You are here: HomeNews2022 02 24Article 1476980

General News of Thursday, 24 February 2022

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Supreme Court sets March 9 to rule on Deputy Speaker's right to vote in Parliament

The ruling will be delivered by a 7-member Supreme Court panel

First Deputy Speaker overturns Speaker Bagbin’s rulings

Suit filed against Joe Osei Owusu’s rulings

Seven-member Supreme Court panel to issue landmark ruling on March 9


The Supreme Court of Ghana has set March 9, 2022, to rule on whether a Deputy Speaker presiding on the business of parliament has the right to participate in a vote on a matter before the house.

The apex court of the land will also decide on whether a deputy speaker presiding over the business of the house can be counted for the purposes of determining a quorum in the house.

This comes after a private legal practitioner, Justice Abdulai, filed a suit calling on the Supreme Court to pronounce as unconstitutional, the decision by a Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu to count himself in quorum formation and decision making in the parliament of Ghana.

According to the plaintiff, Articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution in context does not permit the Deputy Speaker to count himself for the purpose of determining a quorum, as he holds neither an original or casting vote while presiding as a speaker.

The ruling by the Supreme Court which will be deemed as a landmark one will be given by Justice Jones Dotse who is presiding on the case with other justices; Nene Amegatcher, Prof. Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Clemence Honyenuga and Yoni Kulendi.

TWI NEWS

Background

The structure of Ghana’s 8th and current parliament has led to several instances of contention between the ruling majority and the opposition minority in the house.

Sharing equal number of 137 seats each with a single independent candidate aligning with the ruling New Patriotic Party side, the house has always been sharply divided in terms of making decisions.

On more than one occasion, the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu who is also the Member of Parliament for Bekwai has overturned rulings made by the elected Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin.

The first deputy speaker on November 30, 2021, presided over an NPP-sided house to overturn an earlier vote of the house rejecting government’s 2022 budget.

Joseph Osei Owusu while presiding over the house on the day, counted himself in a decision to overturn the rejection of the budget by an NDC-sided house after the NPP had staged a walkout from the chamber of parliament during a sitting presided by the main speaker.

Again, on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu in another ruling, dismissed a motion already admitted by Speaker Bagbin for a bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into Government’s COVID-19 Expenditure.

On the back of the Deputy speaker’s actions, opinions have been sharply divided on whether a deputy speaker who is usually a member of parliament, retains his voting rights while acting in the capacity of a speaker.