was not clear enough, noting that sitting with a group in Parliament was not the same as doing business with it, as the Standing Orders demanded.
He continued by saying that the MP for Jomoro must state clearly which side she wanted to do business with.
This prompted the NPP MP for Sekondi, Hon. Papa Owusu-Ankomah to remark that the MP for Jomoro should be allowed to be with the Minority side once she had decided to do so, although she was not compelled to vote alongside the minority as the Constitution of Ghana guaranteed freedom of expression.
Ã‚Â It all started when the Majority Leader, Hon Alban Bagbin moved the motion for the adoption of the report of the Leadership of the House on the Committee of Selection, which would be tasked with the responsibility of appointing various committees to commence the business of the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
In presenting the report, the Majority Leader who is also the MP for Nadowli West, gave the respective strengths of the Majority and Minority Caucuses as 118 and 109 respectively, stating that the MP for Jomoro had not yet decided where she wanted to be.
According to him, the PeopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s National Convention (PNC) had written to the NDC indicating that its Members would sit and do business with the Majority side, increasing the membership of the Majority from 114 to 116, with the MP for Jomoro not giving a clear indication of where she wanted to be.
This could however not explain why the figure of the NDC added up to 118, prompting a quick response from the Minority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who submitted that he was not clear on how the Majority Leader arrived at the numbers for the two Caucuses.
Two of the independent MPs, Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu and Nana Yaw E. Ofori-Kuragu, members for Bekwai and Bosome-Freho respectively, had already decided to be with the Minority NPP. Ã‚Â
Replying, the Majority Leader stated that the remaining two of the four independent MPs had not indicated which side they wanted to do business with.
He added that Hon. Samia Nkrumah had taken issue with the Standing Orders of Parliament, which did not allow other minority MPs to be on their own for the business of the House without necessarily aligning to one of the two Caucuses.
Hon. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu did not understand why the undecided independent MPs should be added to the NDC numbers, arguing that the leadership agreed that for the purposes of forming the Committee on Selection, the Majority side should have 10 members with the Minority presenting nine and not the actual figures of the Caucuses presented in the report.
He noted that there was precedence in 2001 where the PNC and the CPP minority members publicly declared the Caucus they wanted to belong to, adding that it was important for the independent MPs and Hon. Samia Nkrumah to do same by tabling statements before the floor of the House on which side they wanted to be.
By Awudu Mahama