According to him, Speaker Bagbin has turned the legislative house into a chief’s palace where he sees himself as a repository of all knowledge and whatever he says is final.
“I am sorry to say this, but when you want to turn the Chamber of Parliament into a palace, then you become a tyrant. He is becoming a tyrant,” Muntaka told JoyNews in an interview.
He explained that the speaker hates to be challenged on his decisions and it makes it difficult for legislators to voice out their views and concerns freely.
“You are not a chief, you are supposed to be a Speaker of Parliament and a Speaker listens to both sides patiently even where there is a disagreement and that is the essence of democracy to sometimes even agree to disagree but where you personalised it as if a disagreement is a disrespect to you, then I am sorry you are becoming a bad Speaker,” he added.
Muntaka clashed with the speaker on the day the latter decided to set up an Adhoc committee to probe allegations contained in a vote of censure motion filed by the minority NDC caucus of parliament, seeking the removal of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta from office.
He maintains that the speaker abused Parliament’s Standing Orders in setting up the committee that gave the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta a public hearing before a report was presented to the plenary for a debate and vote.
“That committee [Adhoc committee] was not necessary, our Standing Orders are very clear. Speaker has no discretion and authority to do any other thing contrary to what is stated in the Standing Orders and I continue to maintain that,” he emphasised.
Meanwhile, the minority lost the censure vote last week after their majority NPP counterparts who are equally seeking the removal of Ofori-Atta staged a walkout and deprived them of the requisite number to form a quorum.
The sponsors of the motion had accused Ken Ofori-Atta of conflict of interest, unconstitutional withdrawals from the Consolidated Fund, illegal payment of oil revenues into offshore accounts, deliberate and dishonest misreporting of economic data to Parliament, fiscal recklessness, alarming incompetence and gross mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy.
Aside from Muntaka, some other analysts have disagreed with Bagbin on the setting up of the 8-member committee to first look into the censure motion and give the Finance Minister a hearing.
Former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu recently wrote an epistle he titled; ‘Games in Parliament, in which he accused Bagbin of behaving like a dictator.
“Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin needs to be told to stop talking down on Ghanaians as though he is a village chief and we, his subjects.
“No humble, learned, erudite, and experienced person will ever seek to silence his critics in a constitutional democracy by telling them that: ‘In all humility, please note that there is deep thought in whatever I do. Don’t underrate my knowledge, skills, experience, and expertise in Parliamentary practice and procedure.’
“It is for the public or one’s professional peer group, to determine one’s level of knowledge, skills, experience, and expertise and not for one to subjectively assert them and trumpet his competencies to the world,” Amidu’s statement said in part.
It is yet to be seen how Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin will react to these criticisms and whether he would consider them going forward.