‘I’m Astonished About How Much Public Energy Has Been Wasted On This!’ – Prez Akufo-Addo Shocked

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed utter shock at the various interpretations and controversies arising as a result of the Supreme Court ruling regarding the right of the Deputy Speakers of Parliament to vote during parliamentary proceedings.

The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, gave a verdict on the dispute about whether or not the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, when sitting in for the Speaker, can also exercise his right to vote as a Member of Parliament.

This contentious matter before the House resulted in the members on both sides trading blows when the Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, acting as Speaker, in November last year decided to hand over to the Second Deputy Speaker in order to join a quorum and cast his vote on the 2022 budget by the Akufo-Addo government.

Court Ruling

A seven member panel of the Supreme Court, adjudicating the case, by a unanimous decision settled this dispute ruling that a “Deputy Speaker is entitled to be counted as a member of Parliament for quorum” and can as well “vote and take part in the decision of parliament”.

The action by Mr Osei-Owusu, in counting himself as an MP, enabled the Majority in Parliament to form the right quorum under Article 104(1) to pass the budget.

By this ruling, the Supreme Court has affirmed and legitimized the approval of the 2022 Budget passed in the absence of the NDC Minority Caucus on November 30, 2021.

President Akufo-Addo Speaks Up

The President, in an interview on Citi TV, opened up on his position on the Supreme Court ruling following attempts by some members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to shoot it down.

Former President John Mahama, in a post shared across his official social media handles and cited by Graphic Online, described the ruling as “shocking but not surprising”, adding the Apex Court has set “a dangerous precedent of judicial interference in Parliamentary procedure for the future”.

Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George passing a comment on it also said in a tweet; “The sham called Justice delivery in our Republic. Despicable!”

But to President Akufo-Addo, the Supreme Court ruling is as clear as crystal.

He strongly held that the Deputy Speakers are not the Speaker of Parliament, so they can exercise their parliamentary voting right as Members of Parliament.

Simplifying the issue to the general public, the President said; ”Our Speaker is expressly not a member of the Assembly, that’s why he doesn’t have the right to vote. In fact, he is really not even to participate in the deliberations of the House. He is the referee making sure that the debate is conducted properly and the rules of procedure or the orders of the House are complied with. That’s his role.”

He continued; ”That is not the case with the Deputy of Speaker and that matter is transparent on the face of our constitution. Indeed, even the Presiding members of our district Assemblies, they have the right to vote. Look at the district Assembly law because they are members of the Assembly and once you are a member of the Assembly, you are representing certain constituencies.”

His Excellency Nana Addo emphasized that ”if you are denied the right to vote, [it will mean] it is tantamount to denying the right of the people you represent to have a say in the decision of the Assembly. That will not be right. So, I couldn’t understand all this furore and controversy artificially generated”.

”We are being told that the decision of the court amounts to judicial interference in the work of Parliament. I’m not quite sure that the people who are saying have actually taken the time to read the constitution of our country. It says so in black and white. 

”The legislative power of Parliament [that is vested] that is of the State which is vested in Parliament is subject to the provisions of the constitution. All organs of the Ghanaian State including me as the Head of Executive, we are all subject to the teachings of the constitution. There is nobody in the Ghanaian State that is above the fundamental law of the land”, he added.

The President asserted that any defiance to the court ruling will ”lead to the very matter that we have striven so long to avoid; the concentration [of power] of unregulated power in our State. We don’t want that. We’ve had that experience before and we brought about this constitution in order not to allow that to reoccur”.

”…I’m astonished about how much public energy has been wasted, I say so with the greatest of respect, been wasted in an area on an issue where there is so much clarity and I’m happy that the court…the Supreme Court, when it is declaring the meaning of the constitution and it does so unanimously. That is the most emphatic way in which the court can pronounce!”, he expressed his shock.


Source: Ameyaw Adu Gyamfi/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana