Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis Xavier-Sosu has reiterated his reason for saying Ghana’s Parliamentary democracy was under attack.
The issue of whether or not a deputy Speaker (by law an MP) when sitting as Speaker can form part of the quorum for the house has come up strongly after the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu counted himself as an MP when the Majority Group needed 138 MPs to raise a quorum for a crucial budget vote.
That vote took place on November 30, 2021, in a process boycotted by the Minority. After the vote, Sosu was one of a number of Minority MPs who used social media to voice their positions.
His tweet of November 30 read: “Upon assuming the Speaker position, the 1st Deputy Speaker, cannot be considered as a MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT PRESENT AND VOTING as contemplated by Article 104(1) and (2), and Order 109(3). Parliamentary Democracy under attack.”
The on December 1, 2021, the Minority returned to the Hose to move a motion for the reversal of the budget approval which motion was rejected by the First Deputy Speaker who justified why and how he could be counted to constitute the quorum stressing that he did not vote in the process.
Commenting on Joe Wise’ position via a social media post, Sosu wrote: “It is illogical, absurd and incongruous to suggest that a Speaker must be counted for purposes of DECISION QUORUM because he is an MP when Article 102 makes it clear that QUORUM excludes the PERSON PRESIDING. The combined effect of Articles 102 and 104 makes that clear.”
It is illogical, absurd and incongruous to suggest that a Speaker must be counted for purposes of DECISION QUORUM because he is an MP when Article 102 makes it clear that QUORUM excludes the PERSON PRESIDING. The combined effect of Articles 102 and 104 makes that clear.
— Francis-Xavier Sosu (@fx_sosu) December 1, 2021
What do the said articles say?
Both are articles as contained in the 1992 Constitution:
102. QUORUM IN PARLIAMENT
A quorum of Parliament, apart from the person presiding, shall be one-third of all the members of Parliament.
104. VOTING IN PARLIAMENT
1. Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, matters in Parliament shall be determined by the votes of the majority of members present and voting, with at least half of all the members of Parliament present.
2. The Speaker shall have neither an original nor casting vote.
3. Where the votes on any motion are equal it shall be taken to be lost.
4. Where Parliament is considering a bill to amend the Constitution, or where the voting is in relation to the election or removal of any person under this Constitution or under any other law, voting shall be in secret.
5. A member who is a party to or a partner in a firm which is a party to a contract with the Government shall declare his interest and shall not vote on any question relating to the contract.