The Majority Group in Parliament has accused the Minority of attempting to deliberately ambush Parliament and frustrate government business.
At a press conference in Accra last Wednesday, the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, said in as much as the Majority was ready to build consensus, it saw early signs of ambushing from the Minority.
“For our part, we are more than ready to pursue the part of consensus building and the Majority Leader has been consistent in this position. The President in his first address to the nation after he was declared the winner of the 2020 general election underscored the need for the new Parliament to work together and build consensus and Mr Speaker himself after assumption to office reiterated the same position.
“Much as we are ready to build consensus, we see signs of ambushing from the Minority. We see signs where the NDC minority is up to some game of frustrating government business and now the language from them is ‘you have everything to lose’, but that is not how a patriot must behave,” he stated.
Mr Afenyo-Markin said Parliament survived on consensus, and give-and-take but it shouldn’t be a situation where the house deliberately became obstructionist.
“Our colleagues have an obstructionist agenda and same must be condemned and they must change their posture,” he said.
Composition of appointment committee
Mr Afenyo-Markin also pointed out that the Majority had concerns with the composition of the Appointments Committee which consists of 13 members each from the Majority and Minority.
“It is known in our parliamentary jurisprudence that where the Speaker or his Deputies are required to chair a committee, their membership of that committee does not count. We have an appointment committee which the standing orders clearly refer to the First Deputy Speaker as chair and other 25 members.
“Our contention is clear that the Deputy Speaker is not a member of the committee, therefore, the 25 members should be constituted in accordance of the agreed ratio of 138;137 which will translate to 13;12 in favour of the Majority caucus.
“Our friends who were so strict in their understanding of the constitution and had forcefully promoted the need for us to pursue the secret ballots system as against subjecting same to whipping were now arguing on practice, conventions of the house,” he explained.
Mr Afenyo-Markin, who is the Member of Parliament for Effutu, also accused the Minority on interpreting the laws to suit their agenda.
“You don’t interpret things as and when it suits you. We have a matter in hand where a court order had been served on a clerk to Parliament, same has been communicated, and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) forming a human shield and making all manner of strenuous arguments saying that the person must take responsibility for his action and, therefore, he should sit in.
“We all laboured to drum home the need to respect court orders but as it suited them, they pretended that laws do not exist and matter in this country and that the judiciary do not matter in our body politics. Meanwhile, they were the first to sue John-Peter Amewu and first to procure an injunction.
“The candidate was sponsored by a political party and there in the name of his party. His party has leadership in Parliament so why will they say he should take personal responsibility. We are seeing a line where the NDC will want to conveniently interpret the rules of engagement,” he stated.
He also noted that while the Majority had no reason to doubt the declaration of the Speaker of being impartial, the conduct of the Minority was giving them a compelling impression that the Minority had a certain view that they would have their way and find ways of compromising the Speaker’s impartiality.
“Its early days yet and we know of Mr Speakers commitment to the whole world that he is going to be impartial and we have no reason to doubt his declaration yet.
“We are not saying Mr Speaker has compromised or is about to compromise his impartial principle but we are saying that the conduct of our colleagues is compelling enough and if we do not point out these things out now, it may affect the future conduct of business in the house,” he stated.
He said the Majority would continue to engage its colleagues and Mr Speaker as the head of the assembly on matters that they still believed he could have handled better.