How can a referee be a player at the same time?

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Prof Azar
Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare

A US-based Ghanaian lawyer and scholar, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare, has said the Supreme Court should have declined jurisdiction on the controversial case of voting rights for deputy speakers.

Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen show, Kwaku Azar, as he is popularly known, noted the standing orders of Parliament emanates from the constitution, hence he is shocked about the ruling of the Supreme Court.

“How can a referee be a player of an opposing side at the same time? Who’ll respect such a referee? The deputy speakers would lose respect and control once they become part of the game as a referee. All the arms of government are wholly independent as enshrined in the constitution and so we should dare not politicise the constitution of Ghana. That is so wrong,” he fumed.

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His comment was in reaction to the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling that affirmed Deputy Speakers’ capacity to cast a vote while presiding over proceedings of the House.

On March 9, 2022, the Court, presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, ruled that a Deputy Speaker can be counted during the formation of a quorum for parliamentary decision-making and participate in voting while presiding over the parliamentary business.

Commenting on the outcome, the law professor said deputy speakers are above ordinary MPs and have certain powers.

“It is not an ordinary position as posited. MPs who are elected as Deputy Speakers should understand that they wield substantial powers, which preclude them from being appointed as Ministers and from functioning as ordinary MPs while presiding over the House,” he said.

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