Ghana’s Parliament was on Wednesday afternoon thrown into chaos following the decision by first Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, to shoot down a motion by Minority for the rescission on approval of the 2022 Budget.
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu under the Standing Order 50 (1) moved a motion for the House to overturn approval of the budget by the Majority side of the House on Tuesday 30th November 2021.
The approval was a reversal of rejection of the budget by the Minority-sided House last Friday presided over by speaker Alban Bagbin.
The first Deputy Speaker admitted the motion and was seconded by Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga in spite of protest from Majority leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah Bonsu questioned whether prior to the approval if they had sought from the speaker per dictates of the standing orders.
The Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu argued the first Deputy Speaker who was presiding on Tuesday breached article 104 of the constitution and order 109 standing orders of parliament.
Haruna added that Joe Osei Owusu committed an illegality by counting himself as part of MPs in the chamber in order to get the mandatory 50% of MPs to reverse the rejection of the budget and subsequently approve same.
Damango MP Samuel Abu Jinapor, Essikado-Ketan MP and former Attorney General Joe Ghartey as well as Majority leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu all argued the first deputy speaker did not err.
The Suame MP for instance argued the first deputy speaker is not a speaker and thus could partake in decision making.
Former Deputy Attorney General and Bolgatanga East MP, Dr. Dominic Ayine and minority Chief whip and Asawase MP Muntaka Mubarak supported the position of their leader arguing the constitution and standing orders are clear deputy speakers presiding cannot partake in decision making.
Consequently, the first deputy speaker ruled he is not a speaker and thus restrictions on speakers of Parliament do not apply to him in the sense the minority members were arguing.
In the middle of his ruling, the Asawase MP Muntaka Mubarak interrupted questioning why the first deputy speaker is ruling on a motion when he ought to put a question for the house to decide.
The development threw the House into a pandemonium with some Minority MPs attempting to snatch the mace away as well as the Speaker’s chair which had been left vacant after the Speaker announced an hour suspension.
While the Minority had full complement of their 137 MPs, four MPs Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Manhyia South and Energy Minister, Augustine Collins Ntim, Offinso North, Henry Quartey, Ayawaso Central and Greater Accra regional minister, Francisca Oteng-Mensah, Kwabre East, on the side of the Majority were absent.
It is believed the development was the reason why the deputy speaker failed to put the question.
The minority has vowed never to allow the first deputy speaker to preside ever again since he declared he’s no speaker.