General News of Tuesday, 3 October 2017
The Minority in Parliament is alleging breach of parliamentary procedure in processes leading to the resumption of sitting today.
According to them, the standing orders of parliament require that Members of Parliament are given a 14-day notice before the house resumes from break but that was not the case.
The Minority is also worried the tall list of items they need to look at before the end of this sitting won’t allow them to scrutinize the bills well enough.
North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa says this is not good for the country’s democracy.
“We have indicated that we are willing and available to work night to dusk, morning, afternoon, rain or shine but there are standing orders that stipulate and regulate how things are done. The standing orders stipulate that to call members to the House from recess they must be given two weeks notice,” he said.
According to him, this is to enable MPs plan their business in their constituencies in order to make it to the House in good time.
He also explained that although there is a special procedure where some MPs get together to demand an emergency sitting, that has a different procedure from the normal recess.
However, in Parliament, Tuesday, the Speaker, Prof Mike Ocquaye, relied on standing order 5 and 6 which gives him a wide discretion to use his powers to recall the House.
North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
The former Deputy Education Minister said although they are ready to work, indications are that the executive has not planned its business properly .Mr Okudzeto said considering all the matters being brought before the House now; the Development Authority and Special Prosecutor bills; there was ample time to have dealt with them at the last minute but the Majority did not take advantage of the time available.
He said there is an attempt to rush these bills so as to make time for the budget presentation in November.
“Ghanaians do not want rushed laws, they want good laws that have been thoroughly debated and consultations have been done and every citizen who is minded to contribute is allowed to make an input,” he said.
Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu
But Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu says the house did not technically go on a break the last time sitting was adjourned. He insists nothing was done wrong.
He explained that the reason why the House gives itself the two weeks notice is that it goes on adjournment sine die [indefinitely] but on this occasion, that was not the case.
“In any event, MPs are like the members of the armed forces standing ready to operate in rain, sunshine, light or in darkness,” he said.