Why is the Speaker of Parliament not entitled to military protection when some ministers are? – Bagbin
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, last Friday said he still does not understand the decision by the government to withdraw the military protection to his office, as the “third highest person” in Ghana.
He said due to the baffling development, he had been compelled to manage things on “my own”.
He recalled that the same treatment was meted out to him when he was the Second Deputy Speaker.
“I now have been elected as Speaker, which is a higher position, and the same President says I am not entitled to military attaché but the others are entitled,” he said.
‘I’m very, very secure’
Interacting with members of the Parliamentary Press Corps in Parliament last Friday (October 28, 2022), Mr Bagbin said “If you go to his Excellency’s office, you may count getting to about 200 military and the Vice President definitely has access to some.
“I, following, I am not entitled but the Chief Justice who is after me has four military, ministers have their own and each Supreme Court judge has two military and as for the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, that is a battalion.
“My friend, the Minister of National Security is entitled to military and my brothers in Interior and Defence ministries both have and the Attorney-General and the Minister of Justice has his own. The same with the Minister of Finance but the Speaker is not entitled and this is Ghana’s unique democracy,” he said, adding that
“But do not worry as I am very, very secure.”
The Speaker expressed the concern when a member of the press corps asked him how he felt with the decision by the government to pull out the military attaché to his office.
In January 2022, the Chief of Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces withdrew the military personnel attached to the Office of the Speaker of Parliament, effective January 14.
In a statement issued on January 11, 2022, the Major General, N. P. Andoh, said the four officers were attached to the office “without proper procedure.”
Parliament a soft spot
On the question of security within Parliament, Mr Bagbin said Parliament House was a soft spot and one of the hotspots for terrorist attacks since it was one of the places that people congregated.
“At any one time, you have large people there and so if any terrorist wants to attack, it can do it,” he said.
The situation, he said, had been made worse by the fact that the legislature was still a tenant in the State House edifice, which was under the control of the President.
“Throughout all the Parliaments, we have been trying to get our own possession of the premises of the House so that we can develop, protect it and enhance the facilitation of our work but we have not succeeded in doing that.
Parliament is naked
The Speaker also expressed worry over the poor fence wall around the premises of Parliament, a situation which he said allowed people to jump across easily into the premises.
“We are told one staff was stabbed behind Job 600 when the police pursued the person he jumped across the wall to escape,” he said.
To address such development, Mr Bagbin said Parliament had been writing consistently to various Presidents “give us that right of ownership.”
“Parliament is an arm of government and it is not for any individual; now they have the Jubilee House and are secured there; the Judiciary have their premises secured and Parliament is left naked and you expect us to expect this?” he asked.
Law on campaign financing
On the perception that Parliament was one of the most corrupt institutions, Mr Bagbin said in Ghana the corruption index was often considered a perception but
“I think in Ghana the perception is very near the reality.”
He said in a bid to fight systemic corruption, he was doing everything to change the system in a such as that “it will be a disincentive to be corrupt.”
“By next year, I am going to work together with civil society on how we will legislate to facilitate and regulate the process of campaign financing and of funding of campaigns by individual candidates whether as assembly members, MPs, independent or presidential candidates,” he said.