'Machoism, illegalities' by Speaker will not be tolerated - Majority

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman

Parliament on Friday evening concluded the debate on the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

It followed an appeal by the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, to the Majority and Minority caucus to approve the Budget.

Prior to the start of proceedings on Friday, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, suspended the sitting for more than an hour.

This was because Members of the Majority side were not in the Chamber for the conclusion of the debate.

The Majority side said they needed a 30-minute caucus meeting before coming into the Chamber.

After the Minority and Majority leaders took their turns to conclude their debate, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta also had an opportunity to make an appeal to the House on the Budget.

Drama

After that address, drama unfolded in the Chamber.

Graphic Online's Parliamentary correspondent, Nana Konadu Agyeman reports that Majority members walked out of the Chamber following a failed attempt to have the Speaker direct the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, out of the Public gallery.

Mr Nketia, who is a member of the Parliamentary Service Board, was the Public gallery to witness the voting process ahead of the approval of the 2022 Budget.

The agitation by the Majority members was from the fact that the Speaker had earlier directed the Marshals of Parliament to drive out ministers of state who were in the House and were not Parliamentarians.

In the view of the Speaker, the ministers were not required to take part of vote by division and therefore needed to leave the Chamber.

The Speaker's order came after the Minority Chief Whip, Mr Mohammed-Muntaka Mubarak, had prayed the Speaker to order out ministers of state prior to the vote by division.

All the agitation followed a request by the Minister of Finance to the Speaker to allow him meet both leadership of the House prior to a question being put for the approval of the Budget Statement.

While the Majority agreed to the Minister of Finance's request, the Minority kicked against it vehemently.

The Speaker therefore told the House he would put the question for the House to vote on whether the minister should meet the leadership of the House or not.

Speaker suspends House for 5 minutes

The Speaker then went ahead and suspended sitting for five minutes.

The Majority Leader after they walked out in a press interaction expressed their grievances against the Speaker's directive.

The Majority Leader said henceforth the "machoism and illegalities" displayed by the Speaker will not be tolerated.

more to follow...