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Politics of Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Source: rainbownradioonline.com

Allow MPs to elect Speaker of Parliament - Ablakwa

Member of Parliament for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa Member of Parliament for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

The Member of Parliament for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has underscored the need for the ballot to elect a Speaker in the 8th Parliament is done in secrecy.

The legislator who would be returning to the House after winning the parliamentary election noted that the standing orders must be respected.

He said MP MPs must be allowed to vote freely and according to their conscience.

He admonished his other colleagues to begin a vigorous campaign to have the ballot done in secrecy.

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Article 104 (4) of the 1992 Constitution and Standing Order 9 (1) demands that the election of Speaker shall be done by secret ballot. It is absolutely imperative that this constitutional requirement is strictly complied with to enable MPs of the 8th Parliament vote freely and according to their conscience. We must all begin a spirited campaign to insist that the secret ballot rule is religiously adhered to.

As we approach midnight of January 6, 2021; I am reminded of Karl Marx’s famous edict: “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

Quite fascinating to observe that the only time since the inception of the Fourth Republic that two persons were nominated for the position of Right Honourable Speaker by both the NDC and the NPP concurrently was in 2005 when John Dramani Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo were members of the august House.

15 years down the lane, these two who were later to both ascend the presidency are most likely to lead their respective sides to repeat the historic development of January 7, 2005, albeit this time from outside the chamber and with more competitive numbers.

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It is also intriguing to note that the two NDC MPs who proposed and seconded respectively the nomination of NPP stalwart, Rt. Hon. Peter Ala Adjetey – that is Mr. A.S.K. Bagbin and Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho are themselves today in the reckoning to be nominated when history is repeated in a few days.

It may be recalled that the composition of the then 230-seat Fourth Parliament was: NPP – 128, NDC – 94, PNC – 4, CPP – 3 and One Independent Member.

The official results for the election of Speaker as declared by the Clerk to Parliament, Mr. K.E.K. Tachie at 11:30am on 7th January, 2005 was: Mr. Ebenezer Sakyi Hughes 134 while Mr. Peter Ala Adjetey secured 96 votes.

Do note that in the ensuing contest for Second Deputy Speaker – no need to remind readers that the NPP had decided to punish the NDC ironically because the NDC had backed a former NPP National Chairman Peter Ala Adjetey for Speaker. So NPP’s Alhaji Malik Al-Hassan Yakubu obtained 135 votes (a vote more than Speaker Sakyi Hughes) and NDC’s Mr. Ken Dzirasah garnered 94 votes (two votes shy of what Peter Ala Adjetey received). This observation is worth highlighting to drive home the point that MPs are not always robots neither are they perpetually enslaved to the whim and caprice of their political parties as many analysts have portrayed.

Article 104 (4) of the 1992 Constitution and Standing Order 9 (1) demands that the election of Speaker shall be done by secret ballot. It is absolutely imperative that this constitutional requirement is strictly complied with to enable MPs of the 8th Parliament vote freely and according to their conscience. We must all begin a spirited campaign to insist that the secret ballot rule is religiously adhered to.

MPs-elect in good standing must start sending a clear message to those plotting to violate Article 104 (4) and Order 9 (1) by seeking to inspect ballots of MPs in their respective caucuses ostensibly on behalf of party officianados as has happened in recent times, that their manoeuvres will be fiercely resisted. It is my hope that the current Clerk to Parliament, Mr. Cyril Nsiah, a man I have enormous respect for, would ensure that the sanctity of Ghana’s Constitution and Parliament’s Standing Orders are resolutely preserved.

While we remain steadfast to protect the NDC’s majority in Parliament which is the true will of the sovereign people of Ghana and without prejudice to further legitimate action on the discredited EC’s multiple presidential declarations, I can only wish all aspiring candidates for Speaker on both sides of the aisle the very best of luck.

Special greetings of the season.

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