Regional News of Tuesday, 15 July 2014
The Majority in Parliament on Monday rejected a move by the Minority, urging a legislative inquiry into Ghana’s showing at the just-ended FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil.
By a vote of 96 to 78, the majority bunged a Private Member’s Motion that sought the creation of a Parliamentary Special Committee to investigate Ghana’s preparation and participation in the competition and issues arising from the country’s involvement in the event.
Amid dramatic scenes and the usual partisan banter, there was relief for the Majority side, when after a heated debate, the Speaker of Parliament Edward Doe Adjaho, called for a head count to enable the House to take a decision, after an inconclusive voice vote.
But before then, the Speaker registered his displeasure at an attempt by the Executive to stay the hand of the legislature in carrying out their constitutional mandate.
The Speaker was incensed that government issued a Constitutional Instrument (CI82) on Friday July 11, constituting a Commission of inquiry to look into the senior national football team, the Black Stars, participation in the soccer fiesta.
Mr Adjaho said, government by that action, had showed “bad faith” and that that move amounted to an attempt to interfere in the workings of Parliament which is prohibited by law.
He noted that Parliament was an independent entity that had the backing of the law to inquire into any national issue, adding that, the Legislature was the master of its own rules.
Mr Adjaho was displeased by the way government hurriedly issued and gazetted the CI82 over the weekend, when the Private Member’s motion should have been moved last Friday, but postponed for further consultation between both sides of the House.
The Minority Spokesperson on Youth, Sports and Culture, Isaac Kwame Asiamah last week filed a motion requesting the House to set up a bipartisan Parliamentary Committee to investigate events and activities before, during and after Ghana’s preparation and participation in Brazil 2014.
However, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Youth and Sports, Mr. Kobena Mensah Woyome, sought an amendment of the motion by requesting the Ministry of Youth and Sports to submit its report on the administrative inquiry into the Black Stars participation in the FIFA World Cup 2014 tournament in Brazil after completion of its work, for Parliament to set up an Ad Hoc Committee to look into the findings to make informed decisions.
The newly appointed Youth and Sports Minister, Mr Mahama Ayariga, who rose to support the proposed amendment by Mr Woyome, quoted Article (278) of the 1992 Constitution to prop his argument and insisted that, that intervention gave the President the right to set up a Committee of Enquiry, drawing the Speaker’s attention to (CI) 82, seeking the House to stay action on setting up a parallel investigative committee on the matter.
“To sustain the objection of the motion will be bad faith,” the Speaker stated.
“If the motion had been moved on Friday, would there have been a CI 82?
“This is a House of debate. Whether the House decides to set up a committee to look into the matter is for the House to decide.
“This is a matter that Ghanaians are interested in. If the House decides to go into it, let them go ahead and decide so. If they (Parliament) think they would not go into it, it is for the House to decide”
Referring to the CI82, the Speaker said he was shocked when a copy of the Constitutional Instrument was passed onto him by the Table Office before proceedings of the House on Monday.
“I was shocked because we all agreed last week that this motion should be taken today……..Honourable members, we should be careful about the governance of this country and whatever we do should capture the mood of the country”
“I thought that for once this House will speak with one voice on this matter”, the Speaker said.
He reminded Mr.Ayariga, who is the MP for Bawku Central that Parliament was a master of its own rules, advising the member to seek redress elsewhere.
Papa Owusu Ankomah, MP for Sekondi, told the House that he was pained by the move by the Executive’s introduction of the CI 82 to Parliament because it was a deliberate attempt to suppress the powers of the Legislature by stifling debate in the House.
He said that under no condition should an arm of government be subservient to another arm, insisting in very strong terms that Parliament should not entertain infringements on its powers.
The motion was subsequently rejected.