General News of Wednesday, 2 August 2017
The Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MPs) have hit back at their counterparts on the Minority side for walking out of Parliament in protest against the conduct of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, noting that it was about time their colleagues behaved properly in the House.
Majority Leader of the House, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, interacting with journalists on Tuesday over the move by the Minority Caucus said he believes strongly that his colleagues on the Minority side are not subjecting themselves to the rules of the House, hence, their behavior towards the Speaker.
Quoting Orders 91(a), 92(2) and Order 6 of the Standing Orders of the House to buttress his argument, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said for a Member to disagree with the Speaker, the process to follow is to come with a motion to challenge the decision of the Speaker.
Order 91(a) of the Standing Orders of Parliament states that “Debates may be interrupted by a point of order being raised,” while Order 92(2) states that “When a point of order has been stated, the Member interrupting shall resume his seat and except by leave of Mr. Speaker has decided the matter. When effect has been given to the decision, where necessary, the Member who was speaking shall be entitled to proceed with his speech unless the decision prevents him.”
Order 6 of the Standing Orders of the House on the other hand also states that “In all cases not provided for in these Orders, Mr. Speaker shall make provisions as he deems fit.”
“I think my colleagues are not subjecting themselves to the rules of Parliament. And they want to be granted exemptions of the rules. That certainly cannot be accommodated. So, we are talking about the rules of procedure. Parliament is a House that makes laws and we ourselves are governed by laws. So, at that stage, we were dealing with procedure. He [Haruna Iddrisu] was talking about a judgment that has been passed and the fact that Parliament of today cannot talk about anything decided by Parliament of yesterday. I don’t know where that is coming from. We are not there yet but when we get there, we will litigate that sufficiently and Ghanaians will know that they have no footings at all. They are on wobbling legs,” he noted.
He added “we make bills and a new Parliament will come and to make an amendment. So, when a new bill comes … like today, we have introduced the Northern Development Authority Bill which has been referred to a committee. There is a standing authority now which is SADA. If this new bill comes to be adopted by Parliament, what will be the effect? It will be to repeal the old Act, the Savannah Accelerated Development Act, isn’t that the case? And what is the import of it? That Parliament has rescinded its decision – that is the effect of it. There are many examples and as I have said we will not exhaust what is contained in the bag until we get there.”