Speaker chides MPs for poor attendance

General News of Friday, 22 December 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

2017-12-22

Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction about the poor attendance of Members of Parliament (MPs) to parliamentary sittings.

He said the attitude of the legislators delayed the conduct of business in the House and could affect the reputation of Parliament in the eyes of Ghanaians.

“Honourable members, we must be careful of the reputation of this august House,” he said.

Submission

The Speaker expressed the concern following a submission by the MP for Adaklu, Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza, that the House be suspended because it did not form a quorum.

That was around 10:50 a.m. when the business of the House was to commence. Sittings officially start at 10:a.m.

Mr Agbodza quoted Standing Order 48 of Parliament to argue that the about 40 plus MPs in the chamber did not form a quorum.

Standing Order 48(1) reads: “The presence of at least one-third of all the Members of Parliament besides the person presiding shall be necessary to constitute a quorum of the House.”

And Standing Order 48(2) stipulates:”If at the time of sitting, a member takes notice or objection that they are present in the House, besides the person presiding, less than one-third of the number of all the Members of Parliament, and after an interval of 10 minutes a quorum is not present, the person presiding shall adjourn the House without question put until the next sitting day.”

There are 275 MPs in Parliament and 91 of them constitute one-third of the 275.

Consequently, after some minutes, the Speaker suspended sitting for 30 minutes. Sittings resumed later for the business of the House to be conducted.

Speaker’s concerns

Prof. Oquaye said whenever he reported for work, he had to wait in the lobby for a while waiting for the numbers to increase in the House before stepping in.

He said it was difficult getting the numbers to start the conduct of the business in Parliament.

Prof. Oquaye added that he expected senior members to be calling the late comers to come to the House instead of they stoking the fire by raising the issue of the quorum.

He indicated that if the MPs wanted to close and go home, Ghanaians were watching.

“You will come to work, we are not getting the numbers. I wait in the lobby room for us to get some numbers.

“The members say lack of quorum, they want to go home. If that attitude is what you want to adopt; well, let us tell Ghanaians.

“I hope by this time, the senior members will be calling the latecomers. But we have the senior members stoking the fire by raising (the issue of) quorum,” he said.

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