No Standing Order prohibits Speaker from asking questions - Bagbin to Majority Leader
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban S.K. Bagbin has said there was no Standing Order in Parliament that prohibits him, as Speaker from asking questions on the floor of the House.
In any case, he says he is not the first Speaker to ask individuals who appear before the House questions.
He insisted that his predecessors also asked questions in a bid to seek clarity when issues were not too clear. when certain persons appeared before the House,
Mr Bagbin was responding to the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, who sought to find out why the Speaker was putting so many questions to the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, when appeared before the House on Monday afternoon.
The Education Minister was in Parliament on Monday, December 4, 2023, to answer questions on the reporting date for first year senior high school students in Ghana.
The Speaker and some Parliamentarians had last week urged the Education Ministry to allow the first year students to report in January 2024 instead of the originally planned December 4, 2023 date. Following that, the Speaker directed that the Minister appears before the House to answer questions.
The Minister who was answering the questions on the purchase of mathematical sets for final year students in junior high school was interrupted by Mr Bagbin as to whether the items were procured and supplied as expected.
The follow up questions from the Speaker after the Minister answered the first question obviously compelled the Majority Leader to find out from the Speaker his intentions for the numerous questions.
When Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu asked Mr Bagbin why he was asking those questions, the Speaker responded by asking the Majority Leader, which Standing Order of the house prohibited him from asking questions.
"Can you draw my attention to any Standing Order that says the Speaker cannot ask questions?" Mr Bagbin asked the Majority Leader, explaining that where the law is against the speaker participating in debates or discussions, the law states it.
"Where the law doesn't say so, it means it is not prohibited, you can do it," Mr Bagbin told the Majority Leader, adding, "I am not the first Speaker to ask questions."
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also asked the Speaker to point him to any law that gives him power to ask questions.
"Mr Speaker, I thought you were going to also show me where the Speaker can ask questions," he stated.