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First deputy speaker’s conduct constitutional – Law Lecturer

First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu

Majority MPs approve 2022 budget statement

Minority has stated that NPP MP’s precedent will haunt them

Parliament reconvenes today

Law Lecturer at the University of Ghana Law School, Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee, has stated that the conduct of the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu in parliament yesterday was constitutional.

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Joe Osei Owusu at the parliamentary sitting on Tuesday November 30, 2021 counted himself as the 138th MP after he had earlier directed the clerks to count MPs present before the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu could move a recession motion to reverse the rejection of the 2022 budget statement.

“Honourable members, the numbers presented to me by the clerks at table is 137 of you plus me, MP for Bekwai, 138. Honourable members, for the avoidance of doubt. Let me read out the Constitutional requirement, so that there is no confusion as to who can vote…what numbers are required to vote to take a decision. Article 104 (1) except as otherwise provided in the constitution matters of parliament shall be determined by the majority of members present and voting.

“The majority of members present and voting with at least half of all members of parliament present. What this means is that before you take a decision there must be at least majority of all members present. With me we are 138 members. That’s a majority,” he explained.

Commenting on the incident, Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee indicated that the move was in tandem with the constitution, provided the first deputy speaker did not vote.

“I don’t see a constitutional breach to that but there’s a caveat to that. In terms of quorum, we had 138 present at the time of the vote then the quorum requirement would have been met including the deputy speaker in this case because the deputy speaker is a member of parliament. He is part of the ‘all members of parliament [in article 104].

“He was present and is a member of parliament so his constituency was present for purposes of quorum. For purposes of voting he was not entitled to vote. Once he didn’t vote he was constitutionally right. So if at the end of the vote we had 137 on one side and we had 0 on the other side then of course the rule says that it requires majority in this case; a majority of the 138 present at the time,” she said on Joy News “PM Express” on Tuesday November 30, 2021.

The conduct of the Bekwai MP has generated a heated conversation with both the majority and minority caucuses divided over the issue.

The minority MPs insists it is an illegality, warning that the precedent being set will come back to haunt the majority side.

An all-majority side voted to approve the 2022 budget statement amid the minority missing from the chambers.

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