Alban Bagbin absent as Parliament votes on E-levy
The voting process degenerates into violent clashes
Bagbin rejects the accusation that he deliberately refused to preside
Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has revealed that he was asleep at the time that Members of Parliament engaged in a brawl on the floor of the house during a vote on the E-levy bill.
On December 20, 2021, MPs on both sides of the house ‘clashed’ around the sitting area of the presiding Speaker at the time – First Deputy Speaker – Joseph Osei Owusu.
The opposition National Democratic Congress MPs justified approaching the Speaker’s seat to resist a change of speakership to enable Osei Owusu to vote on the Bill. The NPP MPs on the other hand said they were protecting the Speaker from attack.
Bagbin, who presided over the house that day till he left late into the evening explained in an interview on Moomeen Tonight show on state-run GBC, that he left after a long day and after failing to get the Majority side to table the Bill for consideration.
“I left Parliament after and I sent my closing remarks for the day, that’s the session, through my usher to the First Deputy Speaker. So I have given notice I will not be around to read my closing remarks and I left to my house.
“Because I was so tired, later I put off my phone and fell in the bed and slept. It was after 12 pm (that) my wife woke me up to take my dinner and then after that I decided to go through social media and there I found out that the Honourable members I left in the house dishonoured themselves by exchanging blows,” he stated.
He chastised his First Deputy for announcing that he was going to vote adding that his address in the wake of the rescission of the rejected 2022 budget in early December 2021 had laid down a clear path on avoiding such confrontations.
“When I investigated further, I felt that this was very unnecessary and to be frank with you, my First Deputy Speaker was wrong in even announcing that he was going to vote and nobody could stop him from doing that.
“That is why when he (Osei Owusu) bent down for the Second Deputy to take over, the minority members rushed to prevent that from happening, that is what led to the fisticuffs. It means that we have not moved away from this unbridled partisanship in the national interest.
“I have given a ruling on how deputy speakers should preside over a house… that guidance I gave to the house and the country… if they had listened and appreciated it, that wouldn’t have happened,” he stressed.