All eyes were on Parliament’s sitting today as many wanted to see what will happen when Speaker Alban Bagbin takes his seat as Speaker. It has been two weeks since the speaker left the country for medical checkup in Dubai and since then a lot has happened. First thing to happen was the rescission of the rejection of the 2022 budget and the subsequent approval after the Minority had failed to attend the sitting on that day.
Today, Thursday, December 16, 2021 Parliament started with special thanksgiving made by Alban Bagbin to God for his mercies on his life. The Speaker also thanked the leadership of the House for holding the fort for him while he was away. he also apologized to Ghanaians for the conduct of some of the aberrations that happened when he was away. The Speaker then raised a number of issues he wished to address.
The first issue regarded quorum for the basis of decision making. According to Bagbin there are several records to show that after a walk out by one side of Parliament, the quorum used in voting is the total number recorded as present and not the number of members remaining after the walk out. In this wise his ruling that rejected the budget was right because the quorum constituted those marked as present on that day and not those remaining after the Majority walked out.
He called the actions of November 30th when the budget was approved as unfortunate. It can be recalled that on that said sate, the First Deputy Speaker set aside the ruling of Alban Bagbin and went ahead to approve the budget. According to Bagbin had he been absent from the house temporarily (as in Parliament but not in the chamber) then the acting speaker could be counted as part of the quorum. However, this wasn’t the case as he, Bagbin was not in the country at all meaning the First Deputy Speaker was indeed speaker and as such couldn’t be part of the quorum.
“I cannot blame him for what happened. He might not be privy to this. What he did was like undermining the Speaker. He is Joe Wise and not Joe the Wise. The Vice President cannot overturn a decision made by the president at a cabinet meeting. Can he? Bagbin queried.
The Speaker then proposed a number of points for consideration by the house. The most important was a call on the Finance Minister to come back and present modifications and concessions in the amended budget so the house discusses.