Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has described as absurd and strange, Speaker Bagbin’s ruling on what constitutes being present in Parliament.
Speaker Bagbin is of the opinion that as long as a Member of Parliament is within the precincts of the Parliament building he/she is considered present in the House and should be registered as such.
According to Okudzeto Ablakwa, this doctrine digresses from the doctrine of presence that has been held on to since the time of Speaker Peter Ala Adjetey and further poses many contradictions to Parliament’s Standing Orders.
“I think it flies against everything about being present and voting under Article 104 (1). You must be in the chamber. Why is it that under Order 48 the bell is rung?
“If proceedings are going on and a Member of Parliament rises to raise an issue on quorum our standing Orders under Order 48 mandate the Speaker to then cause the bell to be rung for 10 minutes for everybody to come into the chamber. So honestly the Right Honourable Speaker’s decision I find it really absurd with all due respect,” he said on JoyNews’ PM Express Wednesday.
“I have enormous respect for the Right Honourable Speaker, he knows that but as for this matter on presence I am on all fours with Speaker Ala Adjetey who was the first to pronounce on this matter, he said that when you go to the male’s room and you go and sign and you don’t come into the chamber that signature will not be recognized, you’re absent, you didn’t come into the chamber,” he added.
The North Tongu MP stated that all the Speakers following Speaker Ala Adjetey have followed the same procedure in relation to Members of Parliament being present in the chamber before being registered as such, thus Speaker Bagbin departing from the norm is “really strange indeed.”
“Doesn’t sit well with me, it will require major amendments to our Standing Orders. Why do we still have Order 48? Why is it that bells must be rung?
“And you now have this absurd situation where a Member of Parliament is brought from hospital we’re told he’s in an ambulance, the Speaker told me when I got up to insist that the Honourable Kojo Kum’s name should be expunged from the list of those present, the Speaker said you know, I saw him in the ambulance and even that I heard the Majority Leader say that he wasn’t really in the ambulance he was in the clinic so you’re even having this contradiction.
“ And that is why we would have avoided all of these contradictions if we had stuck to the Peter Ala Adjetey doctrine, to the Bamford Addo doctrine, to the Doe Adjaho doctrine, to the Professor Ocquaye doctrine where you must be present and voting as Article 104 (1) insists,” he stated.